We’re taught that history repeats itself. If that old adage is true, then knowing your past is just as, if not more, important than planning your future.
After celebrating a number of centennials this year, including the Calgary Stampede, City of Calgary Recreation, Theatre Junction Grand, and Calgary Public Library, there is a definite sense of pride in our City’s unique history and culture.
Historic Calgary Week, which runs from July 27-August 6, is the perfect time to give pause and reflect on where Calgary has come from, where we are today, and where we’re going in the future.
It’s also a great opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge of others, including Calgary’s first Historian Laureate, Harry Sanders, at various events all over the city.
The Barron Building (formerly the home of the Uptown Theatre) was recently named one of the Heritage Canada Foundation’s Top 10 Endangered Places, so it’s refreshing to see that just a few blocks down the same street on Stephen Avenue Walk the old Bank of Montreal Building is undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration to bring it back to it’s former glory.
Fortunately Stephen Avenue was deemed a National Historic Site of Canada in 2001 and is described on the Parks Canada website as, “a superb illustration of the central role that retail streets have played and continue to play in the Canadian urban experience.”
“National historic sites are places of profound importance to Canada. They bear witness to this nation’s defining moments and illustrate its human creativity and cultural traditions. Each national historic site tells its own unique story, part of the greater story of Canada, contributing a sense of time, identity, and place to our understanding of Canada as a whole.”
It’s nice to see that even as the face of our city changes at a rapid pace, we still live in a place that appreciates and celebrates the traditions of days gone by.
During the 1923 Calgary Stampede, Jack Morton, a chuckwagon driver, camped out by the CPR station downtown. One morning a number of cowboys were at Jack’s enjoying breakfast in front of passersby. They too were invited to join the group and so began one of Calgary’s most famous traditions.
Maybe things haven’t changed so much afterall.
If you’re interested in local history check out these great resources:
Some downtown events taking place:
- Chinatown Walking Tour
- Bridges of Calgary
- Standing On The Corner: Central United Church
- Calgary’s Hotel Scene ca. 1912 – The Survivors & the Lost
- What’s Under Calgary
Calgary Heritage Authority
Calgary Heritage Initiative Society
Century Homes Calgary
Chinook Country Historical Society
Historical Society of Alberta
Alberta Family Histories Society
Southern Alberta Pioneers and Their Descendants
Parks Canada – National Historic Sites of Canada
“History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.” – Dexter Perkins