Chestermere, originally named Chestermere Lake, is a city in the Canadian province of Alberta, within Rocky View County. It is largely a bedroom community of Calgary and is a member municipality of the Calgary Regional Partnership. The city, which surrounds Chestermere Lake, was known as Chestermere Lake from 1977 to 1993.
Prior to the 20th century, the area around what is now Chestermere Lake was settled by only a few farmers. When the Canadian Pacific Railway was established in the 1880s, more and more people came to settle in the west. To make farming more productive, settlers began to determine ways to irrigate their land. As a natural wetland, Chestermere Lake was considered to be perfect for use as a balancing pool for the Western Irrigation Block. By 1907, a dam and canal system had been built, the wetland developed into a lake, and farmers began using the water for irrigation.
Following the irrigation development, the lake began to be used for recreation. People would lease land from the Western Irrigation District (WID) (which took control of the land from CPR in 1944), build cabins and stay on the lake during the summer months. In 1959, the Chestermere Cabin Owners Association (CCOA) was incorporated with approximately 50 members. The CCOA held events, bought a fire truck for the community, worked to reduce pollution in the lake, planted trees, and arranged for electricity and natural gas for the cabins.
As more people began to live around Chestermere Lake, residents wanted to secure long-term leases. In 1975, the CCOA bought the land from the WID and then transferred it to the residents. By 1977, the lake boasted 120 permanent homes and gained official status as the Summer Village of Chestermere Lake on April 1, 1977. As a summer village, the residents of Chestermere gained more political influence and were able to begin adding services and amenities or encouraging infrastructure and developments such as fire and protection services, improved roads, a community hall, street lights, a recreation centre, local businesses and a golf course.
By 1992, Chestermere’s population had increased to 1,043 permanent residents. On March 1, 1993, the Summer Village of Chestermere Lake officially changed its status and name to the Town of Chestermere. Becoming a town gave the residents more local and political authority. The town continued developing amenities and services for residents and its population has grown to 17,203 residents as recorded by its 2014 municipal census. In late 2014, town council voted in favour of pursuing city status, which became effective January 1, 2015.
Chestermere's town council voted to apply for city status on September 29, 2014. It became Alberta's 18th city on January 1, 2015.