City of Calgary

National Trust Conference 2015

national trust conference ad

Calgary, Alberta – Fairmont Palliser Hotel, October 22 – 24, 2015

In association with the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals
and in collaboration with the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation 

Be part of Canada’s largest heritage conservation learning and networking event.

The annual National Trust Conference is Canada’s largest event for professionals, practitioners, academics, and volunteers engaged in regenerating and saving our heritage places. This is your opportunity to meet and be inspired by the 400-plus participants from across Canada.

Heritage is an energy producer that infuses Canadian communities with cultural and economic vitality, sparks new investment, and ensures their long-term sustainability. The 2015 National Trust Conference will explore how heritage energy can turn places around, empower people, and create opportunities.

This year, we are pleased to announce the broadest range of workshops we’ve ever mounted: from fundraising and organizational governance, to brick masonry conservation, heritage real estate development, and the digital documentation of heritage buildings. We’ve also assembled a slate of inspiring keynote speakers that will introduce you to cutting-edge heritage from around Alberta and the globe: from heritage thinkers and developers to internationally acclaimed fiction writers.

Indigenous cultural heritage will have a strong presence throughout the conference, particularly at the ground-breaking pre-conference event, MOH-KINS-TSIS │ Calgary Indigenous Heritage Roundtable. Calgary has a rich Indigenous heritage with many places of sacred and cultural significance – from Nose Hill to Paskapoo Slopes. And yet, these important places are rarely protected by provincial legislation or recognized by municipal bylaws and polices. MOH-KINS-TSIS │Calgary Indigenous Heritage Roundtable aims to open a dialogue and to find solutions to this gap in knowledge and protection.

The Historic Resources Management Branch of Alberta Culture and Tourism is responsible for managing impacts to historic resources in the province, including archaeological sites, fossil localities, heritage buildings, and historic places of cultural significance to Indigenous communities.  In addition to ensuring the careful management of Alberta’s embodied heritage, the branch also engages in a number of outreach activities to promote greater appreciation for the remarkable depth and richness of the province’s past and will be participating in the National Trust Conference. Speakers in the session will explore a range of topics, including: how the branch’s regulatory processes uncovered the Quarry of the Ancestors, a remarkable archaeological site that illuminates one of the most intensive ancient uses of the boreal forest yet identified in Canada; how the visual arts can be used to create compelling and dynamic evocations of Alberta’s history; and how the branch engages with Indigenous communities to record and preserve historic places of cultural significance.

For more information about the conference, visit

The National Trust for Canada is a national charity created in 1973 that inspires and leads action to save historic places, and promotes the care and wise use of our historic environment.

Labour Day Weekend at Alberta’s Historic Sites, Interpretive Centres and Museums

If you’re looking for some family fun this Labour Day weekend, consider visiting one of Alberta’s Provincial Historic Sites, Interpretive Centres or Museums. There is a lot of great programming that offers something for everyone – from strolling through gardens and learning about 1920s fashion, to carriage rides, guided hikes and tours, and getting your hands dirty and bellies full at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum Harvest Festival! Many of our sites, centres and museums are open year round but several others will be closing for the season after Labour Day. Don’t miss your opportunity to visit these sites before they close for the year!

In Southern Alberta, the Brooks Aqueduct and Leitch Collieries (more…)

New Uses for Old Places – King Edward School, Calgary

New Uses for Old Places is a RETROactive series in which we are looking at examples from around Alberta of historic sites that have found interesting new uses for spaces that were originally designed for other purposes. In this last installment we will be looking at King Edward School in the neighbourhood of South Calgary as an example of adaptive reuse project underway to repurpose the building as a mixed-use arts incubator (a place that nurtures the growth and development of artists and arts organizations).

King Edward SchoolThe King Edward School was constructed in 1912 as a four-storey building that features a symmetrical design, rock-faced sandstone walls and a dressed sandstone front entrance. During its time as an institution of learning, the School also functioned as a community hub, hosting dances and other events. The school operated as versions of both King Edward Elementary/Junior High School and South Calgary High School. The school closed in 2001 and sat empty…until now.

In 2011, cSPACE Projects was established by the Calgary Arts Development Authority and the Calgary Foundation for the purpose of promoting opportunities for artist and non-profit arts/community groups. cSPACE became the new owners of the property and is now embarking on an ambitious rehabilitation effort.

The project involved the removal of a 1960s addition that was deemed to be non-character-defining to the historic value of the place as well as the construction of a new addition and two adjacent art studio pavilions. Modelled around the concept of providing a ‘creative commons’, ‘learning commons’ and ‘community commons’, the finished product will include facilities for artistic production, exhibition and rehearsal and will serve as home to a range of arts organizations and independent artists.

