Picture this, the housing market in the Edmonton area is on fire, oil is over $100/ barrel, Ralph Klein has given every Albertan resident “Ralph Bucks” and the economy is booming. Seems like the perfect time to start a housing development, right?!? The response to Spring Lake Ranch was so positive with the vision of a quiet and private enclave located on a serene and idyllic lake, surrounded by nature. During the first pre-launch event, 14 presales for Phase 1 lots are secured, people are planning their “forever homes” and are excited to see this community launch. At this point, the estimated time to complete this project is 3–5 years.
Now let’s fast-forward to the autumn of 2008 at Spring Lake Ranch; utilities have been installed (gas, power, phone lines), roads have been built, and the first show home, The Horizon, is completed. Phase 1 lots have been registered and can now be released to the public. Exciting times for this new and budding community, right!?!
And then something happens that no one can predict… the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the most severe worldwide economic crisis since the Great Depression. This fast and thunderous crash sent the world into an accelerated recession. What does this mean for Spring Lake Ranch?
Remember those 14 presales? They quickly depleted to… (take a wild a guess at how many pre-sales remained?) … 1. One family held onto their dream lot. One family stuck through the recession. One! (We are so thankful for this one.)
From here, it took years to regain the confidence in the housing market, which in turn meant it took years to fully launch this community. In the early days, we had a mantra that we often said (even on days when we did not feel it) and it was to have “unwavering faith”. Unwavering faith that the vision of this community would come to fruition. Unwavering faith that the right people would find Spring Lake Ranch, see the beauty and want to build their home and life here.
We know this is not a traditional anniversary celebration introduction, but we thought it was important to share some of the backstory to illustrate the importance of perseverance when setting a goal. It also shows that sometimes the timelines we put on things are irrelevant, as they do not take into account bigger, uncontrollable variables. As we hit this milestone of 15 years, it truly feels like an accomplishment. Spring Lake Ranch started as a vision and has become a thriving little community because of the people who have decided to make it their home, the beautiful homes they have built and the pristine natural environment that surrounds them.
History of Spring Lake Ranch
Back in the day, Spring Lake was called Edmonton Beach. It was a hub for summer time fun, and social gatherings such as dances and beach bonfires. People would come from Edmonton and surrounding areas (originally by horseback and then by train) to enjoy lake life with fishing, swimming, camping and being with family and friends at their summer cottage.
The land immediately around Spring Lake was mostly owned by one family, the Bauers, who farmed and ranched the land. Over time, they subdivided pieces of land, holding onto, in their opinion, the best piece of land. The land was inherited by a Bauer who later chose to sell it, and that’s when the idea of Spring Lake Ranch was born.
The Village of Spring Lake was excited about this addition to their community, as it would eventually grow the population (and in turn increase property tax revenue) but also because it joined the community as one. With this final piece of the area being developed, the roads fully connected the entire village together, making it more accessible for emergency vehicles and also allowing residents to walk, drive and bike all the way around Spring Lake.
The vision of SLR was to build beautiful West Coast inspired homes that encompassed the natural surroundings of Spring Lake. In the beginning, there was one show home on the hill (The Horizon) and 65 empty lots. Our team had to get very creative in painting the picture for people to see what would eventually come into fruition. Fun fact: 0.1% of the population are visionary. This means very few people can envision what they want the future to look like and strategize on how to get there. So basically this meant that when people drove out to view this budding community, all they saw was nothingness. This is where we had unwavering faith that the right people would find SLR.
Construction of Spring Lake Ranch happened in phases, four in total, and this was critical in ensuring that budgets could be managed for road work and servicing the land. In order to enhance the vision of the community, certain design elements were implemented such as: underground power lines (so that views were not obstructed & to decrease power outages during windstorms), curving roads to slow traffic, cul-de-sacs (all named after different trees) to create unique ‘moments’ for future neighbours within the community. As this was before the time of drones, there was a “viewing deck” that people could stand on to see what their future view would be. As land was still not selling, our team decided to start planting trees in order to get ahead of the saying, “one generation plants the trees for the next generation to enjoy!” Fun fact: the SLR team planted approximately 133 trees during the past 15 years!
Over the years, SLR hosted MANY events to bring people out to the area so they could experience the natural beauty. There were BBQs, horse-drawn carriage rides, pontoon boat lake tours, a Winter Carnival on Loon Lake where Spring Lake Council was challenged to a curling match, hot air balloon rides, and we even had a helicopter here once! The statement we often hear when people first discover Spring Lake Ranch is, “we had no idea this place was even here!” The Edmonton Journal even touted us as, “Edmonton’s best kept secret”- which is great for those lucky enough to call it home, kind of tricky when you are selling land and homes!
Spring Lake Ranch is a very special place where you have privacy and space while also being a part of something bigger and if you run out of sugar, you are guaranteed to have people to ask! Neighbours help each other out with no expectation of reciprocity. When someone is going through a hard time, you will see flowers or food being delivered. Bottle drives for hockey teams happen on the regular, which is a win/win because let’s face it, who has time to go to the recycle depot! New babies are welcomed and sad farewells to loved ones are shared.
