There have been many milestones in Calgary's history. Here are a few of the highlights!
No permanent settlement existed in the Calgary area, but from as long ago as 10,000 years,
First Nations peoples camped here seasonally, hunting in the river valley and finding winter shelter.
1752 French explorers stayed near the confluence of the Bow and Elbow, and were the first Europeans
to visit the area.
1787 Cartographer David Thompson, accompanied by a group of Peigan, spent the winter camped
along the Bow River and became the first recorded European to visit the area.
1873 John and Adelaide Glenn were the first Europeans to settle in the area, building a house
in what is today Fish Creek Park.
1875 The North-West Mounted Police established Fort Calgary, with seventy-five men stationed
here. I.G. Baker Company and Hudson’s Bay Company set up stores.
1876 A Roman Catholic mission was founded south of the fort, in present-day Mission district.
1877 Treaty Seven was signed at Blackfoot Crossing with First Nations peoples in the area,
creating conditions for non-native settlement to take place.
1879 In November, the first marriage in Calgary united George Clift King and Louise Monroe.
1880 Fort Calgary was reduced to only four policemen after the disappearance of the whiskey trade
and buffalo robe industry. The Hudson’s Bay Company considered abandoning its Calgary post
1881 The Canadian Pacific Railway surprised many by choosing the Bow River corridor and Kicking
Horse Pass for its transcontinental route through the Rocky Mountains, putting Calgary, rather
than Edmonton or Fort Macleod, on the Pacific line. Population of Calgary: 75.
1882 Railway construction brought not only construction crews but traders, gamblers, prostitutes
and fortune seekers to the area, and plans to rebuild Fort Calgary for a permanent police division
1883 The first Canadian Pacific Railway train arrived on August 10, linking Calgary with
eastern centres. A post office was established and the Calgary Herald began publishing.
Cochrane Ranche was established west of Calgary, heralding the emergence of ranching as the
dominant regional industry.
The city’s first Presbyterian service was conducted in June at I.G. Baker and Company store.
1884 Calgary, now with a population of 400, was incorporated as a town and awarded representation
on the Northwest Territories council. The first mayor of the Town of Calgary was George Murdoch,
elected in December.
Twelve students attended Calgary’s first school.
1885 Protestant School District #19 (predecessor to the Calgary Board of Education) was established.
The first Protestant cemetery was established on Dominion land at Shaganappi Point, today’s Shaganappi
Golf Course. (Owing to rocky soil, this location was abandoned within seven years and replaced by Union Cemetery.)
The first recorded fire in January had settlers throwing snowballs at the flames.
1886 The first train from Montreal to the Pacific coast passed through Calgary with Sir John and
Lady Macdonald as passengers. (City of Calgary Municipal manual, 1925.) The Bank of Montreal
opened its first Calgary branch on October 25. The town council voted to build a fire hall
on the same day (November 7) that a great fire swept through the city, destroying fourteen buildings.
1887 Calgary Electric Lighting Company began supplying electric power.
The first fire hall opened at 122 McIntyre (now 7th) Avenue.
1888 The See of Calgary was formed, with Bishop Pinkham becoming the Bishop of Saskatchewan and Calgary.
1889 The Calgary Water Power Company was granted a contract for street lighting.
The first St. Mary’s Cathedral was built.
1890 Sod was turned on the Calgary-and-Edmonton Railway.
The Cottage Hospital, Calgary’s first, opened.
34-year old Patrick Burns opened his first slaughter house in the city.
1891 The Calgary-and-Edmonton branch of the CPR began operation.
The first Catholic Hospital was opened in January by four Grey nuns from Montreal.
The population of Calgary reached 3,876.
1892 The Chinese community was blamed for an outbreak of smallpox, and a small race riot ensued.
1893 Hull’s Opera House (a 19th century analogue to the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts) opened.
1894 Calgary, with a population of 3900, was incorporated as a city.
Wesley Fletcher Orr was elected as the first mayor of the City of Calgary.
The South Ward School (renamed Haultain in 1910) opened in September, the first school
in the city built of sandstone, and the first with electricity and running water.
