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Boat tour highlights history of Chestermere Lake

Upcoming boat tours on Chestermere Lake will provide a glimpse into the history of both the lake and the community. Jen Peddlesden, president of the Chestermere Historical Foundation, said the Aug.
Historic Boat Tour
Ed Lowney Sr. and a group of friends tour Chestermer Lake, circa 1913. More than a century later, the Chestermere Historical Foundation will lead historic boat tours of Chestermere Lake Aug. 2 as part of Historic Calgary Week.

Upcoming boat tours on Chestermere Lake will provide a glimpse into the history of both the lake and the community. Jen Peddlesden, president of the Chestermere Historical Foundation, said the Aug. 2 event is presented for the first time as part of Historic Calgary Week, hosted by the Chinook Country Historical Society. “Historic Calgary week includes many sessions given by volunteers on the history of Chinook Country, which includes Calgary and some of the surrounding smaller communities,” she said. The Chestermere Historical Foundation was encouraged to participate in Historic Calgary Week by running a historic boat tour of the lake – similar to tours done for Seniors Week – after hosting a smaller event last year. “We will be heading out down the lake and talking about what happened at various locations around the lake, relating to the early history and even up to some more modern events that have happened in Chestermere,” Peddlesden said. Peddlesden and her husband Bill will serve as tour guides on three 45-minute tours starting at 10:30 a.m. Each tour – consisting of nine participants accompanied by the two guides and a driver – will depart from the Chestermere Landing in a boat provided by John Kittler. Historic photographs will be circulated, and the guides will describe the stories of Chestermere Lake, including the building of the dam that led to the lake’s formation. “The lake would have been created around 1905-06, so that’s like, 112 years,” Peddlesden said. “It was amazing, the story of how quickly the Canadian Pacific Railroad turned this slough into a watering hole – an oasis, a place to get away.” The tour will also focus on the local Navy Cadet Camp – now a Bible camp – that housed soldiers enlisted and training to fight in the Second World War, and the history of the Calgary Yacht Club. According to Peddlesden, Chestermere has long been a central point for rural residents of Rocky View County (RVC), and she said the tour is a great way to learn the history of the community. “Chestermere is a part of that rural RVC history,” she said. “I suppose, because Historic Calgary Week is a Calgary thing, they’re all interested in coming out and seeing what Calgarians used to do out here, but what they forget is it was a place for many of the rural people to come fish, go boating and use it for practical purposes.” Anyone interested in the boat tours must pre-register by emailing hcwchestermere@chinookcountry.org More information is available at chestermerehistoricalfoundation.org, or by contacting Peddlesden at 403-200-8046. She said the 27 spots have been filling up fast. “I wouldn’t think it would be a good idea to just show up, because with the small number of people, it’s probably going to fill up,” she said. Registration is free, but Peddlesden said donations to the Chinook Country Historical Society will be accepted. Life jackets will be provided, and the event will be rescheduled for Aug. 6 if the lake is stormy Aug. 2.