The History of Calgary’s Edworthy Park

Edworthy Park - Photo by Aduro Photography

Edworthy Park – Photo by Aduro Photography

Each month our Member of Parliament for Calgary Signal Hill, Ron Liepert, sends in a newsletter to our community association.  This month they sent a brilliantly written history of one of our beloved Calgary parks.  I asked for permission to post this story on our blog because, not only is it a great read, but it also highlights the fact that the history of places is just as interesting and important as the history of a person.

Posted with permission from author, Patty Wickstrom, edited by Ron Liepert.


As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of confederation, it is important to reflect on our past. In the Calgary Signal Hill riding, there are several areas with historical significance that I intend to highlight in my monthly report to constituents.

Most of us drive by Edworthy Park on a regular basis while others walk the trails often with their trusted four legged friends. We all enjoy the views but few realize the history of the park.

The area was initially one of the nomadic settlements of the Plains Indians who followed the migration of buffalo. The variety of berries and wildlife, such as rabbits and deer, made it sustainable for life. The cliffs and ravines were considered ideal sites for buffalo jumps, from which the Indians used virtually every part of the buffalo for food, shelter, clothing and tools. Evidence remains of the stones from tipi circles on the escarpment and several buffalo bones were uncovered after heavy rains in 1940.

In the 1870’s European settlers began arriving. Among them was Thomas Edworthy, who at the age of 16 arrived in Calgary in 1883 from Devonshire, England. He became a squatter on part of the Cochrane Ranche lease. He used the land to establish a profitable garden market that supplied fresh fruit and vegetables to homesteaders and crews building the railway. There were abundant springs for Edworthy to use for irrigation but because the water was too cold, he built a reservoir out of sandstone to warm the water. The grass that had supported the buffalo was now used for cattle grazing so the Edworthy homestead was built as a ranch and market named Shaganappi Ranch.

In later years, after discovering sandstone on his property, he operated sandstone quarries for the construction of many buildings in Calgary. After a devastating fire destroyed several significant buildings, the city passed an ordinance requiring buildings to be built out of a more permanent material, which lead to Calgary being known as ‘Sandstone City’. Edworthy’s ‘Bow Bank Quarries’ supplied the sandstone for many of the buildings in Calgary that are still standing today such as Fire Hall #2, Central, Balmoral and Victoria Park Schools, and Knox United Church, just to name a few.

In 1894, Tom married Mary Ross, widow of Alexander Ross who was Calgary’s first resident photographer. Ross photographed the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway as it headed west from Manitoba, and many historic scenes, including the signing of Treaty Number Seven. Mary and Tom Edworthy had two sons, Thomas Percival and George (Sr.). Thomas Edworthy died at the age of 48 from typhoid leaving his wife and two sons to operate the businesses and ranch.

In the 1950’s, part of the Edworthy land was sold and became the community of Wildwood. The family sold the remaining land, 169 hectares, to the City of Calgary in 1962 for the development of the park which bears his name.

So the next time you walk through the park look for remnants of the buffalo jump, the ranch and market or the quarry, all part of the history of this beautiful legacy in the middle of our riding.

Isn’t it time you told YOUR story?

You don’t know the feeling until you ride, Franny B

Join us for Episode 14 of the A Story Not Forgotten Podcast where you will enjoy an inspiring tribute to a talented man who restored a 1936 Francis-Barnett Blackhawk Motorcycle to showroom condition.  The bike was an inspiration to many and certainly to Keith Park (a.k.a. Stickman Yogi) who wrote a song about the experience.

 

The Mortician’s Assistant

Daisies Copyright © 2016 Aduro Photography, All Rights Reserved

Possibly appropriate for our thirteenth episode of the podcast, but something that might not be appropriate for the squeamish.  Liam interviews Brent Carnes who is a funeral director in Portland Oregon.  Brent has a two-part story about when he first started working as an apprentice and the corpse he had to clean and prepare was partially alive… just not in the way you think it might be.