Liberal opposition Leader Wilfred Laurier visited Calgary in September.
1895 The original Calgary General Hospital was completed.
1897 Pioneer missionary Father Albert Lacombe became priest of the Calgary parish on July 5.
Father Joseph Lestanc had served at the mission before him.
A bridge over the Elbow River was constructed for a cost of $1,248.00
Mayor Orr offered lots near the Elbow River as compensation to those who saw their lots
washed away by flooding in June.
1898 The Governor-General visited Calgary. (City of Calgary Municipal manual, 1925.
Dog pound is established.
1900 The City purchased the Calgary Gas and Water Works Company.
1901 Annexation brought Victoria Park (now Stampede Park) within city limits.
The population of Calgary was 4,398. (Calgary, an Illustrated History, by Max Foran, 1978.
Receptions were held for those returning from the Boer War.
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visited Calgary.
1902 On July 4, the Bow River reached flood levels, forcing the evacuation of several homes and
rescues by boat.
1903 The city’s first high school, “Sleepy Hollow,” began with 79 students transferred from
the Central school.
1904 The first Methodist church opened.
Named streets in downtown Calgary were changed to numbered streets.
The King Edward Hotel was built.
1905 The province of Alberta was created from the Northwest Territories, but Calgary lost to
Edmonton in its bid to become the provincial capital.
1906 The Calgary Normal School, a teacher training college, began classes. This humble
institution became the nucleus of the future University of Calgary.
Deane house was built on the site of Fort Calgary.
The first Calgary Herald Road Race was held.
Lot prices in the city jumped from $25 the year before to $200 to $400 this year, in a
real estate boom.
1907 Calgary annexed Rouleauville (now Mission district), a Roman Catholic settlement south of town.
On June 10, the first carrier letter service began in the city.
1908 The provincial government located the University of Alberta in Strathcona (now part of
Edmonton) instead of Calgary.
St George’s Island Bridge was built.
Dominion Exhibition, “Western Canada’s Greatest Fair,” opened in Calgary.
The Calgary Brewing and Malting Company became the first business in the city to use natural gas.
Andrew Carnegie donated $50,000to establish a public library.
1909 The Calgary Electric Street Car Railway began operating in a community of 30,000 with 16
miles of track and 12 electric street cars.
1910 A growing Calgary annexed territory surrounding it on all sides, including its
northern neighbor, the Village of Crescent Heights.
Mount Royal College founded.
1911 Calgary’s population, at over 43,000, had increased tenfold in the decade since 1901.
City Hall was opened by R.L. Borden, federal Conservative opposition leader, on June 26.
The House of Jacob, the city’s first permanent synagogue, was built.
1912 Calgary’s prosperity allowed for many improvements: the first public library in the
city (and the province,) funded in part by the Carnegie Foundation, opened its doors.
It housed a museum operated by the Calgary Natural History Society (the museum closed its doors
in 1926.) Calgary College, a privately-endowed university, began classes at the Carnegie library.
(The provincial government refused to grant degree-conferring power, and the college closed in 1915.)
Four wealthy ranchers, known as the “Big Four,” financed Guy Weadick’s vision as a one-time
event, and the Calgary Stampede was born as the “Frontier Days Celebration”.
The Cecil hotel was built.
1913 Thomas Mawson, town planner, was commissioned to develop a preliminary scheme for
the future growth of Calgary. Mawson’s report envisioned Calgary as a “Paris on the Prairies,”
but his elaborate scheme was never fully implemented. Economic downturn and plummeting
real estate prices signaled the end of Calgary’s first great boom.
1914 On May 14, gas and naphtha flowed from Dingman No. 1 Well in nearby Turner Valley,
would later become the centre of Alberta’s oil industry.
The First Grand Trunk passenger train arrived in Calgary.
The Palliser Hotel opened in June, eleven months behind schedule and three years after work
began at the site.
William Jasper Collins was the last man hanged in Calgary; he had murdered lawyer
John Benson. The medical officer presiding over the hanging was a future mayor,
Michael Costello, and it was botched, resulting in public outcry.
