Lake Bonavista and Lake Bonaventure are located in Calgary’s southeast and are bordered by Bonavista Downs to the east, Macleod Trail to the west and Anderson Road to the north. The community is just north of Fish Creek Park. These Calgary lake communities were developed by the Keith Construction company starting in 1967. It was the first community in Canada to be built around a manmade lake, and served as a prototype for other “Lake Communities” in Calgary. Two trailer courts resided on the west side of Bonavista, north of the Avenida Shopping Centre, alongside Macleod Trail. One trailer court was relocated to Northeast Calgary in the late 1990s, the other was removed and the land was sold. The Bonavista Square shopping complex, Calgary Honda, Kramer Mazda and Hyundai Gallery, as well as two apartments and an office building were built in its place, accessed by an extended Lake Fraser Drive, as well as an interchange built at Anderson Road and Macleod Trail, in 2001.
Lake Bonavista Promenade is a small commercial development within Lake Bonavista that includes both retail space and professional offices. There is also convenient access to shopping areas along Macleod Trail and South Centre Mall.
The area was originally flat treeless prairie with no distinctive natural features. In order to make the area more attractive Lake Bonavista, a 52-acre (210,000 m2) manmade lake, was constructed in 1968, with a portion of the earth excavated from the lake used to construct a 65-foot (20 m) hill with a waterfall adjacent to the lake. The lake and adjacent park provide a variety of year round recreational opportunities for residents, including fishing, swimming, boating, tennis, skating, and tobogganing. The Lake Bonavista Home Owners Association, membership in which is mandatory for homeowners in the area, provides the upkeep of the lake and park.
The neighbourhood also contains a second manmade lake, Lake Bonaventure. This 35-acre (140,000 m2) lake is only accessible by houses built directly around the lake itself. Homeowners with access to Lake Bonaventure must pay their share of the upkeep on both Lake Bonavista and Lake Bonaventure.
Bonavista Downs residents share many of the amenities with Lake Bonavista, but they do not have access to the lakes and do not need to pay for their upkeep.
Lake Bonavista offers a variety of housing styles and options. Most properties are detached homes other than some more recently developed condomiunium projects built on the Westerly side of Lake Bonavista. The most affordable housing options are in the neighbouring community of Bonavista Downs which do not have lake rights but enjoy the other ammeneties in the area. Other homes range from mid-priced family sized bungalows and 2 storey homes ranging in size from the 1,000 SF to 1,900 SF. Executive homes backing to the Lake or onto green spaces are available and offer a wonderful lifestyle with private lakefront docks with direct access to the Lake from your private back yard. Many of the homes are being renovated in Bonavista due to the aging that has taken place from their original build dates in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s.
There are numerous year round activities at the lakes as well as Community Centre. Activities include swimming, beach sports, fishing, basketball & tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic tables and BBQ pits, canoes, paddle boats and fishing boats. Life jackets and oars are also offered to the boating enthusiasts. Winter time offers ice skating on the cleared pathway system around the lake, several hockey rinks with night lighting as well as the upper skating rink complete with gas fireplace and benches to warm up around. Fishing is permitted without an Alberta fishing licence since this is a private lake. Limits to catch numbers are set by the Lake Association and fish are stocked yearly as part of a community event. The Lake Bonavista Community Association (not to be confused with the homeowners association which maintains the lake) owns a community centre within the district. The recreation centre houses two skating rinks, a gym, and a fitness studio. One of the community’s most successful initiatives is the Canskate program, which utilizes the skating rinks for lessons geared towards community youth. Soccer, hockey, basketball, yoga and fitness classes are also popular. Such programs are financed in part by the frequent bingos held at the centre. The community association also offers tennis and canoeing lessons at Lake Bonavista. Such programs allow the Lake Bonavista community to appeal to a wide variety of community interests. Fish Creek Provincial Park borders the community to the south, and provides a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.
There is also a City of Calgary ice rink, Frank McCool Arena, within the community.
Kindergarten thru Jr. High is offered by both the public and separate school boards. High school students are bussed to schools in neighbouring communities.