History Hunter's "A Stroll Through Old Bankview: Some 70+ Significant Selected Sites"
A STROLL THROUGH OLD BANKVIEW:
SOME 70+ SIGNIFICANT SELECTED SITES
INVITATION AND DISCLAIMER
(All the contents of this compilation constitute merely a rudimentary beginning of an ongoing work in progress, and remain always under constant and continual revision and improvement. The help, participation and co-operation of every interested person is therefore very much indeed needed, required, desired and highly valued. Any additional information, input, updates, amendments, corrections, comments, clues or suggestions of any sort whatever, however slight, are eagerly sought, solicited and invited, and will be most deeply and gratefully appreciated and welcomed at any time. Responses both in personally acknowledging and privately replying to such contacts and in posting newly-received data will occur as promptly as humanly possible in the prevailing circumstances.)
THIS COMMEMORATIVE VOLUME, SEVERAL YEARS IN CREATION,
IS LOVINGLY PRESENTED IN HONOUR OF
THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BANKVIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
IN THE YEAR 2004
THE 100th ANNIVERSARY BOTH OF THE BANKVIEW SUBDIVISION
AND OF THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA
IN THE YEAR 2005
HAS BEEN REVISED AND UPDATED TO REFLECT
THE CENTENARY OF ANNEXATION TO THE CITY OF CALGARY
IN THE YEAR 2007
Further Revised and Updated June 2013
To my Mother, my Grandparents
and my Ancestors
who have done so much for
and given so much to
this City, this Province and this Country
in loving remembrance
from one who has, or hopes to have,
so much yet to do and give
SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANKS
FROM THE COMPILER
With Deepest Gratitude
for the tireless help and co-operation of the Bankview Community Association
and all our friends from Bankview - too numerous to name, but in particular
Marcel Anderson, John Armstrong, George Basaraba, Bonnie Bilcox, Lloyd Bumstead, Patricia Dam,
Chris Dilger, Graham Doyle, Mitchell Elliott, Jim George, Cathy Gibbs, Bert Haines, Terry MacKenzie,
Ken Martens, Lorna Matheson, Bob Merchant, Doug Saunders, Marde Sharpe, Gail Simper, Brian Smith and Jeremy Sturgess
for the diligent and painstaking assistance, beyond all call of duty,
by so many colleagues and associates in the academic, historical and heritage communities,
especially the dedicated administrative and reference staff and volunteers, past and present, of
The City of Calgary Archives, the Calgary Public Library, the Glenbow Library and Archives,
The City of Calgary Planning Department, The Calgary Board of Education,
The Historical Society of Alberta and other similar repositories and institutions,
including but not restricted to
Janice Barkway, Sarah Bleach, Jennifer Cook Bobrovitz, Linda Bolstad, Doug Cass, Lori Ellis,
Mark Farand, Rob Graham, Debbie Goodine, Deb Grant, Rosemary Griebel, Jennifer Hamblin,
Jane Harrison, Christine Hayes, Pat Lancaster, Regina Landwehr, Elaine Lehto,
Glennda Leslie, Sala Lin, Annemarie Mayer, Cathy Mayhood, Bill McLennan, Lindsay Moir,
Darlene Perrier, Carolyn Reicher, Roberta Ryckman, Carolyn Ryder, Harry Sanders,
Don Schultz, Carol Stokes, Margaret Waite, John Willson and Marje Wing
for the interest and enthusiasm of everyone in the arts, cultural and activist communities, and
MOST OF ALL
Lisa Brawn, Chris Cran, Milo Dlouhy, Tanya Dubnicoff, Will Farrington,
Clara Hughes, Angela Inglis, Harry Kiyooka, Katie Ohe, Ryan Statz, John Will
and everyone else act The Sugar Estate Gallery
who through their unfailing moral support and encouragement have made it all possible
and for whose unbounded and limitless inspiration we remain forever indebted
The contents of this original research work may not in any circumstances be reproduced by any means in whole or in part without the express written consent of the Compiler.
The foregoing notwithstanding, permission is hereby granted for extraction and legitimate use by researchers of specific items of information contained herein, providing always that the source shall be adequately and properly cited and the Compiler duly and obviously acknowledged and credited.
Additionally, The Bankview Community Association, The City of Calgary, the Calgary Public Library and the Glenbow-Alberta Institute Library and Archives in particular are hereby authorised and entitled until further notice to extract and utilise the contents hereof at any time in whole or in part for purposes of civic record or archival display, and for publications of historical nature, providing always that clear and specific identification of the source and the Compiler shall be prominently displayed in conjunction therewith.
COMPILER'S PREFACE AND INTRODUCTORY NOTES
This booklet has come about more or less as a natural adjunct to several other projects with which I have been concerned and involved as Historian of the Community of Bankview, including my definitive history, The Story of Bankview, now in progress, as well as my work in identifying the early street-names for eventual restoration on new dual street signage, and my further participation in development of a Community History course and Community Drama presentation in conjunction with nearby Knob Hill School and The University of Calgary.
Although I have never been privileged to personally reside within the boundaries of Bankview, I feel honoured indeed to have been invited to be associated and work so closely with a Community which has always intrigued and fascinated me, and which exhibits an enthusiasm and Community spirit second to none in Calgary.
My only regret has been, and remains, the inevitable restrictions imposed by the confines of space limitations for publication. With such a wealth of material available, the making of arbitrary selections has proven no easy task, and readers should understand and be apprised from the outset that the decisions thus reached necessarily reflect only a small cross-section of possible sites.
Moreover, just as not all deserving points of interest have been included, it has been likewise impossible to mention herein all the priceless stories relating to those which have been chosen. These will of necessity await other opportunities, and many will be expanded upon and incorporated in print, wherever applicable, from time to time in others of my Calgary local history publications instead, in order that they be not entirely lost. Perhaps at some future date an extended edition or even a sequel containing another such collection may be in order. Therefore I shall forbear belabouring even briefly in overview in these Introductory Notes such matters of historical background and Community development, which will be better left to another time and place, and more fully dealt with elsewhere in future.
Still, even as it stands, a compendium of some six dozen or so historic sites (counting each building separately when several are located together in a single grouping) is no mean feat and forms a respectable inventory for any Community. Omission of numerous venues should in no way suggest that they are held in any less esteem or regard, and many were mentioned or alluded to on our highly successful guided tour on the occasion of Bankview's Millennial Heritage Day celebrations which marked the official "launch" of this project on Monday, 6 August 2001 after a couple of years' preliminary work.
I am truly indebted and grateful to all who have helped in any way to ensure the success of both that effort and this, and I can categorically promise with assurance that this marks only the beginning of a scintillating and never-ending study. There will be much more, and better, yet to come.
As always, any and all additions, corrections, suggestions, recollections or other input of any kind whatever, from any source, will continue to be earnestly desired, solicited and welcomed. It cannot be overstressed enough that no clue is ever too small or too insignificant for consideration.
Meanwhile, may all who come into contact with this labour of love enjoy and be edified, and experience a reawakening to the vast and exciting heritage which surrounds them. If this present work may even in some small measure, to any degree at all, serve as a catalyst to help enhance or expedite that process, we shall all certainly be more than gratified.
(Postscript: Since the foregoing was written, completion of a new Bankview Building Survey in 2005 by Hilary Tarrant for the Alberta Historical Preservation Society, which is now available to the public, as well as the inventories by the "Century Homes" initiative since 2012, have rendered unnecessary any attempt at comprehensive duplication of those materials herein, insofar as details such as lists of owners and occupants or descriptions of architectural features are concerned. Instead it is now felt that this publication should be seen as aiming more in the direction of preserving the types of stories which may not so readily lend themselves to, or appear in, such other laudable efforts.)
A STROLL THROUGH OLD BANKVIEW:
70+ Significant Selected Sites
ALBERTA CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
1820 Richmond Road, S. W.
The former site, for some 55 years, of the Alberta Children's Hospital on Richmond Road lies slightly beyond the technical limits of Bankview, though still on Nimmons Ranch land. However, the impact it exercised upon the Bankview Community during its more than half-century of service here, in terms both of employment and of child medical care, eminently qualifies it for inclusion in the present work, together with a brief overview of its previous and subsequent background and history.
Probably the earliest direct predecessor of this facility was the Soldiers' Orphans' Home or War Orphans' Home of the World War I. era, operated at first primarily by the Great War Veterans' Association, (a precursor of the Royal Canadian Legion), and whose purpose was as indicated by its name. Within a short time the need for specific medical care beyond its scope, in addition to the usual basic shelter and food provisions, not only for orphans but for all cases of childhood illness, was well recognised, and, with that in mind, the Home was taken over in 1919 by the five-year-old Alberta Division of the Canadian Red Cross, which had been organised in the summer of 1914 in the Calgary offices of lawyer, speculator, political heavyweight and future Prime Minister Richard Bedford Bennett. Accordingly, on 14 July 1920 another, better equipped institution, funded chiefly by donations to the Junior Red Cross Sick Children's Fund, was opened in Brickburn House, one of the residences owned by brickworks magnate and former Alderman Edward Henry Crandell, just west of today's subdivision of Wildwood. Its mandate was extended to include treatment of all children in need of medical aid, including those whose families were unable to pay the expenses, equally with those who could.
On 19 May 1922, hard-pressed for additional space, and with more than 600 children on a waiting list, this location was in turn superseded by the first official Junior Red Cross Children's Hospital, formally opened that day at 522, 18 Avenue, S. W., a former nursing home, by His Honour The Honourable Dr. Robert George Brett, second Lieutenant-Governor of the young Province of Alberta, himself an old-time physician, assisted by His Worship Samuel Hunter Adams, Mayor of Calgary, The Right Reverend William Cyprian Pinkham, first Anglican Bishop of Calgary and other dignitaries. The first of its kind in the Dominion, the new infirmary, at a cost of about $669, contained approximately 33 to 35 beds, (of which about 26 were normally devoted solely to orthopaedics), and in an emergency could temporarily even squeeze in and accommodate a few more patients through tactful and judicious reorganisation of space.