 

New Offering “Audio Journals”

Many people have kept journals over the years. Sometimes it is those journals that are all that is left behind after the writer passes on.  Capturing Legacies can turn written journals into recorded audio stories.  Did your great grandparent keep a journal?  What would it be like if you could listen to their words. Our experienced voice over talent can take the written words and present them with character and vibrancy like the original author, making them come to life.

Contact us today and get started with your legacy project.

Hats Off to Deirdre and Ian Harris

Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald Deirdre and Ian Harris pose for a photo at a ceremony celebrating the couple's $1 million legacy gift to the Calgary Public Library. Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Dean Pilling/Postmedia Postmedia Calgary Dean Piling/Postmedia DEAN PILING/POSTMEDIA

Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald Deirdre and Ian Harris pose for a photo at a ceremony celebrating the couple’s $1 million legacy gift to the Calgary Public Library. Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Dean Pilling/Postmedia

In the Calgary Herald this morning there was an article regarding Deirdre and Ian Harris and their $1-Million legacy gift to the Calgary Public Library foundation.  Along with the other individuals and companies who have donated, we want to say thank you.  Not because it has anything to do with Capturing Legacies Inc., in fact it doesn’t, but because it is an incredible gift to the world.  Anything that encourages or preserves the stories of every day people is a good thing for humanity.

Much of human history is told by politicians, the media, and people who bend and twist things to suit their needs.  We believe that history should be told by those who lived it!  Our mandate is to capture people’s stories.  Those stories that tell you who the person was, and what their life was like.

One of our first clients, Catherine Mitchell, wrote her life story in four volumes and yet she has no children or family to pass them on to.  Thanks to the generosity of the people and companies that have donated to the CPL’s Shared History Program, presumably everyone will be able to have a permanent home for the physical books that are their life stories.

For the electronic version of Catherine’s story, please visit our self-guided life story application: AStoryNotForgotten.com.  Even better, sign up for you own free account and start writing YOUR story.  If you need help writing your story, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We can help you do it yourself, or alternatively, we can do all the work for you.

The Most Haunted Texan in Scotland

We should point out that these are not actually bedtime stories for your children.  

However if you like to hear Scottish ghost stories in a thick Scottish accent, really the only way to hear them, then tune in to Episode 12 of the podcast and listen to Scottish story teller Calumn Lykan tell a haunting tale about when he was a ghost tour guide back in Edinburgh

 

Catherine’s Canada 150 Bus Project

Catherine Mitchell

Image borrowed from Swerve Magazine article (click to view)

One of the best parts of working for Capturing Legacies is we get to meet some of the most amazing people.  Our first client, Catherine Mitchell, who made her life story viewable to the public in our Self-Guided Life Story Application is now embarking on a new and very interesting project.

Catherine has started her own blog and is documenting her travels each day on Calgary Transit from route #1 through route #150 in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday.  Please subscribe to her blog and have a read from her first post on July 1st, 2017 where she climbed aboard bus route #1 and rode it through it’s entire loop.   Describing what she saw and her memories from years passed.

Catherine definitely understands the importance of history and storytelling.  When are you going to begin telling of your great adventures?  Contact us today and we will help you get started.

We are really enjoying your new project Catherine, and we look forward to hearing more of your great adventures!!!

 

 

Gord Gillies Gets Out Of His Comfort Zone

We visited the Global Television station to interview Gord Gillies for our Ed Whalen Life Story Project and he was happy to share a personal story with us for our A Story Not Forgotten Podcast.

Check out all the podcast episodes at: A Story Not Forgotten Podcast

If you would like to tell us your story for an upcoming episode, please let us know.

 

The Birth of Harvey The Hound

Listen to episode 10 of our podcast, A Story Not Forgotten, to hear from creator Grant Kelba the story of how the Calgary Flames NHL Team got their beloved mascot: Harvey The Hound.

A Tale of Two Binders

Please check out episode 9 of the A Story Not Forgotten Podcast where Liam sits down with Robert L. Angus, owner of Octavia Book Bindery who tells a meaningful story from his early days where he tried to play nice, but ultimately had no choice but to lay the hammer down on an Olympic wrestler and put him out of business for good.