World War I began; Calgary mobilizes 4500 for the Empire’s defense.
1915 The Prohibition Liquor Act carried in Calgary.
First municipal golf course opened at Shaganappi Park.
Mission Bridge opened.
1916 The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now Southern Alberta Institute of Technology)
Centre Street Bridge, featuring four concrete lions, joined North Hill to the rest of Calgary.
1917 Annie Gale, feminist and socialist, was elected Alderman, the first woman in the
British Empire elected to serve on a municipal council.
1918 World War I ends.
The worldwide Spanish Influenza epidemic led to the banning of public meetings in Calgary
and mandatory face masks in public.
The Armouries building was completed.
The first “cash-and-carry” grocery store was opened in Calgary by Henry Jenkins.
1919 The Calgary Stampede was revived as a one-time “Victory Stampede”.
Edward, the Prince of Wales, visited Calgary and purchased the nearby E.P. Ranch.
The airplane was used in Calgary for commercial purposes for the first time.
1920 Victoria Park residents unsuccessfully petitioned City Council to remove “blacks” and
make the area a whites-only district.
1921 The first parking ticket was issued.
Calgary became the birthplace of the United Farmers of Alberta.
1922 The first tree was planted on Memorial Drive by the mayor.
The new Junior Red Cross Hospital--now known as the Alberta Children’s Hospital--officially opened.
CFAC radio went on-air.
The first mall, “The Arcade”, opened on 8th Avenue between 1st and Centre Streets in November.
1923 The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede became an annual event.
A plebiscite gave approval to two-year terms for the Mayor.
Alberta produced the largest amount of wheat in its history, approximately 157 million
bushels, and the Alberta Wheat Pool was formed with its head office in Calgary.
On November 5th, the province ended prohibition. In the preceding referendum, Calgarians
had voted with most other Albertans for the return of a “wet” province.
1924 The Calgary Tigers hockey club lost in the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Montreal Canadiens.
Dominion Day was celebrated for the first time.
1925 The cost of a chimney sweep for a two-storey house or building: was $1.50
1926 Rancher R.G. Robinson was the first in his district to sell his livestock in England.
The population of Calgary reached 65, 513.
1927 The Prince of Wales, Prince George, the Premier, and Mrs. Stanley Baldwin of
Great Britain visited Calgary.
School principal William Aberhart built a bible college in downtown Calgary: the
Prophetic Bible Institute.
1928 The Calgary Public Museum opened its doors. Funded by the city, the provincial
government, and public subscriptions, this museum (heir to the defunct Calgary Natural
History Society) operated until 1935, when funding evaporated. The collection was dispersed.
City police reported an increase in the crime of young people taking automobiles for joy-rides.
1929 The Great Depression began, and many Calgarians joined the ranks of the unemployed.
The Calgary Zoological Society was established.
The first escalator (featuring wooden treads) appeared in Calgary as Lady Eaton officially
opened the T. Eaton Co. store at 8 Ave and 4 St.
Calgary’s first patrol car is put onto city streets.
1930 Construction began on the Glenmore Dam, a reservoir and water treatment plant,
as a municipal employment relief project. This 2 ½-year endeavor employed 1000 Calgarians.
Local lawyer R.B. Bennett became prime minister of Canada.
Country music legend Wilf Carter made his radio debut in Calgary.
The York Hotel was built.
1931 The Calgary Public Building, a federal government relief project, was completed as
A subway (underpass) was proposed for 5th Street.
1932 Calgary became the birthplace of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF).
Gasoline-fueled buses were introduced to serve areas that did not have street car service.
The Bank of Montreal building at 8th Ave and 1st street opened to customers.
1933 The Glenmore dam, reservoir and treatment plant opened.
Fire chief Cappy Smart retired, along with the last team of fire horses.
1934 Relief payments went to over 10,000 Calgarians – 12 percent of the city’s population –
according to a Board of Trade estimate.
1935 For the first time, City Aldermen earned a salary for their duties.
Calgary became the birthplace of the Social Credit Party.
