The Diamond Valley
An important gateway to Kananaskis Country, the towns of Black Diamond and Turner Valley are located right on The Cowboy Trail and are steeped in western culture. They are surrounded by recreational opportunities and wonderful hosts to weary travellers and adventurers of all ages.
The town of Black Diamond is strategically located 15 minutes north of Longview and just 35 min southwest of Calgary, at the junction of Hwys #7 & #22. The town of Turner Valley is only 5 min west of Black Diamond. They are so close to one another that the local Chamber of Commerce represents both towns and has adopted the name Diamond Valley!
Here, the pace is much calmer than that in the big city. The scenic 3km Friendship Trail is a paved path linking these two neighbouring communities. A stroll on it offers scenic vistas of the river and the beautiful mountainous backdrop. Along the way, benches invite you to stop, rest and take it all in.
At the turn of the 20th century, settlers moved here because of the high grade coal discovered in the area. Coal was quite valuable at that time, so that, combined with the “sparkle” coal gives off, led to the nickname “black diamond”. When incorporated in 1929, residents decided to use this as their town name. Although coal is no longer mined here, “the world’s largest black diamond” is displayed in front of our municipal office on Centre Avenue. Stop and rub it for luck.
The friendly local business owners here cater to travellers on the Cowboy Trail and Calgarians heading into Kananaskis.
Time stands still at Marv’s Soda Shop, an authentic soda fountain and 50s diner. The ambience will stir the heart of any senior and everyone enjoys home-cut fries, and a handmade hamburger. You may not find a better milkshake!
On your way out, be sure to swing into the Black Diamond Bakery, right next door, for some Cowboy Trail sourdough bread. It goes great with George’s award winning chili. International travellers will enjoy a pastry with afternoon tea.
Check out the motorcycles parked just outside the historic Black Diamond Hotel. Riders aren’t having a convention! They’re here for a pint and a hearty meal. The Stop, located just next door, has a rustic feel with a large patio. They make a great espresso and a nice variety of gluten-free sweets.
Chef Nelson has carved out a niche for Soft Rock Bistro. Locals and travellers alike enjoy his many Quebec-inspired dishes such as Tarte au Sucre. The small poutine is large enough for most, while the salads and sandwiches offer very good value.
But there’s more than exceptional food in town; check out the local artwork, hand-crafted decor, specialty clothing, gifts and jewellery. You can park and walk the downtown with ease and you will be pleasantly surprised at the selection of treasures found behind each storefront.
The Bluerock Gallery specializes in high quality handmade art and crafts created by Alberta artists. Browse the jewellery, cards, books, and monthly exhibits to your heart’s content. A popular destination for travellers and Alberta residents alike, you’ll discover an eclectic mix of paintings, works in fibre, metal, clay, glass, and wood.
Recently, Bluerock Gallery has partnered with the Firebrand Glass Studios, the Lost American (Longview), Leighton Art Centre (Millarville area), and the Diamond Willow Artisan Retreat (Turner Valley) to establish The Most Beautiful Art Tour in Alberta. These five outstanding art venues are all located in the southern foothills, and combined, make for a lovely day trip.
The Chuckwagon Cafe and Coyote Moon are located in Turner Valley and feature hearty breakfasts.
Coyote Moon’s menu features wild Coho smoked salmon eggs Benedict and monkey French toast. It is a great stop for break-fast or lunch. Good coffee and lots of western antiques. On a nice day, be sure to ask for a table on the patio.
The Chuckwagon Cafe is the winner of Calgary’s best burger and also features their flat iron eggs Benedict. This cafe is a very popular spot for breakfast, especially on summer weekends, but don’t hesitate to stop for pie! Terry and his staff consistently get great reviews.
Diamond Willow Artisan Retreat is an enchanting country get-away, situated on eleven acres of rolling Alberta foothills. Located 5 kms west of the 4-way stop in Turner Valley, the facility offers private and public retreats in which individuals are encouraged to participate.
At Diamond Willow, all the fine details are handled: wholesome meals, luxury accommodations and comfortable space for your activities. Bed and breakfast options available.
Soak up the sun at Millennium Park, a beautiful little park located in downtown Turner Valley. This is where many community events take place. There is a rich assortment of activities in the area:
- Relax in front of the fire or soak in a hot tub
- Hike trails in or near Kananaskis Country
- Eco-adventures with naturalist & guide Julie Walker
- Shop at the Millarville Market
- Wander among the art at the historic Leighton Centre
- Trail ride at Anchor D Outfitters
- Tee off at the Turner Valley Golf Club
- Spend the day with an ex-bull rider on a “Real”Agricultural Tour
- World class fishing or fly fishing lessons
- WJ Homestead Disc Golf
- Enjoy some of the great local music
- Browse the quaint galleries and shops
- Star gaze at the U of C’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
- Attend the Beneath the Arch concert
Go to visitblackdiamond.ca to learn more about local events or stop by the local Visitor Information Centre. Open during the summer months only, you’ll find it in Turner Valley between the Flare ‘N Derrick and Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool. Here the staff would be happy to answer any questions, in person.
Turner Valley’s Discovery Days & Black Diamond Parade
Canada Day Celebrations
Marv’s 11th Annual Rock & Roll Classic Show N Shine
Diamond Valley Christmas Market and Light-Up