Chestermere, Alberta Canada

The History and Tourism of Chestermere, Alberta

Chestermere, originally known as Chestermere Lake, is a city located in the Canadian province of Alberta, within Rocky View County. It is primarily a commuter town of Calgary and is a member municipality of the Calgary Region. The city, which surrounds Chestermere Lake, was known as Chestermere Lake from 1977 to 1993.

The Early Settlement of Chestermere, Alberta

Before the 20th century, the area around what is now Chestermere Lake was settled by only a few farmers. With the establishment of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s, more people began to settle in the west. To make farming more productive, settlers started to find ways to irrigate their land. Chestermere Lake, a natural wetland, was deemed perfect for use as a balancing pool for the Western Irrigation Block. By 1907, a dam and canal system had been built, the wetland developed into a lake, and farmers began using the water for irrigation.

Chestermere, Alberta: From Summer Village to Town

Following the irrigation development, the lake began to be used for recreation. People would lease land from the Western Irrigation District (WID), build cabins, and stay on the lake during the summer months. In 1959, the Chestermere Cabin Owners Association (CCOA) was incorporated with approximately 50 members. The CCOA held events, bought a fire truck for the community, worked to reduce pollution in the lake, planted trees, and arranged for electricity and natural gas for the cabins.

As more people began to live around Chestermere Lake, residents wanted to secure long-term leases. In 1975, the CCOA bought the land from the WID and then transferred it to the residents. By 1977, the lake boasted 120 permanent homes and gained official status as the Summer Village of Chestermere Lake on April 1, 1977. As a summer village, the residents of Chestermere gained more political influence and were able to begin adding services and amenities or encouraging infrastructure and developments such as fire and protection services, improved roads, a community hall, street lights, a recreation centre, local businesses, and a golf course.

By 1992, Chestermere's population had increased to 1,043 permanent residents. On March 1, 1993, the Summer Village of Chestermere Lake officially changed its status and name to the Town of Chestermere. Becoming a town gave the residents more local and political authority. The town continued developing amenities and services for residents and its population has grown to 17,203 residents as recorded by its 2014 municipal census. In late 2014, town council voted in favour of pursuing city status, which became effective January 1, 2015.

The Geography and Neighbourhoods of Chestermere, Alberta

The city is organized into several neighbourhoods.

Demographics of Chestermere, Alberta

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Chestermere had a population of 22,163 living in 6,733 of its 6,925 total private dwellings, a change of 11.4% from its 2016 population of 19,887. With a land area of 32.83 km2 (12.68 sq mi), it had a population density of 675.1/km2 (1,748.5/sq mi) in 2021. The population of the City of Chestermere according to its 2017 municipal census is 20,331, a change of 3.1% from its 2016 municipal census population of 19,715. In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Chestermere had a population of 19,887 living in 6,112 of its 6,250 total private dwellings, a change of 34.2% from its 2011 population of 14,824. With a land area of 32.94 km2 (12.72 sq mi), it had a population density of 603.7/km2 (1,563.7/sq mi) in 2016.

Transportation in Chestermere, Alberta

Chestermere is accessible on land through Trans-Canada Highway (Alberta Highway 1) and Chestermere Boulevard / 17 Avenue SE (formerly signed as Alberta Highway 1A). By air, the city is accessible through Chestermere (Kirkby Field) Airport. Calgary Transit provides bus service into Chestermere during the morning and evening rush hours.

Attractions in Chestermere, Alberta

Chestermere is well known for its lake. In the summer, it is used for waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, and a variety of other water sports. It also provides day use parks for launching boats and family areas for the enjoyment of the outdoors. Chestermere Lake is also home to the Calgary Yacht Club. Chestermere Water Festival is an annual celebration of summer at the lake. Chestermere is connected to the Calgary bicycle pathway system at the south end of West Chestermere. Winter Festival is an annual celebration of winter in a small city. Chestermere Drive (by the canal) has bike trails surrounding the lake, a BMX park, and a skate park. Lakeside Greens Golf Course in Chestermere is a semi-private 18 hole golf course. Camp Chestermere is a Christian camp located on the southeast end of Chestermere Lake.

Contemporary Issues in Chestermere, Alberta

On August 1, 2007, the City of Calgary annexed an extensive tract of land from Rocky View County, which placed Calgary's eastern city limits one section (1.6 km or 1 mi) from the Chestermere's western city limits. Meanwhile, Chestermere's March 2007 Growth Study proposed annexation of, among other areas, the intervening land between Chestermere and the newly expanded Calgary boundaries. On March 13, 2009, Chestermere's annexation was approved resulting in a shared municipal boundary with Calgary.