1936 Crude oil was discovered at nearby Turner Valley, renewing Calgary’s status as
Canada’s oil capital.
Tivoli Theatre opened its doors on October 7th, playing “Rose Marie.” It was the first
building in Calgary to incorporate glass bricks in its construction.
1937 The new Calgary Barracks were named “Currie Barracks” in honour of Sir Arthur Currie.
1938 Standard Oil of California opened a permanent office in Calgary.
A Herald reporter investigated rumours of Communist meetings at the Calgary Public Library.
Return fare from Calgary to Edmonton by Greyhound bus cost $5.85
Wilf Carter sang of the excitement of the Stampede in “Calgary Roundup".
1939 Calgary Municipal Airport opened (it would be replaced by McCall Field).
World War II began, and Calgary became headquarters of the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan at the Technology Institute campus.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited.
1940 Racial tensions led white soldiers to near-riot in Calgary’s “Harlemtown” near the
railway tracks east of downtown. Military police ended the ugly incident.
The first municipal swimming pool opened in Mewata.
1941 The population of Calgary hit 94,000.
There were 66.15 miles of paved streets in Calgary.
1942 Some foods were rationed in the city.
Ralph Klein was born, November 1.
1943 The Colonel Belcher hospital opened.
1944 On June 6, 15,000 Calgarians assembled at 1st St West and 7th Avenue for D-Day prayers.
1945 Calgary Normal School became a branch of the University of Alberta Faculty of Education.
As more faculties established Calgary branches, the city acquired the nucleus of the future
University of Calgary.
1946 Calgary Stampeders Hockey Club won the Allan Cup.
The price of milk rose to 12 cents a quart.
The Calgary Municipal Railway was renamed the Calgary Transit System.
1947 Oil was discovered at Leduc, reviving the oil industry and cementing Calgary’s
position as the industry’s administrative headquarters.
1948 The city’s population exceeded 100,000.
The first parking meters were installed.
The Calgary Stampeders football club won the Grey Cup.
After two months of travel, 170 war brides from Britain arrived in Calgary.
1949 Eleanor Roosevelt visited Calgary.
Taxi meters came into operation in Calgary.
Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent visited for the first time.
1950 The Calgary Transit System, successor to the Calgary Municipal Railway, completed its
conversion to trolley buses, and retired its last streetcar.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited.
The Stampeder Hockey Club won the Western Championship, and the Calgary Exhibition and
Stampede opened at the Corral Arena.
The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, left for Korea.
1951 A Calgary branch of the University of Alberta opened.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Calgary.
1952 The Red Cross Crippled Children’s Hospital opened.
1953 The new Calgary General Hospital opened.
Bread prices increased to 16 cents a loaf.
Governor General Vincent Massey visited the city.
1954 Television service began in Calgary.
The Glenbow Foundation was established by Eric Harvie.
One-way traffic was implemented on some downtown streets.
1955 Construction began on the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.
Council set aside land around the Glenmore Reservoir for a park.
1956 Calgary’s first parking structure, the Hudson’s Bay Parkade, opened.
John L. Laurie was named Calgary Citizen of the Year.
Calgary’s ‘weatherizer’ atop the Herald Building glowed for the first time.
1957 The population of the city reached 192,577.
The Alberta government announced a $20.00 oil dividend.
The Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium opened in April.
1958 The Population exceeded 200,000.
Sod was turned for the present university campus, which was completed in 1960.
The Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA) was established, but its bids for the 1964
and 1968 Olympic winter Games failed.
Prime Minister John Diefenbaker visited in March.
1959 Governor General Georges Vanier visited as did Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Calgary adopted the plebiscite system for voting.
1960 McMahon Stadium was completed.
Construction of the Foothills Hospital began.
1961 A new post office opened on May 8.
1962 The number of trolley buses in Calgary this year was 105, and the miles of
paved street: 490.16
1963 The Central Library on Macleod Trail officially opened on June 15.
1964 Calgary annexed three satellite towns: Forest Lawn (incorporated in 1934, with a
population of 10,000), Montgomery (incorporated in 1958, with a population 5,000), and
Bowness (incorporated in 1948).