The hospital was quite literally made possible by the frequent penny, nickel and dime contributions of some 41,000 other Alberta children who, coordinated mainly through their schools, comprised the membership of the Junior Red Cross and proudly sported its red and white pins. Chapters of the JRC functioned in many Communities throughout the Province, and these children, in addition to their own precious and hard-earned gifts, planned and conducted various fundraising endeavours at stated intervals, - even resorting to such devices as the collection of ground squirrel tails and magpie and crow eggs, to be redeemed for the bounty offered.
Miss L. B. Peat, who had served during the War as an army nurse in Malta, was appointed the first Matron in charge of the institution, and the very first patient in the hospital's long history, seven-year-old Claude Miller, arrived on 22 May 1922, requiring treatment for influenza. Still, the hospital at this time was quite rudimentary and lacking in many much-needed requirements, including an operating room. This was very much a convalescent facility only, with the larger emphasis on orthopaedic problems. Surgical cases had to be ferried to the Bow Valley location of the Calgary General Hospital, and back again when well enough.
It was not long before it became acutely apparent that yet more space was urgently indicated, and expansion plans and options were accordingly considered. The three-storey former family home of wealthy wine and spirit purveyor Vital Raby, at 1009, 20 Avenue, S. W., (now Royal Avenue), in Mount Royal, had become vacant by failure of the once-prosperous business owing to the advent of Prohibition, and, after some service as an apartment complex, had in due course fallen into the hands of the above-mentioned R. B. Bennett, by then Leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Dominion Parliament of Canada. The future Viscount Bennett now made the building available to the Junior Red Cross, and the hospital gratefully relocated effective 23 July 1929, the new venue being officially opened by another great supporter and benefactor, prominent cattle baron and eventual Senator Patrick Burns, on 16 September 1929. The place soon became popularly known far and wide as "the House on the Hill".
Opulent as the new surroundings were, services and resources were still severely limited. About 50 to 55 beds were now available, with the emphasis still heavily on orthopaedics, and some minor surgery was possible in a small operating room on site, with the more serious cases still being referred to the General Hospital. In a constricted basement shop, one James Mather, and occasionally his two sons, manufactured and fashioned to order customised braces and prostheses for those youngsters so unfortunate as to require such apparatus.
In those days, as opposed to now, when the average turnaround time is less than five days, hospital stays usually lasted many months, and sometimes even years. Children from a distance might see their parents only rarely, if at all, during that entire time. Only parents were allowed to visit, and even this was discouraged. Brief parental visits were permitted only once per week maximum, (in later years gradually increased to two or three times, and finally in 1965 to daily), whereas today they are encouraged as much as possible. It is a sad truth that many of the young charges actually literally grew up in this building, with the staff and other patients as their surrogate "family". This, of course, also meant that in-house provision must be made for many programmes, from school lessons to entertainment.
Logistically, schooling could best be accomplished by operating a private school, with the Red Cross hiring qualified teachers for the purpose. Those students who could not for physical or medical reasons join their colleagues in a makeshift class setting were attended to by the teachers at their bedside. (It was not until 1932 that the Department of Education in Edmonton assumed control of this responsibility directly, and not until 1946 that salary for these teachers was made available by the Calgary School Board itself. Only in 1963, at the Richmond Road site, where a separate freestanding school was provided, did the School Board actually take over the "Alberta Children's Hospital School" in every respect, and finally in 1977 the decision was made to rename it in honour of eminent orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Gordon Townsend.)
Meanwhile, special activities were planned and arranged for the inmates, such as E. H. Crandell's sports day in 1923, whilst most weekends regular outings were conducted by volunteers to points of interest, with chocolate treats included. Considerable spare time was also expended upon the therapeutic creation of very popular artificial flowers and other excellent handicrafts by the children, which were ordered and purchased by people in many parts of the world, this "cottage industry" thereby yielding another much-valued source of revenue for the institution.
Ongoing improvements to the stately structure included superficial screening and glassing of the third-floor sweeping balconies as a summer convalescent and common area for the benefit of recuperating patients, a proper classroom, playroom and gymnasium being also later developed on this level. The main floor of the house became the boys' ward and the second floor was exclusively dedicated to the girls. Even a Cub Scout pack operated here.
The balconies were much appreciated in the summer months as a substitute for the outdoors, but soon took on the role of an expanded year-round hospital ward as well, with all the attendant discomforts inherent in winter's sub-freezing conditions. Led by the father of one of the patients, the Rotary Club finally, beginning in 1937, addressed this inadequacy, financing massive renovations and introduction of heating and plumbing services to this area, and enclosing the whole with windows of Vitalite glass donated by Pilkington's. However, the girls on the second floor continued to make life uncomfortable for the boys on the main level. Through holes in the floor and other such devious means they were able to engineer such unwelcome pranks as, for example, dribbling water onto the beds below in such fashion as to simulate the appearance of bed-wetting.
During the Depression years of the 1930s conditions became even more stringent than before. Cutbacks resulted by the close of 1933 in a reduction of bed availability by half, and other privations loomed which could potentially compromise nutrition and quality of care. Red Cross Branches all over Alberta, as they had from the first, grew and shipped supplies of fresh produce and other nutritious foodstuffs for the ample kitchen, whilst other citizens delivered similar contributions on a frequent basis from their own home gardens, all of which was gratefully welcomed. Staff compensation was lowered, although some served almost voluntarily anyway. However, from 1933 until closure of the site nearly 20 years later, hospital workers could also be admitted for medical treatment on location when necessary.
A leading member of the medical staff donating services for little or no charge throughout this period was the gruff but kindly Dr. Reginald Burton Deane, son to the celebrated Superintendent Richard Burton Deane of RNWMP fame, who had been the last Commander of the former Fort Calgary site when it closed in 1914. Dr. Deane's sister Lily Deane was married to another former Mountie, His Honour Lieutenant-Colonel The Honourable Philip Carteret Hill Primrose, who would die in Office as the fifth Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta on 17 March 1937, their son Neil Primrose becoming a significant figure in the legal profession of a later era.
Dr. R. B. Deane specialised in orthopaedics, and was amongst Calgary's first medical specialists, at a time when most people neither understood nor trusted the concept and instead depended for treatment of most bone defects or injuries upon their general practitioners who often were not sufficiently skilled or expert enough to deal with many serious and complicated problems. These family doctors were also reluctant to refer their patients and forfeit the fees, so tended to resist and discourage the growth of reliance on specialisation. More than a few children consequently had broken bones poorly set which resulted in lifelong unnecessary deformities, pain and suffering. Unfortunately for him, recognition and appreciation of the value of specialists was finally just coming into vogue at the time Dr. Deane was winding down his practice and his career, and it was ultimately his younger protégé and successor Dr. Gordon Townsend who, deserving as he was in his own right, also received the lion's share of credit for Dr. Deane's pioneering work.
One unusual incident occurred about 1931 when Dr. Deane became particularly concerned with and raised the issue of fire safety, suggesting that some study be given to the matter of evacuation in such an event. When it was determined that the most effective method would be to install long tubes or chutes through which to slide the young patients rapidly to the ground, a rather less than desirable approach, the entire question was laid aside and deferred to some nebulous future date. Eventually one such experimental aluminum chute was installed in the south-west corner of the second floor. There is no apparent record of its ever having been used in the circumstances envisioned, but it provided a tremendous source of recreation for adventurous children when no-one was watching!
On 30 April 1939 the Rotary Club's gift of the updated and refurbished solarium, more than a year in designing and construction, was formally dedicated, as were plaques in honour of both Lord Bennett and the recently deceased Senator Burns, who together had done so much to bring the hospital to fruition. But even so, with patients already far outnumbering beds, and crammed in wherever they might (or might not) fit, hallways and common areas included, it was now by the end of the decade becoming abundantly obvious that further expansion was urgently required and that another removal would imminently be in order. Still, the outbreak that same year of World War II. placed any such possibility indefinitely on hold.
Following War's end in 1945 The City of Calgary acted quickly, generously donating land at the Richmond Road site as the hospital's new home, with the official sod-turning held on Florence Nightingale's birthday, 12 May 1946. Construction promptly began on a new two-wing, three-storey red brick facility housing 150 to 156 beds, all those on nursing units theoretically to be reserved for orthopaedic purposes. Full surgical capabilities would also at long last be provided on site.
In 1949 the institution adopted a revised name as the Red Cross Crippled Children's Hospital, discontinuing for the first time ever the prefix "Junior", and in 1951, to mark the completion of its new location, this was again further altered to the Alberta Red Cross Crippled Children's Hospital, signifying and reinforcing the tradition that it was intended for use by all the children of the Province, not merely Calgarians. By the time of its official opening on 3 March 1951, a new and previously unforeseen threat had arisen with which to be dealt: the annual poliomyelitis epidemic, which would prove so devastating and, after the development of a vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk, would result over the coming years in mass immunisations for untold thousands of children from coast to coast.
The main move to the new hospital followed in January 1952 in temperatures of nearly -30 degrees Celsius. All went smoothly as rehearsed, and for hours there was an ongoing procession of various types of vehicles conveying patients and personnel from the old to the new location. Parts of the old edifice had also been transferred here as remembrances and reminders of the past, including, embedded in the floor, the familiar Red Cross symbol and emblem, an historic memento which had similarly graced the predecessor institution and which had been brought over for sentimental reasons.
