Construction on the redesigned Calgary Weir now complete
Smooth sailing on Harvie Passage requires skill and river safety know-how
Alberta's waterbodies have a variety of uses from recreation to drinking water to irrigation.
Built in 1908 to divert water to the Western Irrigation District, the Calgary weir remains an important source of water for southern Alberta residents, farmers and industry. The strong undertow of the original design made the area dangerous for boaters and recreation users.
Improvements began in 2009 as a partnership project of Parks Foundation Calgary, the Calgary Foundation, the City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta. The area has since been renamed the Harvie Passage to recognize the significant contributions and efforts of the Harvie family to improve safety and create a continuous passage for recreational users.
The new design has created two channels. The larger main channel, rated as a Class III rapid, is suitable only for trained whitewater kayakers and river rafters. A smaller, less turbulent Class II rapid is located on the south side of the river.
Inexperienced paddlers are urged to portage - get out and walk around.
Class III (Advanced) rapids:
Numerous rapids with high, powerful and irregular waves often capable of swamping an open canoe. Paddlers must be able to negotiate fast, turbulent water requiring complex maneuvering.
Class II (Intermediate) rapids:
Easy rapids with waves up to one metre high. Clear channels with obvious routes through them without scouting. Some competent maneuvering required. Small ledges, sweepers and log jams may be present.
Visit the Bow Waters River Rating Guide for more information on the international classification system.
Although the Harvie Passage is a safer and more enjoyable recreation site, all users are urged to use caution while navigating the new Harvie Passage rapids and all water courses in the province:
- Remain alert
- Follow signage
- Proper safety equipment, including personal floatation devices (PFDs) and helmets, are mandatory for all paddlers on the Harvie Passage
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