To learn more about this project, watch this video:

As part of the project the owner and the City of Calgary have entered into an agreement to ensure that the King Edward School will be designated a Municipal Historic Resource.

(A related example is that of the Hudson’s Bay Company Stables / Ortona Armoury in Edmonton’s Rossdale Neighbourhood that is operated by the Ortona Armoury Tenants Association, a group established to coordinate the involvement of the wide range of artists and related groups currently utilizing the space. The property was designated as a municipal historic resource in 2004.)

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer.

Stephen Avenue – One of Alberta’s Unique Cultural Landscapes

Stephen Avenue - where the historic meets modern.

Stephen Avenue – where the historic meets modern.

Back at our Place Matters! Municipal Heritage Forum in November 2012, we heard a dynamic presentation from City of Calgary Senior Heritage Planner, Darryl Cariou, about Stephen Avenue. He described – with his usual wit – the history of the Avenue from its early days through the various “pedestrian mall” concepts popular from the 1960s through the 90s. One of the most compelling aspects of the presentation was the juxtaposition of images and photographs of the Avenue over the decades.

Stephen Avenue Walking Tour (Municipal Heritage Forum 2012)

Stephen Avenue Walking Tour (Municipal Heritage Forum 2012)

Here is a link to Darryl’s image-rich presentation of Stephen Avenue.

Numerous Provincial and Municipal Historic Resources line Stephen Avenue. What some of you may not know is that this historic district is actually a National Historic Site of Canada, commemorated as such by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 2001. The Parks Canada website describes the importance of Stephen Avenue as:

Calgary’s Stephen Avenue provides a direct link to the unique circumstances that shaped the character of urban development on the Canadian Prairies between the 1880s and 1930.

The typical prairie city was a distinct entity from the beginning: built according to a gridiron plan oriented to the convenience of the railway and its station, with a spatial organization that placed retail and financial businesses close to the station, industry on the outskirts of the core, and residential areas in outlying suburbs that were serviced by streetcar systems. The combination of rapid growth, gridiron plan and distinct commercial, industrial and residential zones distinguished western cities from their older eastern counterparts.

During Calgary’s “sandstone era,” entrepreneurs converged on Stephen Avenue, building rows of commercial blocks in brick and stone that reflected the dramatic growth in the retail sector of the Canadian economy at that time. This street became the hub of Calgary’s retail district, strategically situated near the station and rail yards, and at the convergence point for streetcar lines leading to the city’s outskirts.

The remarkable thing about Stephen Avenue is that it continues to perform its original function as Calgary’s main street, despite the dramatic changes that have transformed retailing and urban cores across the country. Today, the rows of two to six storey commercial buildings that line both sides of the street continue to house a broad range of retail services, while their designs reflect the architectural revival styles of a bygone era, in sharp contrast to the office towers that now encircle the area.

Saved from redevelopment through the efforts of far-sighted Calgarians in the 1970s, the buildings along Stephen Avenue serve as reminders of the central role that retail streets have played, and continue to play, in sustaining the vitality of Canada’s cities.

Whether you stroll Stephen Avenue this summer as a tourist, rush along the street during your lunch break or dine in one of the many restaurants along the Avenue, perhaps the next time you experience Stephen Avenue you will take a moment to breath in the history and heritage of this significant cultural landscape!

Written by: Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services

Century Homes Calgary wins Governor General’s Award

Century Homes Calgary logoAt the Place Matters! Municipal Heritage Forum back in November 2012, we heard about a highly successful community program called “Century Homes Calgary.” This initiative engaged hundreds of Calgarians in showcasing the unique heritage of their 100-year old homes, with over 500 homes participating.

In June 2012, the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation awarded a Heritage Awareness Grant for this creative initiative.

Recently, the Century Homes Calgary project, and its parent organization the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, received recognition as the 2012 English winner of the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Community Programming.

A house participating in Century Homes Calgary

A house participating in Century Homes Calgary

Here are the two presentations made at the Forum about the Century Homes Calgary project:

The group’s presentation at our Forum generated a lot of interest from other communities to learn how they could develop similar events.

Congratulations on your award and thank you for being an inspiration!

Written by: Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services

The Big Four (Part 2 of 3)

The Big Four with HRH Edward, Prince of Wales at the EP Ranch, 1923
LtoR: Pat Burns; George Lane; Edward, The Prince of Wales; Archie McLean; and A. E. Cross.
(Provincial Archives of Alberta, A2658)

During the Centennial year of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, we are posting a short series about the Big Four and the geographical features named for them. The Big Four were the ranchers and businessmen that funded Guy Weadick’s 1912 wild west show and rodeo, which grew to become today’s Calgary Stampede. Part one of our series was posted on July 10, 2012 and featured Stavely area rancher George Lane and Lane Creek.  Today’s post will feature Nanton area rancher and Calgary brewer A. E. Cross and Cross Creek.