By that same summer some 100 polio cases were being actively treated, and even the dining room was pressed into service for additional bed space, with the classrooms also on standby should they be likewise required. At one point about 180 children were in residence and all available areas were strained beyond capacity. The last major epidemic subsided in 1953 but, regardless, several more years were required to bring this plague completely under control, and the hospital continued to be at times quite swamped by the demand for its services.
In the interim the Red Cross itself was facing a series of crises and challenges prompting a reassessment as to the most effective deployment of its own resources in changing times and circumstances. By about 1955 it had resolved to concentrate and focus in future upon two principal priorities, namely blood banking and emergency disaster relief. This necessarily meant withdrawal from direct operation of its hospitals with the exception, for the immediate future, of those in the most remote and isolated areas. Plans were accordingly devised by which to phase out its long-standing association with its Calgary facility and accomplish the goal of transition to some other competent authority in its stead.
As of 31 December 1957 the long years of active support and sponsorship by the Red Cross Society at last came to an end, and the hospital was transferred effective 1 January 1958 into the stewardship and care of an entirely new organisation, the Alberta Crippled Children's Hospital Society, specially incorporated for the purpose. The institution itself was therefore also renamed at this time, becoming the Alberta Crippled Children's Hospital, with all references to the Red Cross being for the first time omitted and deleted. A year later, once all the extra legal work had taken effect, the term "Crippled" was dropped as well, at the behest and urging of numerous parents and donors, to reflect the newly though slowly emerging realisation that by this time the vast majority of children now being treated here for various illnesses were not by any means crippled.
Likewise in 1958 the hospital's capacity was reduced to about 128 beds, as the dread polio era drew to its natural close, and by 1959, with the malady finally all but fully controlled by the Salk vaccination programme, a major reorganisation was taking place. With new technologies, orthopaedic-related hospital stays had been drastically reduced in recent years to an average of only four to five months, and only two nursing units were now required for these inpatients. These were henceforth assigned to the first and third floors, with the second being designated for minor surgical cases. Until this time there had been a wait of about two years for admission for afflictions of this nature, including tonsils, adenoids, cleft lips and palates, hernias, etc.
When in 1963 the Calgary Public School Board, (known since 1975 as the Calgary Board of Education), assumed full control of the Alberta Children's Hospital School, as it was then still called, admission was extended not only to inpatients but also, by special arrangement, to occasional outpatients who, for whatever reason, could not be suitably served by their local Community schools, or who could receive better attention and advantage here. This policy was eventually broadened to include a wide array of difficulties ranging from severe or chronic asthma to emotionally disturbed individuals. In the succeeding years special programmes for special needs began to be developed at the hospital, in conjunction with the school, including those for autism, introduced in 1969, and for asthmatics in 1971.
From 1972 onward a comprehensive new Mental Health Programme came under development, eventually absorbing the former specialised autism initiative. The same summer similar provisions were made for cerebral palsy, when the CP Clinic previously located at the SAIT grounds was displaced by Campus redevelopment and expansion there, and migrated over to join the Children's Hospital instead. It served outpatients on weekdays with features and offerings such as specially adapted schooling, physiotherapy, speech therapy, etc., replacing the hospital's former system and policy of special appointments for outpatients. The same procedure was soon implemented as well for the Orthopaedic Clinic, the regular Speech and Hearing Clinic, the regular Physiotherapy Clinic, the Junior Amputee Clinic, the Cleft Palate Clinic and Orthoptics, and applied equally to such other high-priority items and concerns as the Brace Shop, Staff Rounds and even the few outpatients attending the school. As a result, the number of outpatients coming here overall suddenly skyrocketed.
Also in 1972 the Alberta Children's Hospital Society was disbanded and the whole operation was ceded to the Province of Alberta as a fully Governmental responsibility, for the sum of $2,000,000. At this time there still was no Emergency Department, only very limited laboratory and X-ray space, and a total lack of resident doctors trained in the field of paediatrics. However, by the following year a fully-fledged Diagnostic, Assessment and Treatment ("DAT") Centre was rapidly evolving with two major clinics, Neuromuscular and Developmental, and plans were well in hand for a full-scale Child Health Centre complete with 138 inpatient beds, an Urgent Care Unit, an Intensive Care Unit, significantly expanded X-ray facilities, vastly increased operating theatre space and hostels for residential inpatients. Official approval was obtained from the Province in 1975, together with a pledge of $26,000,000 from the Alberta Heritage Fund, and a target date for readiness was estimated and set for 1981.
Earlier, the removal of the characteristic tall red brick chimney, for years so familiar a symbol of the Richmond Road site, had presented considerable challenges. In the confined space available within the surrounding Community, it could not be simply toppled. The final solution was to gradually reduce it by mechanically "biting off" a few feet at a time, from the top downward.
The year 1977 witnessed erection of the Alberta Children's Research Centre on the hospital grounds through the proceeds of Kinsmen's Telethons. The same year the Calgary Board of Education opened the expanded Dr. Gordon Townsend School in conjunction with the hospital, offering the entire academic programme up to and including Grade 12.
The year 1981 finally saw opening, approximately on schedule, of the long-awaited new Alberta Children's Hospital Child Health Centre adjacent to the older hospital, and the name of the united complex was likewise amplified. The official dedication ceremonies took place on 10 September, but the actual move was already well underway, in three stages. The children were accorded the opportunity to inspect their new quarters ahead of time, to reduce the trauma, and the physical transfer became somewhat of a celebration with a colourful gala parade wending its way from the old portion of the premises to the new.
A tremendous threat to the hospital's survival, perhaps the most dire in its history, loomed on the horizon in 1994 when the new Klein Government began wildly slashing and decimating all sectors of the Province with massive fiscal cutbacks owing to a mad obsession with wholesale elimination, at all costs, of debts and deficits, which it ranked even ahead of the well-being of the people, supposedly the first concern of any Government and the primary reason for its existence. The venerable Bow Valley Centre of the Calgary General Hospital was recklessly emptied and imploded and the even more historic old Holy Cross Hospital closed and sold off, leaving the central part of Calgary completely unprotected by ready access to any such emergency facility in the event of a mass disaster and precipitating a major space crunch in other hospitals in the years to come. The Alberta Children's Hospital too appeared for a time to be coming under fire and facing the axe despite massive public outcries and protests and impromptu citizens' campaigns mounted in a seemingly vain last-ditch attempt to rescue and save it. At length it was unwillingly and grudgingly spared, the Premier and Cabinet having been finally overwhelmed by the prospect of political damage from their being widely seen as placing children at risk, but an entirely new administrative regime for management of medical institutions was announced and imposed, by which, as of 1995, the Provincial Government finally offloaded and reassigned the hospital's oversight to the newly-created Calgary Regional Health Authority, (subsequently known as the Calgary Health Region).
Progress continued all the while, a highlight being the Special Procedures Room for treatment of cardiac cases, opened in 1996. But, alas, the oft-repeated story of inadequate space and outdated facilities caught up with the hospital once more during this period, and it was again necessary to consider relocation. Numerous schemes were studied and discussed across a number of years, but in the final analysis space was secured on the western extent of the Campus of The University of Calgary, not far from The University's Health Sciences Centre and the Foothills Hospital, and positioned where virtually unlimited future expansion would be possible.
This proximity to the Foothills location was not pleasing to everyone, but in September 2006 removal to the new state-of-the-art complex was accomplished and completed without a hitch after amazingly smooth and successful rehearsals, thus ending nearly 56 years at Richmond Road. The old hospital would become a day-use clinic for specialised procedures for adults.
At the time of this removal the Dr. Gordon Townsend School, which relocated together with the hospital, claimed a total enrolment of only 19 remaining students. However, the new north-west Alberta Children's Hospital continues to advance and flourish as a world-renowned institution featuring, as of only very recently, more than 30 individual clinics for treatment of a wide variety of childhood conditions, and greatly expanded accommodations for inpatients and their families, as well as outpatient services of many kinds.
BANKVIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
2418, 17 Street, S. W.
The present Bankview Community Association was founded in 1954 after some less successful earlier attempts, receiving official recognition 20 December that year, and has remained a vibrant force in the Community ever since.
The Community Hall has had an interesting history as well. Legend holds that an old disused schoolhouse had been brought from Turner Valley in pioneer times to serve as the first Bankview School, and subsequently became the nucleus of the Bankview Community Centre. This theory, however, is patently untrue. The fact is that the tiny school was directly acquired in the mid 1950s specifically for its present purposes as a Community Building without ever having served any intermediate educational function in Bankview.
That building, with some modification, is now the westernmost portion of the Community Complex. Upstairs is the Board Room which was once the classroom, and which yet contains some of the original school windows looking inward onto the activity space below. Directly beneath this structure were the first washroom facilities, athletic changing quarters, equipment storage rooms and mechanical systems.
The larger eastern projection, now the Hall proper, with the activity centre, kitchen and present washrooms, was added originally about 1961. This extension proved vitally important to the Association in its formative years as a revenue generator and fundraising device. For financial reasons virtually any rental application would be seriously considered in those days. The natures of these early space rental contracts were accordingly many and varied, ranging at one point from a Community Kindergarten and a Cantonese Language School to regular dance practices by the Chinook City Cloggers, who, however, finally had to be terminated owing to the effects of their activities on the Hall's floor surface.
At least two diametrically opposed types of religious or quasi-religious observances were held here during that period as well. A smallish and little-known fundamentalist sect calling themselves the "Jesus is Lord" movement, (who still survive and recently were meeting in the old Oddfellow and Rebekah building at 14 Street and 14 Avenue, S. W.), initially occupied the premises on Sunday mornings; then, later in the day, a witches' coven flew in to perform Wiccan rituals.
Each group was charged equally a flat $75 fee, but in the latter instance, unlike the "Born Again Brigade", a proviso or caveat was included prohibiting and banning the "Broomstick Brigade" from blood sacrifices, either animal or human, and requiring them to sweep up afterward, ostensibly also with brooms, - just in case!
