The story of the Bow Valley Ranche is nearly twelve decades long. It began with a few characters who were critical to the development of Alberta’s cattle industry.
In 1896, cattle rancher and businessman William Roper Hull purchased property along the Bow River and built a sprawling ranch house for about $4,000. The ranch became a centre for ‘refined social activities’ and he welcomed and entertained many local and foreign visitors there. Hull owned the house and property until 1902, when it was purchased by Patrick Burns, a successful cattle rancher who eventually became a senator.
In 1945, the house underwent some repairs to the roof and replacement of windows. A more extensive renovation in 1957 included the addition of a large family wing and a games room. Though Burns passed away in 1937, his extended family continued on in the house until the early 1970s, constructing a one-storey addition, a tennis court and pool. In 1973, the Alberta government bought Bow Valley Ranche as part of the development of Fish Creek Provincial Park.
After it was purchased by the government, the house sat empty for nearly 20 years. Concerned about the future of the grand, historic building, local residents Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw created the Fish Creek Restoration Society in 1995 for the purpose of saving the Hull residence. In the summer of 1999 the ranch house was opened as a fine dining restaurant. In early 2014 the building was restored to its original grandeur and its restaurant continues to be a serene location for refined social gatherings.
For a more complete history of the Bow Valley Ranche, please visit the website for The Ranche at Fish Creek Restoration Society.