Calgary Needs A #10: Public Beach At Glenmore Reservoir

Calgary Needs A Public Beach


Where in Calgary can I celebrate a dead iPhone with a relaxing sigh staring at a seemingly endless stretch of sand and water?

In Vancouver last month, it was Kits Beach on a warm, but overcast day. The beach volleyball courts were full but the beach was empty it was easy to find a spot to stretch out a blanket and then stretch out myself. My iPhone was dead. Finally. Relaxation.

Afternoon at Kits beach

Afternoon at Kits beach

Afternoon at Kits beach

Then I thought about where in Calgary could I find this peace? A place for kids to explore and dig and splash that was also beautiful and relaxing for me. I came up with nothing.

There are no public beaches in Calgary.

Okay, there is one, Sikome Lake, but on a beautiful 25 degree September Sunday afternoon, it was closed. Drained for the season. I had to ask a favor of a friend to get in behind the chain linked fence of Lake Chaparral to experience my kids digging in the sand while I nosed through a book and just relaxed.

Charlie at Lake Chaparral

Calgary has many large open fields, and a few outdoor public pools (those were drained on Labour Day too). There is lots of grass. If I wanted to stretch out and soak up the sun I could do that at Confederation Park, Prince’s Island, Fort Calgary, or dozens of other wide open prairie-like places. But I want water.

Look on a map and you’ll see Sandy Beach as a place to relax on the banks of the Elbow River. Note: it is neither sandy, nor is there a beach. It’s just another overly pebbled place along the sides of our rivers. It’s the kind of waterside park dog owners might get excited about, but not the kind I need.

Calgary needs a beach. A big stretch of sand that is just there for kids to dig, for people to relax, for sun to be worshipped on the days its not snwoing. We need this beach on the eastern edge of the Glenmore Reservoir.

Okay, that poses a few problems. The Glenmore is where we get our drinking water, and nobody is allowed in the water. Non-motorized boats, are allowed on it, but people aren’t allowed in it. Even stand-up paddle boarders have been banned from skimming along the water.

You can kayak, fish, sail, row, and take an old timey paddle boat on the Glenmore, but you can’t swim in it. Is this necessary? Is the water treatment not able to get out anything that might get in the water if we let people play along one bank?

The lack of beaching places in Calgary has been my rant of the summer, I know. I’ve banged the issue many times from different angles, but I really think it is something the city is desperately needing. A 90 minute drive to Sylvan Lake or Gull Lake or Glennifer Lake shouldn’t be required to cool off with a splash, build a sandy dragon, and read a book while the kids play.

The other option would be to open up the lake communities to everyone in the city. Charge admission like a rec center? Or perhaps the city could dig up the big vacant school sites across the city and give everyone a lake. I mean, if they’re not going to build a school, build a lake! I wonder how the residents of Scenic Acres would feel about that.

Where would you put a public beach in Calgary? We need one.




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