The existing Community Centre was further improved on several occasions, most notably during the period from about 1966 to 1969, and the modern front entry vestibule dates only from about 1980 or 1981. Along the wall beside the counter of the serving area may still be discerned traces of the outline of the former staircase which once led straight down to ground level internally from the ex-classroom. This was finally removed during the renovations of 1980/1981, having been previously made redundant when the current recessed staircase, at a less intrusive sideways angle, was installed during construction of the Hall extension some 20 years earlier.
Part of the complex suffered a disastrous fire late in the evening of Friday, 24 January 1975, the night before Robert Burns Day, afterward suspected, on the basis of an open changing room door, to have been somehow sparked by haggis-deprived (or possibly haggis-overdosed) neighbourhood children. Four fire rigs and their crews, some 15 men in all, responded in a timely fashion. The flames were by then progressing very swiftly up the chimney area from bottom to top of the structure, and it was estimated that with even another two minutes' delay in arrival nothing would have been left to salvage. In the event, the blaze was quickly extinguished, but amongst the many items of furnishings and materials consumed were all the uniforms of the various Community sports teams which the Association then still directly sponsored and much other athletic paraphernalia as well.
As it was, the damaged section was promptly rebuilt through insurance coverage, and the Association was able to carry on meanwhile with special aid in the form of a one-time-only operating grant from The City of Calgary.
Insurance allowed only for bare reconstruction but did not replace the vital income lost through inability to rent the Hall; nor did it enable or permit fulfilment of obligations to upkeep and maintain recreational and Community programmes normally funded exclusively through rental revenue. Without Hall rentals those commitments could not long have been kept up by means of capital expenditure, and the future of many important initiatives would soon have been placed in jeopardy.
Plans for repairs and redecoration were drawn up and the work had progressed far enough to allow reopening of the Hall by 22 March. A formal request was duly submitted, and on 26 May 1975, barely four months after the conflagration, City Council generously voted Bankview the aforementioned emergency allocation of $3,000 to offset the shortfall in the insurance payments and retroactively compensate for or reimburse extra costs incurred through honouring of ongoing responsibilities, temporarily borrowed from other parts of the budget by transfer or advance during the two-month period of Hall closure.
Inasmuch as the premises had to be upgraded during the restoration process in order to conform to the latest City standards and codes, the occasion was also taken as an opportunity for further needed alterations, including installation of a new furnace and water tank, as well as new exterior surfacing, amongst other details. Claims that the building even today contains secret hidden passageways and walled-up spaces, whilst grossly exaggerated, are not entirely consigned to urban mythology either!
North-eastward across the grounds behind the Community Hall, forming a square betwixt 16 and 16A Streets at 23 Avenue, can still be seen several older homes, (the "Nimmons Cottages"), which were removed to this location from near the site of the second Nimmons residence when the latter, being immovable, was destroyed by Stampede Motors in 1953.
Close by the Community Building in the opposite direction until the late 1990s stood a defunct Diefenbaker-era air raid siren, silently and mutely bespeaking the paranoia of the Cold War around the beginning of the 1960s.
BANKVIEW FOOD STORE, (demolished)
1830, 17 Street, S. W.
Almost from its very inception Bankview has been host to numerous small business enterprises, including food services, mostly concentrated along its perimeters on both 14 Street and 17 Avenue. Very few, however, have ever been located internally within the Community itself, and of these only two have been primarily grocery and confectionery, as opposed to variety, outlets. This historic general store was the second, and is now the only survivor of the two*, although it may have undergone major structural renovation during a period of vacancy in the early 1920s.
The business was first opened here about 1911 by Albert Herbert DeMara, who lived in the flat above. DeMara stayed about four or five years and the place has been known since his departure by many names during its long career of service to local residents. Its most notable proprietors have included Edward T. "Eddie" Waddell (who called it "Waddell's Grocery"), James Grant, Herbert J. Wiggins, Mrs. Bessie Worsnop, Edward and Eileen McIntyre (as "McIntyre's Grocery"), Derek and Bernadette Leigh, Bill and Tilly Reder ("B and T Grocery"), and Yen and Yuen Seto ("Seto's").
It became the Bankview Food Store when Liu Lirong took over in the late 1980s, which title it has retained ever since, (although known still more familiarly and popularly to neighbourhood children as the "Big Blue Store" or the "7-Up Store", the latter moniker stemming from a sign it has customarily sported). In 1995 it was much refurbished and restored by new owners Brendan and Gwen O'Toole, recent arrivals from Ireland, who quickly settled into the Community, making their home, like so many of their predecessors, on the premises.
From DeMara to the O'Tooles, many of these successive owners and operators occupied the space above, and later the attachment at the rear, as living quarters. Those who did not usually rented out the apartment (or in later years, apartments) to one or more tenants whilst living elsewhere. Over its nine-decade-plus history, more than a dozen other persons have therefore resided here as well, although the upper floor has also at times remained vacant.
Steeped in folklore, the shop across the years has become a recognisable fixture, a symbol and landmark which has even been immortalised from time to time in paintings by artists attracted to its unique ambiance. The high "Boomtown Front" style of façade, declining progressively lower in height as it recedes further back, is typical of this type of establishment from the era in question and was designed to promote the illusion of a taller, more spacious structure.
* (Compiler's Footnote, 2004: After the foregoing account was written, the historic Bankview Food Store closed its doors forever in late 2003, a victim of changing times, tastes and demands, and at the present moment its future fate remains uncertain. The property has apparently been sold and rumour has it that demolition of this near-century-old heritage structure by uncaring hands is imminent, ostensibly in favour of erection of a modern fourplex residential development on the site.)
* (Additional Footnote, 2005: Sadly and regrettably, the landmark former Bankview Food Store was demolished in the summer of 2005.)
BANKVIEW GARAGE, (demolished)
1505, 17 Avenue, S. W.
Contemporary with its neighbour the Mount Royal Garage and perhaps only a couple or so years younger, the Bankview Garage was located just around the corner from its 14 Street rival and about a block further west on 17 Avenue. This automotive service station functioned for about a decade and a half, from the early 1920s through the late 1930s, under three successive proprietors, of whom the first and last, Jonas B. Leinbach and Roy Newton Gurley respectively, also lived in Bankview whilst operating it. Both these owners are further noted in the articles concerning their own residences elsewhere herein.
Following Gurley's departure the vacant repair shop and filling station was taken over by a carpet manufacturing concern, Barrington's Rug Mills, round about the outbreak of the second World War. Later it was put to other uses. The former site of the now-demolished garage turned floorcovering factory is today obscured beneath a modern office building.
BANKVIEW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
2116, 16A Street, S. W.
A Presbyterian congregation was meeting in Bankview, with Mission status, as early as 1907, the student-in-charge apparently having been the Reverend C. A. Mitchell. It settled on this site on 16A Street not long afterward. The permit for erection of Bankview's original Presbyterian church was issued 9 May 1908, by which time the Reverend J. Kennedy was pastor.
The structure was allegedly built by the same man who was reputedly also responsible for raising the first two-room tar-paper hut in Bankview about the time of formal subdivision in 1905, and whose daughter Catherine Jones later remained for many years a Bankview resident, finally departing the Community only in the late 1970s.
By 1911 Bankview Presbyterian was sponsoring one of Calgary's and Alberta's earliest Boy Scout troops, (said to have been designated "Troop 11" in the original numerical sequence), with Hugh McEachren as Scoutmaster.
For 26 months during the 1909 - 1911 period, the first official public school ever held in Bankview also met in a rented room in the tiny church. The initial part, including the classroom, was the southern half of the current building, and the addition and expansion to the north was authorised by permit dated 16 August 1912. Also in 1912 the lengthy ministry of the Reverend Alexander Rannie began.
Church Union in 1925 resulted in most Presbyterian and Methodist congregations being absorbed into the new United Church of Canada. The two Bankview churches were no exception; both became United, but stubbornly continued to operate separately for another two years. On 12 September 1927 they finally merged, and the former Presbyterians joined the former Methodists in the latter group's new, enlarged edifice, (meanwhile known as Scarboro Avenue United), at 1704/1706, 17 Avenue, (on the property long afterward occupied from 1961 until quite recently by the Jewish Memorial Chapel). The combined organisation was then renamed Bankview-Scarboro United Church.
The former Bankview Presbyterian Church on 16A Street was converted to residential purposes, in which role, with a few structural alterations and modifications, it yet remains to this day.
Mr. Rannie, (who lived at 2024, 21 Avenue, just west of Bankview), carried on at the Scarboro location until 1928, about 20 years after the respective founding of both original churches. The succeeding year, under direction of the famous Reverend John Henderson Garden, (brother to legendary Calgary Alderman and Commissioner James Hay Garden), a new site was purchased on Scarboro Avenue and construction of the present Scarboro United Church began. The Reverend Mr. Garden had been the very first student to enrol in Mount Royal College at its founding and later returned to become its second Principal upon the retirement of its illustrious founder, the Reverend George William Kerby.
Thus, despite all the inaccurate versions of the story now circulating in print, the Presbyterian portion of the heritage of Scarboro United actually had its early roots here at this little apartment house in Bankview nearly a century ago.
BANKVIEW SCHOOL, (demolished)
1826/1836, 16A Street, S. W.
The traditional account hitherto recorded and presented in most sources of the history of the former Bankview School could scarcely be further from the truth. Briefly, according to the commonly accepted version, Bankview has had three schools over the years.
The first Bankview School was variously alleged to have been either a cottage-type school hauled from Turner Valley, or a small two-room frame structure shifted from the "Sleepy Hollow School" site behind the present City Hall when that school closed in 1908 upon completion of the new sandstone Central High School at 8 Street and 13 Avenue.