1964 Heritage Park, a living-history village, opened.
Elveden Centre, Calgary’s first “skyscraper,” opened on 7th Ave SW.
1965 The Moyie, a 172-passenger, half-size replica of the S.S. Moyie which ran on the Kootenay
Lakes, was officially launched at Heritage Park.
1966 The University of Alberta at Calgary became the autonomous University of Calgary.
The Foothills Hospital opened.
1967 A $21 million urban renewal scheme for downtown was unveiled. In the next decade,
scores of historic buildings were razed to make way for major projects such as the school board
complexes, Glenbow Museum and Calgary Convention Centre, as well as bank and oil company towers.
Husky Tower and Palliser Square (now Calgary Tower and Tower Centre) were completed on the site of
the old CPR station.
The Centennial Planetarium (now Telus World of Science) was built at Mewata Park to commemorate
Canada’s 100th birthday.
1968 Husky Tower (now Calgary Tower) opened.
Postal workers staged a 22-day strike.
Pierre Trudeau became our 15th prime minister.
1969 The Calgary Catholic Schools began the city’s first bilingual program.
The Glenbow Foundation opened an art gallery.
FLQ terrorists bombed the Montreal Stock Exchange.
1970 Construction began on Mount Royal College’s new campus.
The federal voting age was lowered to 18 from 21.
1971 The Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup, 23 years after their last win.
The Deerfoot Trail from the city limits to 16 Avenue NE was opened.
A passenger plane flying out of Calgary was hijacked in November.
The population of the city was 403, 319.
The first e- mail is sent.
The Banff Festival of the Arts kicks off.
1972 Langevin Bridge opened.
Mount Royal College opened its new campus in Lincoln Park.
1973 The first class of medical students graduated from the University of Calgary.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip attended the opening of the Stampede to celebrate the
100th anniversary of the RCMP.
The city’s economy boomed due to the Arab Oil Embargo.
Construction of a new $14-million grandstand began at Stampede Park.
1974 The provincial government acquired land to create Fish Creek Park.
The Calgary Convention Centre was officially opened by former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker
on November 15.
8th Avenue Mall was extended to First Street East.
Southcentre mall opened.
1975 An extension to the Deerfoot Trail, from TransCanada Highway to 17 Ave SE, was opened.
On May 8, the last trolley buses ran.
Calgary hosted the Grey Cup for the first time.
The city celebrated its 100th birthday with a re-enactment of the arrival of the North West
Mounted Police at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.
Fort Calgary Historic Park was planned to mark the centennial of the founding of Calgary.
The Devonian Group gave Century Gardens to the city.
1976 Scotia Centre, at the time the tallest and largest retail and office building in the
Premier Peter Lougheed officially opened the Glenbow-Alberta Institute (now the Glenbow
Museum), September 22.
1977 Prince Charles officiated at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.
1978 Our population exceeded 500,000.
City Hall was designated as a historical landmark.
Fort Calgary, which had been rehabilitated as a centennial project, and the Fort Calgary
Interpretive Centre were officially opened.
1979 Gulf Canada Square opened. At the time it was the most energy efficient
building in the world.
1980 Ralph Klein was elected mayor of Calgary.
1981 A recession began.
The first leg of the LRT was completed on May 25 and the “C Train” went into service.
Calgary won the bid for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The Roundup Centre opened.
The Calgary Flames played their first season here.
1982 Calgary became the second largest city by area in Canada (508.3 sq.km).
Laurie Skreslet became the first Calgarian to climb Mount Everest.
1983 The Family and Village Square Leisure Centres opened with wave pools, the first
of their kind in Canada.
The Lindsay Park Sports Centre opened, as did the Olympic Saddledome.
1984 Calgary marked the centennial of its incorporation as a town.
1985 The Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts opened.
On April 8, the Calgary Herald became a morning paper.
The Northeast LRT opened on April 29.
The Calgary Municipal building opened.