The many families that have chosen to make SLR home is what makes this such an amazing place. While the definition of community is: “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”; this does not quite sum up the vibe of Spring Lake Ranch.
We decided to ask some of the residents what this community means to them…
“The Turkey Bowl and Friendsgiving!” (an annual flag football game followed by chilli where neighbours gather over the Thanksgiving weekend.)
“Neighbours that are friends and friends that are neighbours!”
“Seeing all the neighbourhood children outside playing and exploring in the surrounding nature areas… and not sitting inside on screens! They are safe and happy. The coolest part is when it starts to get dark, you see them all heading home- it feels like a time warp to the ‘old days’!”
“Gathering together for playoff hockey around our buddy’s outdoor fire.”
“Halloween is legit at SLR! The community puts on a very spooky show with treats for the children and the adults. Neighbours usually gather at the end of the night around a fire or at the SLR Lounge (those that know, know), tally up the final numbers of the night and discuss all the fun costumes.” (This year our little community hit over 300!)
“Watching the Northern Lights and star-gazing while socializing with our neighbours.” (There is such little light pollution in the area which makes the skies even more magnificent at SLR.)
“Skating on Loon Lake with our friends and neighbours is the absolute best!”
SLR Family Photo Shoot
A few of our residents did a family photo shoot. Thank you very much for your gorgeous smiles and sweet words!
“Our family absolutely loves living in Spring Lake. The sense of community here is fantastic, and the peaceful atmosphere makes every day enjoyable. It’s a place that truly feels like home.”-Michelle & Shawn B.
“Spring Lake Ranch is a dream! We absolutely love living here. The lake is beautiful, and the views are unreal. Such a peaceful environment. The people here are so friendly and welcoming. It is a great place to raise a family. You literally have everything you need out here. Our experience has been very positive!”-Jade & Cole K.
“Our family feels so lucky to have stumbled upon Spring Lake Ranch almost 8 years ago. The balance between the space and calm of country living coupled with being part of a thriving and active community has been so enjoyable for us and our growing boys.
Over the years, as the neighborhood continued to expand around us, we knew we were in our forever location and we’ve continued to invest in our property hoping our family and friends will continue to gather and enjoy SLR for years to come. We truly love where we live.”-Meghan & Murray H.
“Our first decade in ‘SLR’ as we affectionately refer to it, has been nothing short of truly special. We see our home as a vacation spot. From the day we began planning our home right up to today, we remain excited about the home we’ve had built. It is serene and peaceful. We are surrounded by wildlife, scenic views, the sounds of nature and glowing stars at night. We relax and leave the business and stress of the workplace and city behind.
We are raising our daughter here and we are constantly reminded of the blessing this community is for us as parents and her as she enjoys her childhood. She pets horses, plays in forests and swims in lakes – all within an afternoon. As she grows, she is building relationships with our neighbours children within the safety of our community as we collectively care for them while they explore and play together. It takes a village to raise a little. In SLR, both literally and figuratively, our daughter is surrounded by ‘Village’. We are forever thankful for the unbelievably beautiful home we live in and the community that has become our family here in Spring Lake Ranch.”-Erin & Noel C.
“We love this community because it’s peaceful, we are surrounded by nature and we have made friends that are like family.”-Brandon & Amy
“We love everything about living and being a part of this wonderful community in Spring Lake Ranch. The scenic views and peaceful surroundings make SLR a joy to come home to every day. There’s something about it that just feels special. Our kids love exploring the trail network, paddling on the lake, and waving to neighbours as they ride their bikes up and down the quiet streets. We couldn’t be more happy to call SLR home.”-Katie & Derrick B.
“Moving to Spring Lake Ranch has been like a gift that keeps on giving. From discovering the various community events that happened throughout the year to getting more connected with so many awesome people and enjoying life together with barbecues, parties, and hanging out at the lake, it feels like a true community!
-Adrienne & Myles C.
Walking the trails, being on the lake paddleboarding, even the wild pack of coyotes that lives around here are all just a part of the character and adventure of this place. Our family loves it here!!”
Part of the initial planning of this community included donating 10% of the land to walking trails. These walking trails border Spring Lake Ranch and link to the Village of Spring Lake. Here you will see people walking their dogs, children building forts in the forest and biking enthusiasts exploring the trails.
Other residents enjoy skating at the official-sized, outdoor community skating rink. As a way to say thank you to the community, Spring Lake Ranch donated the design and a portion of the construction of the Rink Shack. This is a heated building ideal for lacing up skates on those cold winter days. Throughout the year, there are local events held there to bring the entire Spring Lake community together.
All of those who live at Spring Lake are very fortunate to have recreation at their doorstep. From swimming, fishing, biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, walking and running in the summer; to cross-country skiing, dark sky star watching, ice fishing, skating and sledding in the winter. By enjoying the natural environment, people also become stewards to protect the area and that’s pretty cool!
As we reflect on 15 years of SLR, we want to say a genuine THANK YOU to everyone who has helped build this community and brought life to what started as a vision.
The Team at SLR