The second was said to have been a four-room stone school commissioned by the School Board in 1909, and the third was the well-known four-room orange-coloured frame and stucco edifice on 16A Street raised in 1919 which ceased to function as such in 1959 but continued for some time longer in various other capacities including a facility for unwed mothers. The latter relocated in 1970, whereafter the building became a teachers' resource centre, so remaining until sale of the property by the School Board to the Alberta Housing Corporation later in the 1970s.
The first Presbyterian church in Bankview was also erroneously supposed to have met in rented space in the mythical pioneer Bankview schoolhouse.
The truth, alas, is far less romantic. In actual point of fact, if any school was ever transported from the Turner Valley area for any reason during that era, certainly no allusion to this is indicated in any of the old Turner Valley school histories and it definitely was never used as an official Calgary public school in Bankview. Likewise, the one double-room and two single-room wooden shacks which had comprised the High School quarters on the City Hall Block were moved nowhere. The earlier plan to relocate the largest of these to Bankview was scrapped when City Council instead offered in July 1908 to purchase all three, together with stoves, piping, fittings and fixtures, for $800 as overflow administrative and meeting space whilst the modern sandstone City Hall was being built. Indeed, on 20 July 1908, Council itself resolved in future to meet in the old school premises.
The few children residing in the Bankview vicinity initially walked the long distance to the tiny South Ward (later Haultain) School which still stands in situ diagonally across from today's Memorial Park Library, and which is now Calgary's oldest remaining former public school. After several outlying localities, including Bankview, were formally annexed to Calgary in 1907, the School Board began a vigourous campaign of school erection and expansion to better accommodate and serve the needs of these new suburban Communities. By 1908 a decision was reached to construct a "Bankview School" and a search for suitable land was initiated.
The architects selected were the local firm of Hodgson and Bates, one of whose principals, William Stanley Bates, also designed many of Calgary's notable heritage structures including the Grain Exchange and the Burns Building. (His son, William Maxwell Bates, a distinguished architect in his own right whose most famous and enduring work is the present St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, is better remembered today for his other career as a talented and celebrated paint artist.)
On 13 March 1909, with the architectural plans for a Bankview School in hand, contracts were awarded to Peers and McLeod for construction at $47,000 and to E. L. Martin for plumbing and heating at $10,336. Two months later on 11 May the exterior material was upgraded from broken ashlar to coursed stone for an additional $500, and on 27 May the requisite building permit was obtained. But at this point all mention of a sandstone Bankview School perplexingly ceases and it simply disappears in silence and vanishes entirely from the record.
No-one previously ever has been able to trace or discover any tangible evidence whatever, until now, to support the suggestion or contention that this mysterious "phantom" Bankview School ever actually existed. However, the explanation is in reality quite straightforward: it was a misnomer, pure and simple. The best real estate bargain available at the time had been meanwhile found on the CPR's holdings across 14 Street, and the identity of the school was subsequently corrected to "Mount Royal School". It opened in 1911 where the brick successor of the same name now stands, with a recently-arrived Ontarian, William Aberhart, future Premier of Alberta, as its first Principal.
After contracts were let for this 14 Street school in the spring of 1909, it was felt that temporary accommodations should be provided in Bankview until the new school was ready for occupancy. Some confusion has since arisen from the application of the title "Bankview School" for a time both to the proposed new school on 14 Street and to the stopgap facility established the same year in Bankview; hence the false or misleading rumours of a 1909 stone school in Bankview which never in fact materialised.
The first formal classes of any kind ever held in Bankview thus commenced with the beginning of the next school term on 30 August 1909. On that date about 50 students, more or less, crowded into a single room, (rather than the generally stated two rooms), in the Bankview Presbyterian Church on 16A Street, (not the other way round with the church meeting in the school as usually reported). This space had been rented from the church at a rate of $25 per month, plus $10 for coal sheds and another $8 for maintenance work by a caretaker, in the person of Elizabeth, widow of the late John Curtis.
During its brief lifetime the little schoolroom in the church was presided over and conducted by a single teacher, who was also designated as Principal, namely Miss E. Stuart until October 1910, and thereafter Miss Mabel McIlmoyle.
In view of persistent demands by the Presbyterians for higher monthly rent ($35) and by the caretaker, Mrs. Curtis, for a salary increase to $13 per month, coupled with availability of the newly-completed sandstone Mount Royal School, the tiny Bankview classroom finally disbanded at the end of October 1911 after only 26 months' service. For the next several years Bankview had no school at all. Numbers simply did not warrant or justify it, and students during the interim found their way instead to Mount Royal and other neighbouring Communities.
Thus the 1919 frame-and-stucco school, located on this 16A Street site only a short distance north of the first little rented classroom, and closed in 1959, was actually the only freestanding school ever purposely erected in Bankview, - which accounts for the dearth of data and paucity of pictorial proof of any predecessor institution, and explains why it remains to this day the only one of which any picture or likeness can be found!
That school had its origins and came into being as a direct result of a resolution passed and approved on 30 January 1919 by the Calgary School Board to purchase land in Bankview for a four-room bungalow school to relieve the intense growing pains of the severely overcrowded Mount Royal School across 14 Street by withdrawing from it the exponentially multiplying numbers of Bankview students and enabling them to once more attend classes within their own Community. The recommendation to that effect from the Board's Building Superintendent, Clifford W. Fairn, was accepted, but, at the same time, his estimate of $22,000 for the purchase was generously amended by Trustees, and the sum of $30,000 instead allocated.
Prominent local landowner Thomas Jackson promptly offered a group of six corner lots in Block 6, Plan 261L, for the purpose, merely for their assessed value of $2,950. This was viewed as a favourable deal, but on 4 April the Board decided it had better let out a public tender process anyway.
Jackson immediately resubmitted his previous offer as a formal tender, throwing in a small house as well for good measure, presumably to sweeten the pot. At least three other bids, ranging from $2,000 all the way up to $5,500, were received from well-to-do citizens, including brickmaker, industrialist and former Alderman Edward Henry Crandell; but in the end Jackson's proposal was selected and accepted on 30 April, subject to the site being found suitable, - which, in perfunctory manner, it was.
The project proceeded apace over the spring and summer months of 1919. On 22 May six tenders for construction were considered, varying from $20,175 at the lowest to $22,460 at the high end. The former, and lowest, tendered by George Simpson, prevailed, and the contract was duly awarded.
On 11 July Miss Melissa M. Brock was chosen the first Principal of Bankview, and it was expected she would open the school's doors for classes the first week of September. However, as it happened, two unforeseen complications quickly threatened to intervene.
Firstly, on 12 August, Building Superintendent Fairn reported to the Board that a plumbers' strike currently in progress had now rendered it impossible to have all the new schools then under construction completed and ready for occupancy by the projected date. However he still thought that, owing to the level of work already accomplished, Bankview should be able to come in on schedule.
Secondly, at the same time, Fairn also announced that an additional four building lots, (Lots 13 through 16, Block 5, Plan 261L), just east of the school, acquisition of which had been authorised by the Board for enlarged school grounds in addition to Jackson's six lots, making a total of 10, were not available after all, owing to a $5,000 disagreement. Whilst this should not prevent the school's opening on time, the land was urgently needed. As an alternative the Superintendent suggested purchase of two other lots, (23 and 24), on the north side instead, which could be had for only $500 each, conditional upon the Board assuming the owner's property taxes for the current year. This they at once consented to do. Bankview would thus make do for the present with grounds consisting of only eight lots instead.
Another wrinkle occurred on 5 September 1919 with the appointment of Mrs. L. Foster as school janitor. It swiftly transpired that Mrs. Foster, who resided in East Calgary, could not possibly be expected to be able to be present on short demand at unusual hours to tend to the furnace whenever frigid weather conditions might necessitate coal stoking. An amicable solution was happily found and implemented by sensibly transferring her to Colonel Walker School near her own home, and replacing her in Bankview with someone closer at hand. Accordingly on 15 December the wife of sawmill worker Jacob Wyrick, who lived at 1817, 16A Street, directly across the street from Bankview School, was chosen in her stead, and the swap was complete.
When the school finally opened in September it was even equipped with its own Manual Training Room, - (Industrial Arts in the parlance of a later era). In fact, despite the fits and starts of the past few months, the institution, upon inspection, was found to meet and even exceed most expectations.
Its academic calibre lived up to and matched its infrastructure and equipment. Regardless of all the preliminary glitches, many popular and beloved teachers taught here over the intervening 40 years of service from 1919 to 1959. One, the indefatigable Miss Erma Brownscombe, so captivated the imagination of her students during the early 1930s that they would travel far out of their way at the end of each lunch hour to her place of residence merely in order to vie for the privilege of escorting her back to school! The heroic Colonel Gilbert Edward Sanders, (for whom a school elsewhere was later denominated), was also a frequent visitor in connexion with Cub and Scout activities and ceremonies.
Other nostalgic early memories recall the skating rink near the school grounds and the lengthy toboggan run on makeshift conveyances from atop the hill at 21 Avenue just above Thomas Higham's residence all the way down the almost traffic-free 16A Street nearly to 17 Avenue.
Declared too small and too old for contemporary needs, the historic bungalow school was finally superseded in 1959 by the modern Knob Hill Elementary School nearby, and its Principal, staff and students were simply transferred over to the new, larger facility. This succeeding institution accordingly spiritually perpetuated the memory and continued the legacy of old Bankview School for some 45 more years, until, after several abortive attempts in recent history and despite much opposition from the public, the Calgary Board of Education arbitrarily and unilaterally decreed that Knob Hill School must suffer the fate of its predecessor, and would cease operation and close its doors forever at the end of the academic term in June 2004. Thus ended an unbroken 85-year tradition. Henceforward Bankview children would be once again forced to travel to other schools in other Communities instead.
BANKVIEW SCOUT HALL
2001, 18 Avenue, S. W.
