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Visiting's Calgary's Glenmore Reservoir: Home to Canada's Largest Sailing School in Landlocked Alberta

Updated on April 24, 2019
Provincial flag of Alberta
Provincial flag of Alberta | Source
Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary
Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary | Source
Calgary Downtown seen from Glenmore Reservoir
Calgary Downtown seen from Glenmore Reservoir | Source

Sailing and pure air close to the Rockies: within the City limits of dynamic Calgary

Situated on the Elbow River, and within the City limits of Calgary, Alberta, is the Glenmore Reservoir, dating from 1932. Its surface extends over 3.84 square kilometres. Its maximum length is 4.1 kilometres, and its maximum width is 0.9 kilometres.

The name 'Glenmore' was given by an early European resident, Sam Livingston (1831-1897) to the area, now occupied by the Reservoir thus named (1).

The proximity of Calgary's Downtown area is clear from some of the photos I have supplied; a photo, above, shows the Downtown Calgary skyline, including the famous Calgary Tower, viewed from Glenmore.

In turn, a photo, below, taken from Calgary Tower, shows Glenmore Reservoir, with foothills of the Rockies beyond.

Not only is the Glenmore Reservoir the source of much of South Calgary's water supply, it is also a much sought after recreational resource. While neighbouring North and South Glenmore Parks are popular for walks among Calgary's citizens — indeed, paths around the Reservoir are open year road—, it is as the focus of sailing activities that Glenmore Reservoir comes into its own.

Despite the fact that Alberta is one of Canada's landlocked Provinces, here at Calgary's Glenmore Reservoir is the home of Canada's largest sailing school. As per the City of Calgary's own publicity, the Glenmore Sailing School has a fleet of more than 100 boats, dinghies, etc. for hire, as per availability and sailing experience; these include boats of various sizes: known as Optimists, Lasers, and a 22 foot sloop-rigged Catalina day cruiser named the "Jane Mary" (2).

In the summer months a replica paddle steamer sails on the Resevoir (see photo below).

The Reservoir also hosts Calgary Rowing Club and Calgary Canoe Club. It is open for the various activities of fishing, sailing, rowing and canoeing from May 1 until October 31.

Calgary's real estate market is sometimes the subject of possibly misplaced criticism (Canadians at a distance from this Albertan city are sometimes prone to offer bureaucratic, punitive "solutions" to the laws of supply and demand). Yet at places such as Glenmore Reservoir and its adjacent Parks there is such a sense of healthy, wide open spaces in this irrepressibly dynamic, Western City. One can scarcely understand the mindset of those in distant parts of urban Canada who somehow imagine that citizens of Calgary, with such healthy and rich open air recreational resources, do not — or even should not — want to live here. (Perhaps those with lingering prejudices against Calgary should come to Glenmore and have any doubts or prejudices literally blown away!)

Here, then, at Glenmore is wholesome evidence of Calgary, a place for healthy families and irrepressibly energetic people who love sailing opportunities, exercise and pure air close to the Rockies: all within the boundaries of this roaring, dynamic Albertan City.

April 25, 2019


(1) The Gaelic from which 'Glenmore' means 'big valley'; clearly intended as a tribute to the Irish background of Sam Livingston, born in County Wicklow / Contae Chill Mhantáin.

(2) See also:

Users of the Reservoir are encouraged to be familiar with Calgary's bylaws which govern its use:

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Glenmore Reservoir from the Tower
Glenmore Reservoir from the Tower | Source
Replica steam ship that goes around the Glenmore Resevoir at Heritage Park
Replica steam ship that goes around the Glenmore Resevoir at Heritage Park | Source
Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary, Alberta, Canada | Source

Also worth seeing

Also at Glenmore, thus named by Sam Livingston (see also, above) is Heritage Park, where part of the early resident's house is preserved, as are various other notable structures, including a Fur Trading Fort and First Nations Encampment, plus railroad and streetcar exhibits; access to Heritage Park is via 1900 Heritage Dr SW. (See also: )

The many visitor attractions in Calgary include: the Calgary Tower, Lougheed House National Historic Site and Museum, the annual Stampede, the Glenbow Museum, sporting events at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and Prince's Island Park in the Bow River are just a few of the many visitor attractions in this fast-growing city.

From Calgary, day trips to favourite Rockies destinations such as Banff (distance: 128.7 kilometres), Lake Louise (distance: 183.6 kilometres) Waterton Lake (distance: 262 kilometres; see also, Link, below;) and — just possibly — St. Mary, Montana (distance: 289 kilometers / 179.6 miles; see also, Link, below) with its Visitor Center to Glacier National Park, are feasible.


How to get there: Air Canada and WestJet fly to Calgary International Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Airline information at Calgary International Airport may be accessed at: . See also: . Both Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta have booths at the Airport. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Calgary, Alberta
Map location of Calgary, Alberta | Source

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