Enjoy September on these 5 Alberta Waterbodies!

September is the perfect month to get outside and get to the water. While it may be getting a bit more chilly, now you can dig your favourite sweater and toque out from storage, bundle up, and face the great outdoors. Spending time outside is proven to be great for social, physical, and mental health. This is particularly important as the school year starts up. Getting to the water is the perfect opportunity to gather with friends and family, it can improve your mood, it gets you moving, it calms the mind, and it’s just plain fun! There’s no snow on the ground. The lakes have not frozen. Now is the time to get outside!


Alberta is feeling the chill of seasonal change approaching, but summer is far from over. September is a prime time to get outside and take advantage of the many lovely walking and biking paths, the perfect water for paddling, and maybe even brave the cold water for a dip. While the City of Edmonton might not be moving forward with constructing a permanent beach along the North Saskatchewan River, that does not mean that Edmontonians cannot get out to the water. There are 22 major parks along the river, forming the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America, and an abundance of space for activities. For ideas of beaches to visit in one of the sunniest provinces, here are a few of the most popular beaches in Alberta. For more ideas, check the Swim Guide or read on.


File:Elk Island National Park Sunset.jpg 

Elk Island National Park


Elk Island National Park is located a quick 30 minutes away from Edmonton. If you like hiking, paddling, or seeing wildlife, this is a trip you might want to take this September. You can pack a picnic while gazing out on Astotin Lake, and if you have young ones with you (or the young at heart), build some sandcastles on the beach. There are also 11 hiking trails of various difficulties to immerse yourself in the fresh air. If paddling is more your scene, on the weekends you can rent a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard; if you have your own boat, bring it along for some quality time out on the water. Elk Island is also home to many different creatures of all different shapes and sizes, including bison, elk, beavers, and the tiny boreal chorus frog. You will have to keep your eyes and ears open to witness some of these amazing creatures.


Wabamun Lake Provincial Park


Is it possible to go swimming in September? Absolutely! The Wabamun Lake Provincial Park Beach is another quick trip from Edmonton for a day full of activities. The beach has plenty of space to play in and out of the water. If you prefer birdwatching, you may be able to spot herons, bald eagles, hooded mergansers, and more. It’s also a great location for fishing, many anglers rave about the pike and walleye in Wabamun Lake.



Maligne Lake


For a Rocky Mountain Adventure, why not trek to Maligne Lake. There are many lakes and rivers to choose to visit in Jasper National Park, so why not visit the largest? The 22km long lake is a fantastic spot to go paddling or for an epic hike. They have easy and difficult trails to take you to the tops of mountains. There are a variety of campsites at the lake, as well as many other sites around Jasper. There are a variety of activities that are still available in the surrounding area including horseback riding, mountain biking, paddling, fishing, and even traction kiting.


Mill Creek Ravine


Flowing right through Edmonton, the Mill Creek Ravine is a stunning location for a hike, for mountain biking, or for a dog walk. It’s a popular site for dog owners since there is an off leash dog park. But there are also sites for picnicking, so bring a snack to enjoy the beauty of the creek. The paved trails are accompanied by bridges to cross over the water with ease. This is a great location to escape from the hustle and bustle while still being located right in the city.


Accidental Beach


While it may not be the most accessible of beaches, the sand has returned once again this year. This year Accidental Beach (also known as Cloverdale Beach) did not have as many people come by, but it is still a great spot to visit with friends and family. Last year’s water testing showed high levels of E. coli, so bathe at your own risk. But the view of downtown from the water is reason enough to visit this accidental sandy beach.

Paying tribute to water on Canada Day

Here in Canada, we have a lot to be thankful for – and a lot of it has to do with water.

We have access to some of the most abundant freshwater sources on the planet. Our network of lakes, streams, and rivers provides us with the water we drink every day, a place to relax, swim, fish, and paddle, and a scenic backdrop for much of our landscape. As Canadians, we are also some of the highest water users per capita in the world. This Canada Day, let’s recognize the importance of our more precious resource.

Here are five facts about Canada’s freshwater.

  1. Canada has more lake area than any country in the world, and much of this lies within the Great Lakes network. The combined shoreline of the Great Lakes is nearly 50 per cent of the earth’s circumference, and this network of lakes is the largest system of freshwater on earth. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 8.5 million Canadians. Lake Ontario is so large that it supplies drinking water to nearly 30 per cent of Canada’s population. 
  1. There is more water underground Canada than on our country’s surface. More than 8 per cent of Canada is covered in lakes, and our rivers discharge 7 per cent of the world’s renewable water supply – but this is still less than what lies beneath our country. Groundwater provides drinking water to about a quarter of Canada’s population, and is essential for farming and manufacturing.
  1. The majority of lakes on the Canadian Shield were created by glacial erosion, including the Great Lakes. Glacial lakes form when glaciers recede, carving a hole in the surface. Glacial melt causes the hole to become filled. Glacier ice can measure over 100,000 years old at the base.
  1. Wetlands cover more than 1.2 million square kilometres in Canada, and our wetlands make up about 25 per cent of the global area. Canada is the largest wetland area in the world, and are essential for the health of our ecosystem and the water we drink. Wetlands retain water, prevent flooding, filter and purify water, and replenish and store groundwater. In the past, wetlands were considered wasteland, and much of the wetland area in southern Canada was drained or filled for farming and building operations. 
  1. Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park is the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world. Maligne Lake is one of the most photographed locations in the world, drawing fame and attention for its colour, surrounding peaks, visible glaciers, and Spirit Island, a tiny island that sits in the lake.


Water. (2015). Environment Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/.

Fact Sheet: The world and water. (2007). RBC. Retrieved from: http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/_assets-custom/pdf/Fact-Sheet-The-World-and-Water-EN.pdf.