This historic old Scout Hall, home to the 18th Scout Group since shortly after the close of the first World War, actually and factually lies just beyond the western boundary of Bankview which runs along 19 Street. The Hall itself is adjacent to 19 Street on the corner of the short block called 18 Avenue on the non-Bankview side of the street, yet still on part of the former Nimmons 3-D-Bar Ranch. However, it is worthy of a brief mention here, merely in passing, for two very distinct and important reasons: firstly, it has served the youth of Bankview to an extent few other institutions have done for the better part of a century, and, secondly, it is situated almost precisely on the site of Billy Nimmons' former clay deposit pit and brickworks which provided building materials and employment for so much of this and other Communities.
BEARDS RESIDENCE, (second)
2216, 17B Street, S. W.
For a brief period of time in the early 1980s, Apartment 303 of this building was occupied by Ronald John Beards, otherwise affectionately remembered far and wide as "Bankview Ron". This was the second of apparently only two fixed locations in Bankview at which he resided (at least indoors), although he also dwelt in rapid succession at a number of other similar venues in surrounding Communities. (For his first Bankview home, refer to the Goldfeldt article herein.) Regardless of his short stay here, however, and whether of fixed, not-so-fixed or entirely unfixed address, Ron Beards remained a valuable and valued part of the local neighbourhood for many more years to come.
Ron's story began auspiciously enough, with his birth at Hamilton, Ontario on 9 June 1934, followed by a sound upbringing and solid education culminating in graduation from McMaster University with a degree in geology. In November 1957 at First Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, he married his sweetheart Joan Beverley Smardon, and over the space of the next nine years the couple produced a son Douglas and three daughters, Debra, Wendy and Cathy. The same year as his marriage he arrived at Calgary as a leading geologist for Pan-American Petroleum, a subsidiary of the giant Amoco conglomerate whose name the company soon afterward adopted.
All appeared well for a few years until pressures mounted and stress began overtaking Ron, and he finally turned to drink for consolation and comfort during his off-hours in the early 1960s. Predictably, the problems worsened and soon he was imbibing more regularly over lunch and at other opportunities on a daily basis as well. This self-inflicted "therapy" proved but a temporary solution at best, and gradually became excessive. The familiar patterns of alcohol abuse quickly set in and in due course led to deleterious and disastrous effects on professional productivity and output.
In 1966 Ron was transferred to Ottawa with his family, and there the family remained, with or without Ron. Unable to cope any further with the situation, Joan at last separated from him three years later, in 1969, and finally in 1978 Ron returned to the Calgary oil patch alone. In November 1982, however, his employer also callously and uncompassionately decided to separate, and Ron suddenly found himself reduced to the avails of Social Assistance, or, perhaps more accurately, "Social Subsistence", for basic survival. Even so, his meagre Government benefits continued increasingly to be dedicated toward procurement of yet more and more booze and tobacco in an effort to escape or forget the conditions which consumed him. Ron was thus obliged by heartless and inhumane Government policy to resort to other expedients including scavenging and scrounging for discarded bottles and tins in order to obtain even a modicum of sustenance and his few essential personal requirements and necessities, which items were otherwise cruelly denied him by unilaterally imposed arbitrary limitations and restrictions.
Next the Province attempted to force Ron, ill-equipped as he in his circumstances was, into what amounted, to him, to a series of abhorrent, repressive and reprehensible treatment programmes, against his wishes and will, through its AADAC agency, (the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission), ostensibly designed to conform the independent but vulnerable Ron to its own predetermined mould and with the blatantly obvious objective and intent of simply offloading him back into the conventional workforce. This proposition and prospect was something Ron was by then unable to face, and which he naturally found, to say the least, both degrading and demeaning, and therefore repugnant in the extreme. Proud and stubborn to the end, Ron could only continue to assert once again that his addictions were a personal matter and should be no-one else's concern, and that he should receive a decent and adequate pension or living allowance with no strings whatever attached.
As might well have been anticipated in such a system, merely for defending himself and standing up for all Albertans, as well as refusing to relinquish the most fundamental of all human rights, that of control over his own person, or to allow same to be forcibly stripped away by having "their" cures thrust down his throat, the ever-penurious right-wing Provincial Government impersonally and unfeelingly forthwith once more abdicated its foremost responsibilties and duties, namely to provide and care for the individual. Instead, it simply withdrew all aid and abandoned Ron outright to fend for himself by his own devices. Even so, despite having been deprived by society of all else, he recognised that his own freedoms and lifestyle choices were all he had left, and he would permit no further robbery of his few remaining escapes and pleasures. As for choosing to give them up, he would do so on his own or not at all.
This stance, of course, coupled with landlords being what they are, shortly left poor Ron literally "out in the cold", so to speak. Old neighbours and friends and other Bankview residents at once rallied to the cause and attempted as best they could to step in, intervene, and span the gap or fill the void, as it were. Although Ron himself never would have actually requested such aid, there were always unexpected and unsolicited gifts of money in amounts large and small, and household donations of extra bottles and tins to help keep him afloat. In return, Ron became a sort of self-appointed "Guardian" of Bankview, constantly on the watch for suspicious behaviour and raising the cry at the first sign or signal of questionable activity which might potentially compromise the safety of his benefactors or their property. If his full-throated screams failed to discourage or drive off the miscreants, (which was not often), Ron would not hesitate to hasten to the nearest telephone booth, where his calls to the appropriate emergency departments usually settled the matter. On numerous occasions Ron's timely intervention proved instrumental and was credited with sparing and saving grateful Bankview householders from considerable grief.
Ron quickly became a popular and beloved fixture in the streets and alleys of the local Community, and, as his fame spread further, even thousands of Calgarians who could not specifically identify his name, came to know or hear of the story of the renowned "Bankview Bottle Picker". In fact by 1993 he had achieved something akin to a celebrity stature and status as the subject of a Genie Award winning documentary film produced by Christine Richey entitled "In the Gutter and Other Good Places". He was also featured frequently in the press and often appeared in television news features and specials as well, rapidly attaining the reputation of a local legend.
Then, in early 1997, in the dead of winter, Ron's luck finally ran out. One particularly frigid night, he suffered his worst frostbite ever, and had to consent to hospitalisation. Gangrene set into his extremities and his feet turned black, ultimately resulting in amputation of his left foot, as well as of his right leg just below the knee. His ongoing ordeal attracted much media coverage and generated unbounded sympathy all over Calgary, - although the party most responsible, the Government of Alberta, with the notorious Ralph Phillip Klein at its head, (a Premier who, in a drunken stupor himself, once invaded a homeless shelter in the middle of the night, rudely awakening the residents by throwing coins in their faces and shouting at them that they should all "get jobs", thus revealing his true thoughts, attitudes and opinions), still did not change its unbending policies toward care of those who needed it most.
With the realisation that street life was now forever behind him, the Bankview Community Association now rose to the challenge where the elected Government officials would not, and organised a gigantic Community bottle drive as a fundraiser. The public response was nothing short of phenomenal, with many thousands of dollars being generously deposited in a permanent Trust Fund to supply Ron's future needs. One caring family even anonymously contributed an expensive motorised wheelchair, in which Ron could be seen over the course of the next several years making his way about the City Centre, his new home territory.
Ron's daughter Wendy at length came to visit, but failed to persuade her father to join his children in the East and make his home with them. He simply could not adapt to all the perceived restrictions on his cherished personal freedom, and opted instead to retire to a preferred apartment in Calgary's downtown core. However, even that place soon rejected and evicted him on the pretext of his alcoholism, so in January 2001 Ron took up residence in a new haven under the auspices of the Mustard Seed Street Ministry, in whose nominal care he thereafter continued.
Somehow the Mustard Seed managed to prevail where all others had failed, in convincing Ron to clamber aboard the wagon and remain dry, of his own accord, whilst also maintaining his personal dignity and standards of independence and integrity. A firm bond of mutual trust and respect developed, but, sadly, Ron's once indomitable strength and health began to decline and deteriorate over the ensuing months. Some felt he was pining away for the old life and unable to come to terms with his worsening lack of physical mobility and inevitable loss of self-determination. Eventually he was confronted with additional afflictions which finally constrained him to reluctantly accept still greater, more stringent confinement in long-term care facilities and institutions such as Glenmore Care West and, lastly, the Dr. Vernon Fanning Centre.
It was at the Fanning Centre that arguably Bankview's best-known, most noted and far-famed citizen at length passed away, uncharacteristically quietly, on 22 June 2002, just two weeks past his 68th birthday. Many regarded him as symbolically the Klein Government's most prominent, prestigious and visible victim, although the Premier and his colleagues, typically, yet remained unmoved by it all.
Ronald John Beards is remembered variously as a man who was imbued with a fine mind, great intellect, vast knowledge, wide learning, keen insights, tremendous wit, wisdom and character, and a broad-based range of talents and skills. He was aptly described as tough in endurance but gentle in nature, - a true survivor.
BEARE RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
2107, 17A Street, S. W.
Next only to those who paid the supreme sacrifice in His Majesty's Service must be ranked those who endured protracted suffering at the hands of the enemy without tasting death. Bankview's foremost example of this latter classification is young Harold Beare, who grew up at this address, son to Thomas H. and Joan F. Beare, before enlisting in the service of the Empire and surviving a lengthy and all but insufferable term as a Prisoner of War.
Of all the Bankview men who went to war, and of all the casualties, the seven known to have died and the living torments of men of valour such as Harold Beare must surely speak for all the rest.
The house is believed to have been erected circa 1910.
2111, 16 Street, S. W.
A former Bankview resident who had once lived here in his childhood years, Clarence Edgar Bell was one of seven Bankview people known to have laid down their lives on Active Service in the second World War. Flying Officer Bell was an air observer with the 419th Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force when he died for King and country on 13 October 1942 at the age of 22. He is buried at the Becklingen War Cemetery in Germany.
