Robbery, mischief and murder went
unpunished and unchecked in the
whiskey trading days of 19th century
southern Alberta. In 1875, the
North-West Mounted Police built
Fort Calgary at the confluence
of the Elbow and the Bow, restoring
law and order to a land that had
fallen into carelessness and chaos.
Fish: The brown trout that
thrive in the Bow today attract
fly fishers from around the world.
But they got there by accident
in 1925, when a truck full of
trout fry broke down at the Carrot
In the beginning,
the Bow is a mountain river-with the steady,
ice-cold drip of the Bow Glacier, the frosty
trickle of Rocky
Mountain streams, the breathtaking aqua
blue of Lake Louise, the whitewater of the
upper gorge, the aspen parklands
of the foothills. In the middle, it is a
transition river, with rolling foothills
to the west, treeless grain fields to the
east, criss-cross bridges, pathways and
towering skyline of Calgary, wide, green
valleys and grassy banks lined with cottonwood
and spruce. In the end, it is a prairie
river, bordered by endless fields of wheat,
barley and canola stretching across the
The Bow River, 623
kilometres in length, flows through Banff
National Park, one of the most famous and
most visited nature reserves in the world.
It forms the heart of the city of Calgary,
home to one million people and the commercial
and cultural centre of southern Alberta.
It provides life-giving moisture to millions
of hectares of prairie farmland, and endless
excitement to fly fishers, hikers, campers,
canoeists, kayakers, birdwatchers and naturalists.
It has a proud First Nations history, and,
with continuing care, a promising future.