Historic Photos of Skating from Across Alberta

Have you ever heard of wild ice skating? To put it simply, it’s skating on a frozen lake. In the Canadian Rockies, a trifecta of ideal conditions are needed to make that perfectly smooth, crystal clear ice these skaters are looking for. Three or four nights of below zero temps, no wind, and no snow are what’s required for this desirable ice to form. Whether the science interests you or not, we can all agree that skating on a glassy, frozen lake beneath majestic mountain peaks is a classic piece of Canadiana. I hope you enjoy this historical collection of skating (and some hockey) photographs from across Alberta. When you’re done, head out and find one of those picturesque lakes and don’t forget your skates.

First hockey rink, Banff, Alberta, 1900s

Skating on frozen lakes and other bodies of water can be a dangerous activity. The Canadian Red Cross recommends ice be a minimum of 15 centimetres thick to support a single person and at least 20 centimetres for groups. Always check with local authorities before venturing out onto the ice.

Skating on Elbow River, Calgary, Alberta, 1900s
Skaters on the Elbow River near old quarry, Alberta, 1911
Women’s hockey game, Banff, Alberta, 1904-1905
Skating on Bow River, Calgary, Alberta, 1910
Skating on Bow River, Calgary, Alberta, 1910
Children playing hockey on river, Calgary, Alberta, 1900-1919
Ice skating, Okotoks, Alberta, 1895-1905
Ladies hockey team, Okotoks, Alberta, 1895-1905
Fish Creek, Bradfield Ranch, Priddis, Alberta, 1911
Group on slough, Fort Macleod, Alberta, 1914
Skaters on ice, Edmonton, Alberta, 1913
Mewata Park, Calgary, Alberta, 1920s
Hockey on frozen slough, east of Viking, Alberta, 1912
Outdoor ice hockey game, Mountain Park, Alberta, 1920s-1930s
Hockey on open-air rink, Waterhole, Alberta, pre-1928
Skating at Hillhurst Athletic Park, Calgary, Alberta, 1914
Skating group, Seba Beach, Alberta, 1912
Group of surveyors at Bowness Park, Calgary, Alberta, 1915

For additional collections of historical photos of different winter activities please see previous posts about snowshoeing, dogsledding, and skiing.

On the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) boys’ club hockey rink, Calgary, Alberta, 1911

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives. Additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on each photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

Tyler Dixon
About Tyler Dixon 153 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.