Clarence Bell had previously been rated as the most outstanding and promising student at Calgary's Central Collegiate Institute, (otherwise known as Central High School), the sandstone structure at 8 Street and 13 Avenue which was the first secondary school permanently built for the purpose at Calgary. His story represents a graphic example of how the atrocities of warfare claimed the cream of Canada's youth.
Clarence was son to Frank E. C. Bell and Anna Marie Bell, once of this address. Their home, constructed about 1909, ranks today as one of the oldest houses still standing in Bankview.
1502, 21 Avenue, S. W.
This upscale apartment block for many years bore and commemorated the name of Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture of the United States for two terms in the Cabinet of Dwight David Eisenhower, and afterward Prophet, Seer and Revelator and 13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who died at Salt Lake City on 30 May 1994. Members of The Church have maintained a significant presence in Bankview throughout most of its history.
As a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, it was also Ezra Taft Benson who earlier had been selected by Harry S Truman, President of the United States, to organise and lead the massive supply and relief efforts on behalf of the United States Government to the ravaged and destitute population of war-torn Europe at the close of the second World War.
Until his recent death on 10 May 1998, prominent Calgary heart surgeon Dr. Robert Harris Walker owned this building. His wife Barbara Benson Walker, daughter to Ezra Taft Benson, was well noted locally and abroad for her musical talents and abilities. One of their daughters achieved the unusual distinction of winning major beauty pageants successively both north and south of the 49th Parallel.
Dr. Walker served the Mormon Church long and faithfully as President of the local Calgary Alberta Stake of Zion, whose Stake Centre is located just beyond the western edge of Bankview, though still on the former Nimmons Ranch. It contains a Family History Centre which affords public access locally to the largest collection of genealogical research materials in the world.
2516, 14A Street, S. W.
This unassuming but cosy little corner house was home for nearly half a century to one of the foremost figures in Calgary's and Canada's journalism pantheon, the late Gerald E. "Gerry" Brawn. Perhaps no other name was more closely identified than his with the history and development of The Calgary Herald during the greater part of the course of the 20th Century. In fact Gerry Brawn was so synonymous with the daily paper itself that many people of all ages, and more especially the thousands of school children he befriended, knew him simply as "Mr. Herald".
Born about 1905 at or near the tiny hamlet of Wornditch in Kimbolton Parish, Huntingdonshire, England, youngest son to John Thomas Brawn, a gentleman farmer, and his wife the former Julia Ellis, Gerry Brawn grew up in the two-centuries-old 27-room family seat which sheltered 13 children by two marriages. He gained his education at Kimbolton, London and Bedford, and had already completed some four years' apprenticeship experience with The Bedford Times before emigrating to Canada by 1927 to join two elder brothers, Reginald J. and Edward, who had preceded him. (Edward "Ted" Brawn subsequently became one of Calgary's best-known Community service volunteers.)
Here Gerry spent a year engaging in farm work, including prairie threshing crews, before gravitating back to his first love, the journalistic life, by 1928 as a Herald cub reporter. Thus began an illustrious career which would span more than four decades in all.
Brawn advanced swiftly through the ranks, being appointed by 1934 to the editorial staff, where he would remain throughout the majority of his professional life, first as Telegraph Editor, then as News Editor for an astounding 19 years, and finally, from 1957 onward, as Assistant Editor of The Herald.
In 1963 he became Manager of Publicity and Promotions, in which capacity he is best remembered by the countless visitors, young and old alike, for whom, with his ready wit and charm, his genial smile and sense of humour, and his unfailing kindliness and courtesy, he unfolded and interpreted the fascinating mystique of the newspaper publishing process during innumerable personally guided tours which he shepherded through The Herald's downtown plant.
Gerry Brawn always kept well-informed and abreast of the latest developments in his ever-changing profession, and for some years in the latter part of his career he also served concurrently as Executive Secretary of the Alberta Press Council.
One of Brawn's other major contributions lies in the fact that he spent nearly a lifetime collecting and squirrelling away news cuttings, and writing out his own and others' recollections, both of the paper's own history and of Community and world events, to form the basis of The Herald's vast and extensive reference library today.
By the time he retired in 1970 at the age of 65, after some 42 years in harness, Gerry Brawn had witnessed expansion of The Herald's editorial department from about 20 employees to more than 70 personnel, and had seen the paper's overall circulation soar from about 27,000 to something in excess of 100,000, - a total greater than the entire population of Calgary when he first joined the staff!
Upon retirement the energetic Brawn remained actively involved as a founding Director of his son Bob's company, Turbo Resources, where he served as Assistant to the President and handled corporate Public Relations duties.
Apart from his arduous responsibilities, rigourous working hours and the onerous demands on his private life, Gerry Brawn always found time to devote to other avenues of Community service. Amongst his legion of outside activities and interests were the Canadian Red Cross, the Golden Age Club and the Boy Scouts of Canada, on the Executive of whose Calgary Regional Council he was a long-time member. In addition, beginning with wartime volunteerism, he spent nearly a quarter-century, from 1940 to 1963, pursuing his commitment as a reserve officer in the local militia, with The King's Own Calgary Regiment.
Gerry Brawn lived at this address in Bankview for almost 45 years, from the time of his marriage in August 1935 at Banff to Daisy Augusta Mamini, who had been previously residing here with her mother, Laura, a Countess and bank official, the then owner of the house. (Daisy's late father Giovanni had been an Italian Count and a distinguished Commander in the Royal Italian Navy in the service of His Majesty The King of Italy. Celebrated as something of a world traveller and adventurer, the Count had suffered an untimely end during a mountaineering expedition in the Swiss Alps.) After Gerry's death on 29 September 1979 at the Holy Cross Hospital in consequence of cancer, Daisy carried on here for several more years, - a period of residence well exceeding half a century in all.
The couple brought up their four children here, including three sons: Robert Gerald "Bob" Brawn, the prominent petroleum engineer, corporate executive, founder and President of Turbo Resources and President of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, who also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Organising Committee for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games at Calgary; Michael P. Brawn, afterward a well-known fire safety consultant and building inspector with the City Planning Department; and Professor Dr. C. Alan Brawn of The University of Calgary; as well as a daughter Lauretta H. "Laurie" Brawn.
Corporate executive Dean Brawn, son to Bob, served a number of years as a Director and an Executive Officer on the Board of Directors of The Alumni Association of The University of Calgary, finally becoming President of the 100,000-strong worldwide Association in 2003. For several years he was simultaneously a Senator of The University.
Mike's daughter and Gerry's granddaughter, the beautiful, charming, talented and accomplished artist, poet, musician and performer Lisa Lee Brawn, who, as a child on frequent visits to her grandparents, enjoyed the privilege of being permitted to clean her grandfather's trademark tobacco pipes, in later years made a considerable impact for herself on Calgary's arts scene and cultural world. In 2001 she opened Sugar, originally as a mobile gallery and studio on wheels travelling in a vintage motorhome called the "Sugarmobile", (itself a collector's item in its own right), which, however, facing the onslaught and rigours of a prairie winter, soon perforce sought refuge and settled into the historic sandstone Grain Exchange building downtown for the duration. Meanwhile in 1999 Miloslav "Milo" Dlouhy and Angela Inglis had established The Estate Gallery and Publishing House, and in 2002 the two separate operations, Sugar and The Estate, merged into one to form Sugar Estate Art Salon, Tea Room and Museum of Oddities.
The combined enterprise took up residence in May 2003 in a trendy and spacious old structure, exuding a charm and character of its own, directly behind and attached to Mayor Thomas Underwood's historic Western Block, barely a city block south of the former home of Lisa's Sugar Gallery, where it rapidly evolved into a social gathering place frequented by the cream of Calgary's arts Community as well as by other celebrities and close friends including internationally acclaimed athletes such as Tanya Dubnicoff and Clara Hughes. As co-founder, the enchanting and lovely Lisa thus became, in a very real sense, the "Sugar" in "Sugar Estate" until its dissolution at the end of October 2004.
BRITISH CONSULATE and CARRIAGE HOUSE, (BEVERIDGE / HAY RESIDENCES), and GUEST HOUSE, (SULLIVAN RESIDENCE), (the latter a designated "Century Home")
16A and 17 Streets at 21 Avenue, S. W.
This location presents one of Bankview's most curious unresolved enigmas. There is a time-honoured and persistent tradition and belief permeating the Community, which cannot be substantiated but must not be ignored, that this grouping once accommodated the British diplomatic establishment, or Consulate, at Calgary.
Consuls are usually local residents commissioned by the accrediting nation, but there has been no evidence forthcoming that anyone who ever lived here ever held such an exalted appointment to represent any foreign state, leave alone The United Kingdom. Nor has any traceable record yet emerged to suggest that any of these properties was ever either owned or leased by any national Government or subsidiary organ or agency, British or otherwise. Moreover, it was not then by any means the inherent inclination of His Majesty's Government to apply the style "Consul" to those manifesting its presence in other constituent elements of the Empire.
Be that as it may, however, the possibility of some such status at some point is not entirely ruled out, and the tale, as it has come down to us across the years, is in any case worth retelling even merely as a matter of local folklore. There is no doubt some kernel of truth at the core, despite whatever fabrications may have been built up around it with the passage of time.
With the exception of the newer apartment block now intruding on one corner of the former "Consulate Grounds", the other three buildings now completing more or less a square at the northern end of the block betwixt these two streets, south of 21 Avenue, supposedly once comprised the British Consular Compound. The three are separately interesting but remain historically inextricably intertwined.
