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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » South Saskatchewan Region » Bow River Basin » Glenmore Reservoir

Glenmore Reservoir

    1.Introduction
    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Reservoir Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics
    6.References
    7.Appendix

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:82J/16, 82O/1
Location:Tp23 R1, 2 W5
Lat/Long:50°59'N 114°08'W

Calgary is very fortunate to have within its city limits such a sparkling blue gem as Glenmore Reservoir (Fig. 1). This impoundment of the Elbow River not only provides more than half of the city water supply, but it also provides delightful relief from the urban landscape. Surrounded by parks and golf courses, it is a focus for recreation for many of the over half-million residents of this city. The reservoir is in the southwest portion of the city and is reached via 37 Street SW and 24 Street NW on the north side, via 14 Street SW and Heritage Drive on the east side and by 90 Avenue SW and 24 Street SW on the south side (inset, Fig. 1).

The Glenmore area was named by Sam Livingston, one of the first settlers in the area. He built his home in the Elbow Valley in the 1860s and named the valley Glenmore, which is Gaelic for "big valley" and was the name of his home in Ireland (Calg. Field Nat. Soc. 1975). In 1932, the city of Calgary purchased the land for the reservoir and the Sarcee Indians transferred part of their reserve to the city, including the area of floodplain bounded by the last major meander of the Elbow River upstream of the reservoir. This area is named Weaselhead after the Sarcee Chief who lived there for about 50 years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Calg. Field Nat. Soc. 1975). On 31 January 1933, the Glenmore Dam across the Elbow River was completed, and by that summer, Glenmore Reservoir had been created to provide a stable water supply for Calgary.

All but the northeast bay of Glenmore Reservoir is surrounded by city parks (Fig. 2). North and South Glenmore and Heritage parks provide picnic tables, shelters and washroom facilities; Weaselhead Park is less developed but it is criss-crossed by a network of hiking and bicycle trails. Heritage Park is a replica of an early twentieth century community, with a fur-trade post, a bustling town, a farming community and a sternwheeler that churns through the water of Glenmore Reservoir. South Glenmore Park includes facilities for equestrian events which take place almost every week in summer. Two golf courses, one private and one public, border the northeast bay. Overnight accommodation is not available in the immediate vicinity of the reservoir, but all amenities, including campgrounds, are available within the surrounding city.

Boat access to the reservoir is available at public boat docks on the shore just south of Heritage Park, at the Calgary Sailing School on the south shore and at the Calgary Canoe and Rowing Club on the north shore. As the major use of the reservoir is to supply drinking water for Calgary, maintaining clean water in the reservoir is the top priority. Swimming and wading are prohibited and no pets are allowed in the water. No boating was permitted until 1963; now, some boating is permitted but by-laws are in place to ensure that the water is not contaminated (City Calg. 1989). Restrictions include:

  • the prohibition of any motorized boats, inflatable boats or rafts, sailboards, sailboats longer than 8 m and sailboats equipped to pump out wastes;
  • no boating is permitted between the Glenmore Trail Causeway and Glenmore Dam;
  • boating is allowed only during daylight hours;
  • no polluting or littering from boats or docks is allowed;
  • no pets are allowed in boats.

Sport fishing for trout, pike and perch is moderately popular in Glenmore Reservoir and provincial sport fishing regulations apply.

Fishing is prohibited in the Elbow River upstream of the reservoir and in all tributaries to the Elbow River from 1 November through 15 June (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989).

Glenmore is a clear, cold reservoir with low algal concentrations. Aquatic plants grow in the marshy areas at the west end of the reservoir and in a few sheltered areas around the shore.

Physical Information
Area (km2)3.84
Max. Depth (m)21.1
Mean Depth (m)6.1
Dr. Basin Area (km2)1210
Dam, WeirDam
Drainage BasinBow River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundNone
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishNorthern Pike, Mountain Whitefish, Brown Trout, Yellow Perch

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusOligotrophic-Mesotrophic
TP x (µg/L)8
CHLORO x (µg/L)2
TDS x (mg/L)228

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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