Sylvan Lake, Alberta Canada

Discover Sylvan Lake, Alberta: A Blend of History and Tourism

Sylvan Lake, a town in central Alberta, Canada, is a popular tourist destination. Located approximately 25 kilometers west of the City of Red Deer along Highway 11 or Highway 11A, it sits on the southeast edge of a 15-kilometer-long freshwater lake. This lake, also named Sylvan Lake, straddles the boundary between Red Deer County and Lacombe County.

Tourism in Sylvan Lake, Alberta

Sylvan Lake attracts around 1 million visitors each year from all over Alberta. Tourists enjoy sunbathing, swimming, water-skiing, and visiting Camp Woods. In July 2013, Camp Woods hosted the 12th Canadian Scout Jamboree, further cementing Sylvan Lake's reputation as a hub for outdoor activities.

The History of Sylvan Lake, Alberta

The land that would later become Sylvan Lake was ceded to the Crown by the First Nations with Treaty 6 in 1877. The town was originally settled by French-speaking immigrants from Quebec and the United States. The first settlers arrived in 1899, and the lake was initially named Snake Lake due to the numerous garter snakes in the area. The name was officially changed to Sylvan Lake in 1903. "Sylvan" is derived from the Latin sylvanus, meaning "of a forest".

In the early twentieth century, groups of Estonian and Finnish settlers moved to homesteads to the south and west of Sylvan Lake. The completion of the Canadian Northern line to Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg in 1912 and the parallel Canadian Pacific in 1914 opened the west country to settlement and resulted in the incorporation of Sylvan Lake in 1913 under Mayor E. S. Grimson. The town celebrates its founding every year with "1913 Days".

Geography of Sylvan Lake, Alberta

The Town of Sylvan Lake is located on the southeast shore of Sylvan Lake. The summer villages of Norglenwold and Jarvis Bay border the town to the northwest and northeast respectively.

Climate of Sylvan Lake, Alberta

Sylvan Lake has a subarctic climate with long, cold winters and short, mild summers. The seasonal mean temperatures are as follows:

  • Winter: −14.6 °C (5.72 °F)
  • Spring: 3.1 °C (37.58 °F)
  • Summer: 15.7 °C (60.26 °F)
  • Fall: 3.9 °C (39.02 °F)

The annual precipitation includes 398.3 millimeters of rain and 158.2 centimeters of snow, totaling 556.4 millimeters. The town enjoys an average of 2,125 hours of sunshine.

Demographics of Sylvan Lake, Alberta

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Sylvan Lake had a population of 15,995 living in 6,396 of its 7,141 total private dwellings. This was an 8% increase from its 2016 population of 14,816. With a land area of 23.09 km2, it had a population density of 692.7/km2 in 2021.

In the 2016 Census of Population, the Town of Sylvan Lake recorded a population of 14,816 living in 5,616 of its 6,567 total private dwellings. This was a 19.9% increase from its 2011 population of 12,362. With a land area of 23.36 km2, it had a population density of 634.2/km2 in 2016.

According to the town's 2015 municipal census, the population of Sylvan Lake was 14,310, a 10% increase from its 2013 municipal census population of 13,015. At its current population, Sylvan Lake is one of the largest towns in the province and is eligible for city status. According to Alberta's Municipal Government Act, a town is eligible for city status when it reaches 10,000 residents.