A. E. Cross: Rancher, Politician, Oilman and Brewer 

Alfred Ernest Cross was influential in many aspects of Alberta’s economy. Cross was born in 1861 at Montreal. He trained as a veterinarian and came to the North West Territories in 1884 where he was employed as a veterinarian at the Cochrane Ranche (now a Provincial Historic Resource). He left the Cochrane about a year later and started his own operation, the A7 Ranche, on Mosquito Creek, just west of Nanton. For health reasons, Cross returned to Montreal for a time. During this period, he maintained control of the A7, but he also apprenticed as a brewer. He returned to Calgary in 1891 and founded the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company and established a chain of brewery-owned hotels across Western Canada. He was active professionally and socially in the Calgary region, being a founding member of the Ranchmen’s Club, the Calgary Board of Trade and the Western Stock Growers Association. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the North West Territories in 1898, representing East Calgary. Cross contributed to numerous charitable causes and was a noted philanthropist in southern Alberta. He was also instrumental in establishing Alberta’s oil and gas industry; in 1912, he was a founding partner of Calgary Petroleum Products, which would discover gas at Turner Valley a few years later. Despite all of these accomplishments, Cross’ lasting legacy is in the ranching sector. By 1919, the A7 Ranche had grown to control over 25,000 acres and was one of the largest ranches, possibly even the largest, in Alberta. A. E. Cross died in 1932. The A. E. Cross House in Calgary is a designated Provincial Historic Resource. As of 2012, the A7 Ranch continues to be operated by the Cross family.

Cross Creek, a tributary of Mosquito Creek, is named for A. E. Cross. The creek flows generally north and enters Mosquito Creek in Section 15, of Township 16-1-W5, about 20 km west of the Town of Nanton. The creek flows through land that was owned and operated by A. E. Cross.

Historical recordings of Cross Creek are difficult to trace. Although a number of surveyors with the Dominion Land Survey (DLS) record the presence of a small spring fed creek in the general vicinity of Cross Creek, the creek does not appear on the DLS plans for Township 16-1-W5. However, on the plan for Township 15-1-W5, there is a feature noted as “Willow Creek” that corresponds partly to today’s Cross Creek. The name “Willow Creek” was likely abandoned in order to avoid confusion with the more substantial Willow Creek a short distance to the south.

In July 1938, a series of memos were sent between various officials and representatives of the Geographic Board of Canada (GBC) regarding the approval of names in the Stimson Creek region of southern Alberta. One of these memos concerned Cross Creek; F. P. DuVernet (a member of the federal topographical survey) suggested that the creek be named Cross Creek after “the well known family in the locality who owns or controls the land through which the creek flows.” The suggestion met the approval of the GBC, but concerns were expressed about getting the consent or opinion of the Government of Alberta. Alberta had not sent a representative to the GBC for most of the 1930s. The records of the Alberta Geographical Names Program do not include any communication with provincial officials in the 1930s, so it is not clear whether Alberta’s opinion or consent was ultimately secured. However, the name Cross Creek was officially adopted at the December 12, 1939 meeting of the Geographical Board of Canada.

Written by: Ron Kelland, Historic Places Research Officer and Geographical Names Program Coordinator


National Topographic System Map Sheet: 82 J/08 – Stimson Creek


50° 15’ 50” N & 113° 59’ 30” W (approximate location of head waters) to

50° 20′ 36″ N & 114° 03′ 30″ W (at confluence with Mosquito Creek)

Alberta Township System:

NE ¼, Sec 13 Twp 15 Rge 30 W4 (approximate location of head waters) to

SS ¼, Sec 15 Twp 16 Rge 1 W5 (at confluence with Mosquito Creek)


Flows generally northerly for approximately 21 km (10 km straight line) until it joins Mosquito Creek about 20 km west of the Town of Nanton. 

Additional Resources

More information about A. E. Cross and the A7 Ranche can be found at:

“Alfred Ernest (A. E.) Cross”, Calgary Business Hall of Fame, , available from

“A. E. Cross: Rancher and Jolly Brewer 1961-1932,” Trailblazers, available from

“About the A7 Ranche: History of the Ranche,” A7 Ranche, available from

The Big Four (Part 1 of 3)

On the morning of July 6, 2012, the 100th Calgary Exhibition and Stampede roared into life. On the west side of Stampede Park, rising from the seething mass of carnival rides, concession stands and humanity that is the Stampede midway is the Big Four Building. This building is named for the Big Four – the four Southern Alberta ranchers and businessmen who funded Guy Weadick’s proposed rodeo and wild west show in 1912. Intended to be a one-time event, the show and rodeo grew to become the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. To say that the Big Four influenced Calgary’s popular culture would be a great understatement.

