New Harvie Passage Boosts Safety, Recreation

Calgary’s Harvie Passage has been redesigned to provide boaters and whitewater paddling enthusiasts with a newer, safer way to navigate the river.

Minister Shannon Phillips and Mark Taylor from the Rocky Mountain Paddling Centre take a run down the newly reopened Harvie Passage.

It also means Calgarians have a new river-adjacent recreation area.

The passage was seriously damaged during the 2013 flood and has now been re-envisioned and redesigned with input from numerous local stakeholder groups, such as the Alberta Whitewater Association and the Harvie Passage Alliance.

The completed project once again divides the Bow River channel into two passages – Class 3 rapids for more experienced paddlers, and a less turbulent channel for regular boaters.

“Harvie Passage represents more than a new, vibrant and more secure venue for new and seasoned paddlers. The redeveloped west bank along the passage will also allow visitors to the area to enjoy this beautiful space from land. It is a milestone for flood recovery and another example of how our government is investing in outdoor recreation and making life better for Albertans.”

~Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

“It’s exciting to have Harvie Passage open for Calgarians and visitors to Calgary. I have no doubt this will quickly become a much-loved natural space – another way for us to connect with the Bow River. Today’s announcement is also incredibly symbolic of the progress we’ve made since the 2013 flood; together, as partners, we can rebuild what was damaged to become better, stronger and more resilient.”

~Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

The government and its water safety partners want everyone to have fun and enjoy the improved features of the passage, but remind all users to be mindful of the possible risks of recreating in and around the water.

“With the opening of Harvie Passage, we will see more activity on Calgary’s waterways, including the Bow River. It’s important to remind all recreational river enthusiasts of all skill levels that where there’s water, there’s risk. Water can be unpredictable and we advise all river users to wear a life-jacket, and be aware of flow advisories, weather conditions and river hazards.”

~Joe Zatylny, Deputy Fire Chief, City of Calgary

The reopening of the passage also means recreational opportunities for paddle sport enthusiasts, who were key stakeholders for this project. These groups benefit from a passage route and environment that allows them to build their skills.

“The Alberta Whitewater Association is excited to see the reopening of Harvie Passage on the Bow River in Calgary. The reconstructed passage is better designed to be more flood-resilient and a safer whitewater park that will be more fun than before. Harvie Passage will also give Calgary’s slalom and freestyle kayak athletes a place to train for their national and Olympic teams. The Alberta Whitewater Association applauds the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary for working to restore this great recreation facility which is free for everyone to use.”

~Chuck Lee, executive director, Alberta Whitewater Association

Construction on the new project began in 2016, with a final cost of $8 million.

Other features of the Harvie Passage include

  • a new beach
  • a stepped rock feature for easier shoreline access
  • a reconstructed viewing area to the west of the mouth of the channels
  • a landscaped island area that separates the channels