Sylvan Lake is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is located 25 kilometres west of the City of Red Deer along Highway 11 or Highway 11A. It is situated on the southeast edge of Sylvan Lake, a 15 kilometres long freshwater lake, in Red Deer County.
The lake is a popular destination for tourists from around Alberta, with over 1.5 million visitors each year. Popular tourist activities include sunbathing, swimming, water-skiing, and visiting the local Wild Rapids Waterslides. Camp Woods in Sylvan Lake played to the 12th Canadian Scout Jamboree in July 2013.
Sylvan Lake was originally settled by French speaking immigrants from Quebec and the United States. In the early twentieth century, groups of Estonian and then Finnish settlers moved to homesteads to the south and west of the fledgling settlement at Sylvan Lake. With their arrival came the early business community, a general store, a blacksmith, a hardware store, post office, barber, and restaurants. Even prior to the building of the railways, Sylvan Lake was becoming a summer resort for families in Red Deer. With the coming of the trains, “the Lake” became a favourite of families from both Edmonton and Calgary. The summer visitors camped in tents, but soon the “Cottage Area” east of 46 Street and in “Lower Camp” on the southeast shore began to fill with summer cottages. In the 1930s and 1940s people began arriving by car and the areas around Norglenwold, Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and Jarvis Bay Provincial Park began to fill up with summer visitors. The influx of summer residents and visitors also brought businesses and services that catered to the ever increasing number of tourists. “Sylvan” is from the Latin sylvanus, which means “of a forest”.
The town has four public schools in the Chinook’s Edge School District.