For years, Bill Carr’s Sylvan Lake cabin was a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Carr has fond memories of visiting the cabin and watching bald eagles, moose and elk from his boat with his children and grandchildren.
“It was very, very peaceful. We’d hear loons on the lake constantly in the evenings,” he said.
As summer in Sylvan nears, locals are bracing for the long lineups of vehicles that congest the roads leading to the lake’s two official boat launches. On hot summer days, the lake is packed.
“The ambience of the lake has really changed,” said Carr, the mayor of the idyllically named Sunbreaker Cove, a tiny village on the lake’s northern shore and one of eight municipal bodies around the lake.
Just 15 minutes from Red Deer and 170 kilometres north of Calgary, Sylvan Lake is a tourist hot spot, with more than a million visitors flocking to the area each year.