High River became a city in 2007, and has a population of 10,716. (2006). It lies 37 kilometres (23 mi) south of the city of Calgary, at the junction of Alberta Highways 2 and 23. It is about 40-50 minutes drive form Calgary's downtown and its airport.
The community is named for the Highwood River, which flows through the town, and often floods in the spring. High River hosts annual chuckwagon races, and in 2006 hosted the North American chuckwagon racing championships. High River is also the birthplace of former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark and was the home town of author W.O. Mitchell. The town is proud of its heritage, and a number of murals were painted around town since the 1980s.
People reside in High River mostly because they like the community spirit, the family-friendly atmosphere, community safety, and the parks and open spaces. The city is expected to grow to 19,500 by 2026, and is participating in early discussions of a commuter rail line into Calgary.
Residents comment that they find High River lacks shopping opportunities (and business hours), has threat of Spring flooding, ahas lots of 'big truck' traffic through downtown, and requires additional recreational amenities affordable housing.
The Foothills School Division operates five schools within the Town of High River, two elementary schools (K-5), one Junior High School (6-8), one Senior High School (9-12), and the High River Outreach School (10-12). As of October 2005 there were a total of 1,313 students attending these schools, who are residents of the Town of High River.
Christ the Redeemer Catholic Separate School Division operates two schools in High River, one elementary school (K-6) and one Junior/Senior High School (7-12). As of October 2005 there were 460 students attending these two schools who reside in the Town of High River.
The city of High River also has a public library.
High River is an entirely self-contained community, being the market center for the farms within a 30 mile radius, has lots of shopping in the center of town along Macleod Trail and on the southside along 12 Avenue toward Highway 2.
While 2A was the original highway through town, and therefore formed its Main Street, Highway 2 bypasses the city to the east, and keeps the heavy truck traffic off most comunity streets.
High River's downtown area has 150 businesses, and the town is exploring zoning changes to allow either larger stores or more boutiques. The city is looking at enhancing the shopping areawith special features, which emphasizes the unique history, heritage, and culture of High River, as well as planters, flowers and trees.
High River, on the Highwood River has a riverside park, two riverside golf courses (Highwood Golf & Country, and Rio Vista), another winding park with a creek, two lakes (Emerson and Sunshine) with parks.
High River is on the famed Cowboy Trail, connecting to a number of cowboy-related features and exhibits. The Museum of the Highwood (c. 1911-2) is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. High River has a number of small lakes around, including the Oldman River dam to the west, making it a prairie watersports hot spot.
High River is mostly single family homes, with some acreages around the community.
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