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North America > Canada > Prairies > Alberta > Calgary Region > High River

High River

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High River is a city or about 13,500 people (2016) in Calgary Region.

Understand[edit]

Aerial view of downtown High River Alberta, July 2017

High River was used as a set for Smallville in Superman III, and for High River, Montana in Nickelodeon's series Caitlin's Way. Heartland, a CBC television series, used High River its main filming spot. Also, the movie Carolina Moon, based on the book by Nora Roberts, and the movie Moondance Alexander were filmed in High River.

Parts of the television series Fargo were filmed in High River. Tin Star, a British-Canadian drama series, was filmed in and around High River in 2016.

The High River Visitor Information Centre is in the Museum of the Highwood, 406 First St SW, M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM and Su noon-4PM.

History[edit]

The community takes its name from the Highwood River, which flows through the town. The area was first inhabited largely by the Blackfoot First Nation, who called the site Ispitzee (or the “place of high trees along running water”). By 1870, after the arrival of the North-West Mounted Police and after Treaty Number 7 had been signed in 1877, settlers began arriving into the region. High River was a convenient location for people, horses and cattle to cross the Highwood River - a location known as "The Crossing".

Development of the town was supported by the completion of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1892. High River was incorporated as a village in 1901, and as a town in 1906.

Although growth slowed during the First World War, it continued after the war with the building of brick structures and a number of industries. One of Canada's first air force stations was constructed to the east of the town in 1921. The establishment of a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan elementary flying training school at the same air station helped boost High River's economy during the Second World War.

The Highwood River is subject to frequent flooding. Flood events of exceptional magnitude occurred in 1894, 1899, 1902, 1908, 1912, 1923, 1929, 1932, 1942, 1995, 2005 and 2013. During the 2013 Alberta floods, thousands of people in Alberta were ordered to evacuate their homes after the rise of the Highwood River, Bow River, Elbow River Sheep River, and numerous others. In 2013, three people died as a result of the flooding of the Highwood River.

Get in[edit]

It is 67 km (42 mi) south of Calgary, at the junction of Alberta Highways 2 and 23.

  • On-it Regional Transit. One bus from Calgary (11th Ave. & 4th St. SW) per day M-F leaving at 4:30PM (1 hr 20 min). The return bus to Calgary leaves from the Bob Snodgrass Rec Centre at 6:20AM.

Get around[edit]

There is no public transit.

  • Happy Trails Pathways provide more than 19 km of paved pedestrian and cycling pathways throughout the community, connecting many of the town’s recreational facilities, set along the river and through the many parks and greenspaces found in town.

See[edit]

  • As part of High River's tourism and heritage endeavours, a number of murals illustrating High River's history were painted around town.
  • Museum of the Highwood, 406 First St SW, (in downtown High River), +1 403 652-7156, . M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM and Su noon-4PM. The museum is in the former Canadian Pacific Railway station (built 1911-12), which is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Exhibits, gift shop and the Imagination Station for kids. Free, donations welcome.
  • The High River Agricultural Museum is based on the history and influence that Ford and the oil & gas sector had on the agricultural way of life from the early 1900s to the 1960s and beyond. It has a huge selection of antique tractors, vehicles and farm equipment on display – a must see.
  • Sheppard Family Park is a historical landmark that celebrates High Rivers history from the 1880s to 1920s, at the corner of 12 Ave and 5th street SE.
  • The historic Wales Theatre retains many of its original design charms and features one of the last free-standing balconies in Canada.

Do[edit]

  • Birdwatching at Emerson Lake. Over 103 species of birds can be found at Emerson Lake in High River, with records dating back to the 1900s.
  • Birdwatching at Frank Lake Conservation Area. Frank Lake is listed by Ducks Unlimited as one of 597 Important Bird Areas in Canada, and is one of the best birding venues in the Calgary area. The lake is a shallow slough, typical of the prairie grasslands in Southern Alberta. It is a productive wetland that encompasses three basins totaling nearly 3,100 acres of flooded area with an additional 1,700 acres of managed upland habitat. The uplands are both native and seeded grasslands that benefit wildlife and waterfowl nesting. 190 plant species, 194 bird species and over 16 mammal species have been recorded at the lake, including many that are regionally or provincially rare in status.
  • Fishing in and around High River. The Highwood River is well-known for its flyfishing, and there are plenty of other sportfishing opportunities around the area. Originating in the Canadian Rockies, in the Highwood Pass, below Mount Arethusa, the river flows south parallel to the Kananaskis Trail, before its turns east, to flow along Highway 541 and through the community of Longview. Continuing east, the Highwood River passes through High River, ending when it enters the Bow River, southeast of Calgary.

Buy[edit]

  • Flys Etc., 609 Centre Street SW, +1 403-601-6120. M-Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. An excellent source for local fishing information, maps, gear and supplies. Alberta fishing licenses can be purchased here or online.

Eat[edit]

  • Evelyn's Memory Lane Cafe, 118 4th Avenue SW, +1 403-652-1887. M-F 9AM-4PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. Sandwiches, pies, ice cream. Home-style cooking, including gluten-friendly, vegan and vegetarian selections.
  • Hitchin Post Drive-In, 12th Ave, +1 403-652-2966. Burgers and other fast food.
  • Whistle Stop Cafe, 406 1st Street SW, +1 403-652-7026. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 10AM-3PM. Great atmosphere, decorated with old photos of the town.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • High River Motor Motel, 121 5 Ave SW, +1 403 652-4339. From $80.
  • George Lane Campground, 343 Macleod Trail SW, +1 403 652-2529. Open May to Sept. Set in a secluded area beside the Highwood River, close to downtown High River, this campground is 60 km (35 miles) south of Calgary on Highway 2, within easy walking distance of shopping and restaurants. Among mature trees, 57 campsites (pull-through and back-in), each with 15 and 30 amp power, a fire pit and a picnic table. Free clean showers. Potable water and a free sani-dump are available within the campground and adjoining park. Free Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Ramada High River, 1512 13 Ave SE, +1-403-603-3183. Free continental breakfast, heated indoor pool, hot tub, fitness center. Each room has a microwave, refrigerator, free WiFi, and a 32-inch flat-screen TV. Kitchenette rooms are also available. Guest laundry facilities and free large-vehicle parking are available. Pet friendly. Airport shuttle service. From $123.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Vulcan, southeast on Highway 23, is the "Official Star Trek Capital of Canada."

Routes through High River
EdmontonCalgary  N Alberta Highway 2.svg S  NantonFort Macleod / Lethbridge via Alberta Highway 3.svg
CalgaryOkotoks  N Alberta Highway 2A.svg S  END
END  W Alberta Highway 23.svg E  VulcanLethbridge


This city travel guide to High River is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.