1986 The Federal government eliminated the Petroleum and Gas Revenue Tax.
1987 The third leg of the C-Train system was completed in the northwest.
Olympic Plaza officially opened on July 31.
The Speed Skating Oval opened in September.
1988 Calgary hosted the world at the XV Olympic Winter Games, which opened on February 14.
101-year-old Joe Chase of Calgary became the oldest Canadian to have carried the Olympic Torch.
1989 In a “rematch” of the 1924 playoffs, the Calgary Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens and
won the Stanley Cup.
Al Duerr was elected mayor.
1990 The northwest leg of the LRT was extended to Brentwood Station, increasing the line to 6.6 km.
1991 After five plebiscites over 34 years, the city finally added fluoride to its water.
1992 The Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup.
Calgarian Ralph Klein was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative party and was
sworn in as premier.
The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre opened.
A severe hailstorm hit Calgary, resulting in an estimated $22 million in losses.
Calgary-raised Mark Tewksbury won a gold medal in the 100m backstroke at the Summer Olympics
1993 On January 4 City Council passed an anti-smoking bylaw that required all workplaces
to have a written smoking policy.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited in March.
Constable Richard Sonnenberg was killed while laying a spike belt to stop a hit and run driver.
Calgary hosted the Grey Cup.
1994 Calgary celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city.
The closure of the Calgary General Hospital was ordered by CRHA chairman Bud McCaig.
1995 Christine Silverberg was appointed Chief of Police of the Calgary Police Service,
making her the first woman to head a major Canadian police force.
Calgary got its first police helicopter in July.
1996 Socialite Dorothy Joudrie was found ``not criminally responsible'' for shooting her
estranged husband, Earl, six times in January 1995.
The city’s population reached 767,059.
WestJet canceled flight operations due to a Transport Canada issue involving
1997 Military units were moved from Canadian Forces Base Calgary to the superbase in Edmonton.
The World Police Fire Games were held in Calgary.
The award-winning Stoney Trail Bridge and Stoney Trail roadway opened.
1998 The Bow Valley Centre (General Hospital) was demolished through implosion.
The Calgary Fire department reverted to a “fire-engine-red” colour for its fire equipment.
The Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup, defeating the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
1999 The Hub Oil Refinery fire, one of the largest in Calgary’s history, resulted in a
loss of $6 million.
Construction began on Shaw Millenium Park.
2000 The Centre Street Bridge opened on September 23 after undergoing extensive
restoration. The bridge, a designated municipal historical resource, was restored to
original 1916 condition.
Shaw Millennium Park opened.
The World Petroleum Congress was held in Calgary.
2001 Dave Bronconnier became Calgary’s 35th mayor, following Al Duerr’s twelve years of service.
The south C-Train line was extended to Canyon Meadows (2.0 km) and to Fish Creek-Lacombe (1.4 km).
Calgary led the nation in population growth, the population jumping 26.2 % since 1992, to 904,987.
Housing starts were up 60% over the same period the year before, and 1,500 – 1,600 more cars
pulled onto Calgary streets every month.
2002 The northwest C-Train line was extended to Dalhousie (3.0 km).
BSE was found in a cow in Alberta, leading to closure of the international market to
Canadian beef livestock.
Calgary’s first International Fireworks Competition was held.
Calgary’s population soared to 951,395 and the city was the fifth largest in Canada.
The southwest C-Train line was extended to Shawnessy and Somerset/Bridlewood (3.0 km).
2004 The Calgary Flames went to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, losing 2-1 to the Tampa Bay
Lightning. During the run for the Cup, a portion of 17th Avenue SW, the street that saw jubilant fans
overtake the area, was renamed “The Red Mile.”
The Calgary Zoo marked its 75th anniversary (the incorporation of the Calgary Zoological Society
occurred in 1929.)
2005 Flooding of the Bow and Elbow rivers led to home evacuations and property damage in
many parts of the city. The damages are likely to exceed $400 million and make this the most
expensive natural disaster in Albertan history.
On Feb 26, 41,880 homes were listed for sale through the Calgary Real Estate Board,
a new record, The average new house price hit $308,838. Mar. 12, 2005.
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