The Big Four with HRH Edward, Prince of Wales at the EP Ranch, 1923
LtoR: Pat Burns; George Lane; Edward, The Prince of Wales; Archie McLean; and A. E. Cross.
(Provincial Archives of Alberta, A2658)

However, the legacy of the Big Four extends beyond the boundaries of Stampede Park. They left their mark not only in Calgary, but on the geography of the Province of Alberta.  Today’s blog post is the first in a short series that will look at the Big Four – George Lane, A. E. Cross, Archie McLean and Pat Burns – and the places named for them.

George Lane: An American in Calgary 

George Lane was born in 1856 just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. From there his life story reads like an adventure novel. As a teenager he and his father searched for gold in the Montana Territory. He then worked as a scout for the United States Army and as a ranch hand before coming to Canada in 1884 as a foreman at the Bar U Ranch (now a National Historic Site). He left the Bar U three years later and set himself up as a cattle trader, often working in partnership with the Winnipeg-based cattle company Gordon, Ironside & Fares. Lane acquired a number of ranches in the Porcupine Hills region of southwest Alberta, including the Flying E Ranch (previously named the Victor Ranch), the YT Ranch and the Willow Creek Ranch; in 1902, Lane and his partners acquired the Bar U Ranch. Lane became known as one of the most successful cattle traders in Western Canada and at one point was raising nearly 20,000 head of cattle on these ranches and adjacent leased crown lands.

Unlike many of Alberta’s ranchers, who saw the arrival of homesteaders as a threat to their way of life, George Lane saw the shifting agricultural frontier as an opportunity. He experimented with irrigation and raised herds of draft horses for sale to the west’s new farmers. Most notably, he switched large parts of his land holdings from cattle range to grain farms, becoming, by 1915, one of Alberta’s two top grain producers.

Lane served a short stint as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, elected as a Liberal in 1913, but quickly resigning to make his seat available for a defeated cabinet minister. In 1919, Lane entertained Edward, Prince of Wales at the Bar U. The Prince was so taken with the region and the lifestyle that he soon purchased a neighbouring ranch, which became the E P Ranch (now a Provincial Historic Resource). In his later years, George Lane continued to promote settlement and investment in Alberta and occupied himself raising his prize winning Percheron horses. George Lane died at the Bar U Ranch on September 24, 1925.

Lane Creek, a tributary of Willow Creek, is named for George Lane. The creek flows southerly and enters Willow Creek in Section 6, of Township 14-29-W4, about 23 km west of the Town of Stavely.

In 1883, John Francis of the Dominion Land Survey, surveyed the Township 14-30-W4. In Sections 13, 24 and 25 he recorded a spring fed creek that was approximately six feet wide and contained about eight inches of water. Francis did not name the creek. The first official recording of the name Lane Creek appears to be on the 1902 edition of the Macleod Sectional Sheet (No. 74), printed by the Government of Canada. The creek flowed through a substantial part of the land controlled by George Lane. The section where Lane Creek joins Willow Creek was co-owned by Lane and his partners Gordon, Ironside & Fares.

Although in use for over half a century, the name Lane Creek was not officially recognized as the name for that stream until May 1957.

Written by: Ron Kelland, Historic Places Research Officer and Geographical Names Program Coordinator


National Topographic System Map Sheet: 82 I/04 – Claresholm


50° 14’ 22” N & 113° 58’ 52” W (approximate location of head waters) to

50° 08′ 28″ N & 113° 57′ 04″ W (at confluence with Willow Creek)

Alberta Township System:

SW ¼, Sec 7 Twp 15 Rge 29 W4 (approximate location of head waters) to

SW ¼, Sec 6 Twp 14 Rge 29 W4 (at confluence with Willow Creek)


Flows generally southerly from the for approximately 20 km (11 km straight line) until it joins Willow Creek about 22 km west of the Town of Stavely. 

Additional Resources 

More information about George Lane and his partnership with Gordon, Ironsides & Fares can be found in:

Evans, Simon M. “Lane, George,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, edited by John English and Réal Bélanger, Vol. XV, available from

McCullough, A. B., “Winnipeg Ranchers: Gordon, Ironside and Fares,” Manitoba History, No. 41 (Spring/Summer 2001), accessed 9 July 2012, available from

The Butte Stands Guard: Stavely & District, Volume 1 (Stavely, AB: Stavely Historical Book Society, 1976), pages 14-20, 231-234.