The main Consul's Residence, if indeed such it ever was, still stands at 2211, 16A Street. Visible directly behind it is its former Carriage House and Stable, now 2208, 17 Street. Around the corner from both, at 1709, 21 Avenue, behind an impressive fieldstone wall and much foliage, is camouflaged the yellow Diplomatic Guest House*. Some of these structures are best viewed from the upper hillside on 17 Street. Together each of the trio would have played its own function in the presumed Consular establishment.
Particularly interesting is the so-called Carriage House, all three of whose levels can be observed from below on 16A Street, but which can be seen only from the top floor down at the 17 Street entrance. Each of the three storeys allegedly filled a different purpose. The bottom or lowest is said to have housed the Consul's carriages and buggies as well as the horses necessarily required for locomotion. Next up was the storage area for the hay and other fodder which fuelled these locomotives. On the highest level, with direct access and egress on 17 Street, were the servants' quarters for household and domestic staff and other employees not requiring equine propulsion.
However, not all the bipeds were accommodated with the quadrupeds, which brings one full circle back to the Guest House. Here were retained, as often as occasion demanded, certain ladies who attended to the needs and otherwise provided for the diplomatic (and sometimes not so diplomatic) entertainment and comfort of visiting dignitaries from foreign legations who would also be lodged in the house.
As will become readily apparent and obvious, some renovations have taken place and extensions have been added and expansions made to the original designs of some of the buildings by subsequent owners. They are now mostly converted to apartments as well.
One hypothesis has proposed that the entire "Consulate" speculation may have been simply nothing more than a ruse concocted by decent citizens as a euphemistic "cover-up" intended to mask the stigma of either a "house of ill repute" or even a full-blown "red light zone" operating in their neighbourhood. Conversely, it has also been held that such an illicit establishment may instead have been thus referred to as a "Consulate" locally merely as a wry joke. But, again, to add fuel to the fire, just perhaps certain official visitors of high rank may indeed from time to time have actually called upon the "ladies" of the house, in this out-of-the-way corner of town, in order, as it were, to pay their "diplomatic respects". From such clandestine incidents, however insignificant, the gossip mills have oft been known to churn out the stuff of legends.
This view is further reinforced by the fact that many other properties in the general vicinity in those early days, even as far back as the first subdivision in 1905, contained in their title deeds an unusual feature enforcing strict and graphic caveats or "restrictive covenants" specifically prohibiting any and all such dubious activities on the premises, the very inclusion of such clauses thus implying that something of the sort must have been already presenting a problem thereabouts.
Regardless of the verity or veracity of these mysteries, at least two very newsworthy Calgarians did indeed reside in these buildings when they were respectable boarding houses and private residences during the mid 1920s, - Thomas Beveridge and William E. Hay. Beveridge first lived about a year at 2211, then crossed over to 2208, whereupon Hay moved into the former place, and the two remained neighbours for some time.
The story of William Hay will be found with the account of his previous home, 1827, 18 Street. Thomas Beveridge, however, merits a few words herein.
Thomas' father, Peter Beveridge, had emigrated with his father about 1835 from Glasgow, Scotland to Nova Scotia, where he became a tanner by trade and married Highland-born Mary Johnston. Peter and Mary subsequently resettled on a farm near Collingwood, Ontario, and, still later, in the early 1870s, near Port Arthur, (now part of Thunder Bay). Of this union three sons, Thomas, Francis and Stephen, all would become significant figures in Calgary's earliest days.
Thomas Beveridge himself was born 7 February 1856. In 1871, before his 16th birthday, he accompanied the first CPR surveying party, and later was stationed near Lake Nipigon from about 1878 to 1885. In the latter year he arrived at Calgary on Railway service, and the rest of the family followed in succeeding years.
Thomas quickly pre-empted a half section of CPR land about four miles east of the Calgary Townsite, and soon bought another section adjacent. This homesite was the first land sold by the CPR in its new Irrigation District, and it was the irrigation system factor which proved the major drawing card yielding enormously high profits when he finally decided to sell up and move to Calgary in 1907.
Meanwhile, by the time the decade of the 1880s drew to a close, the parents, Peter and Mary, had also elected to take up farming near Springbank. The youngest of the three boys, Stephen, had already signed up with the Hudson's Bay Company and was transferred to Winnipeg about 1886. Later he travelled as a sales representative abroad before joining his parents and brother Thomas at Calgary. Francis had first come to Winnipeg with the CPR about 1877, then migrated to Chicago as a boilermaker, before spending another 11 years in the lumber industry at Duluth, Minnesota from about 1895 until 1906 when he, too, reached Calgary. In the interim he had been purchasing land around this area by mail through his brothers who were already engaging in real estate speculation here. Unfortunately the father, Peter, died 22 June 1901 aged about 70, before Francis' arrival, but the mother, Mary, survived to the age of 79, dying only on 19 January 1910.
When Thomas divested himself of his original property east of Calgary at a substantial gain, he promptly reinvested in real estate and development in the booming young City, and shortly thereafter opened an office in the old McDougall Block at 803, 1 Street, S. E. Not long afterward, the Beveridge Brothers constructed their flagship Beveridge Block only a slight distance away at 1 Street and 7 Avenue, S. E., where firms such as Crown Lumber figured amongst their upscale tenantry.
In partnership with Oscar Grant Devenish the "Brothers" also erected the red brick Devenish Apartments, now a commercial block, at 8 Street and 17 Avenue, S. W. A familiar and distinctive long, narrow structure situated on a wedge-shaped block at a fork in a roadway in Chinatown at 112 - 136, 2 Avenue S. E., also ranked as one of their creations. Initially known as the Flat Iron Building, it was so named for the larger original at Manhattan, New York, of which it was a scaled down replica. This replica is no longer standing, but has been since replaced by another almost unique edifice in the same shape as the wedged block itself.
Amongst their other vast and numerous holdings, the Beveridges once owned all the land now constituting the subdivision of Mount Pleasant on Calgary's North Hill, and were heavily involved with enterprises such as oilfield ventures at Turner Valley.
Another of their many adventurous and far-sighted plans was a concept for an Alberta Electric Railway, which would have linked much of Southern Alberta with lightweight, high-speed electrical commuter trains. Obviously a bit ahead of its time, the visionary project was sadly condemned and doomed to failure from the very outset and never really got off the drawing board.
Thomas Beveridge and his wife the former Janet Dewar, from Dundas County, Ontario, (to whom he was married 27 December 1893 at Calgary), had a spinster daughter, Emogene Belle, who earned a memorable place in her own right in Calgary lore through two distinguished careers. Belle was, first of all, a long-time schoolteacher who started off, as was customary in those days, in the one-room rural schools of Alberta, then advanced to spend some 23 eventful years at Calgary's historic Crescent Heights High School. She later left the educational field altogether for a second vocation as a popular member of the staff of the Calgary Public Library for another 19 years.
Thomas Beveridge also made his mark in Calgary life, as did other family members, as a strong supporter of the Liberal Party and the Baptist Church. He died 4 October 1928, aged 72, only a very short time after having abandoned his Bankview home for Mount Royal, and is buried with his parents and other relatives in the family plot at old Union Cemetery.
Rounding the corner, the reputed (or ill-reputed) Guest House at 1709, 21 Avenue appears to have been constructed about 1910 by contractor, realtor and speculator Jeremiah "Jerry" Sullivan, (1876 - 1939), ostensibly its first owner and, together with his first wife Florence Forrest and their young family, its first occupant. The Sullivans lived here about five or six years at most, then rented the place out until selling it about 1920.
Jerry was a native of County Cork, Ireland, who was brought to Alberta by his family about 1886 when he was about ten years of age. He lived on a ranch near Chestermere for some 22 years, then started his business at Calgary about 1908 during its great pre-war land and building boom. About 1925 he closed out his operations here and retired to a life of farming near Balzac. At his death in 1939 he was survived by his second wife Theresa, who lived until 1956, and several children by his first wife Florence.
Whilst a realty agent no doubt requires a certain degree of diplomacy and related persuasive skills, there is no reason to believe that in his professional life Jerry Sullivan ever held any such official dipomatic appointment, and the later history of the "Guest House", despite its grand appearance and scale, suggests nothing of the sort, either, in support of the inexplicable myth and mystery surrounding the premises.
* (Compiler's Footnote, 2013: Sadly, by the spring of 2013, despite its recognition as a "Century Home", the once beautiful residence had so far degenerated through poor renovations, neglect and vacancy owing to illness of its last owner, that his family took the decision to sell it for its high property value, to be followed undoubtedly by imminent demolition and redevelopment of the site. Many remarkable objects collected by the owner were discovered during the clearing process of the house and grounds, including a rare Borgward Isabella automobile made in Bremen, Germany in the late 1950s.)
BROCK / KLIMEK / SAUNDERS RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
2106, 18A Street, S. W.
This house is a typical example of a large number built during the period of economic boom preceding the first World War, - the two-storey "railroad" style of architecture, with front door off-centre and stairs on the left leading to the upper floor, as well as featuring a long hallway through to the kitchen and back door. It was most likely constructed about 1911, based on the fact that the following year it was listed as a "new house". A year later still, in 1913, Alfred C. Foster, a City labourer, appears as probably its first occupant.
From that day to this, excluding occasional periods of vacancy, approximately 30 separate families have occupied the structure, and it seems to have been partitioned into up and down units sometime round about the end of the second World War. A few of these residents may be regarded as newsworthy and of general interest.
For a couple of years at the beginning of the 1930s this edifice was home to the distinguished educator Milton Ward Brock and his family, during which time he was serving as Principal of nearby Mount Royal School.
Milton Brock was born 24 March 1889 at Wyevale, Ontario, of proud United Empire Loyalist lineage. He gained a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Toronto, before enlisting in the British Royal Flying Corps, (precursor to the Royal Air Force), toward the end of World War I. Discharged with the rank of Lieutenant, he almost immediately proceeded westward, taking up teaching duties at High Prairie in 1919. A year later he began his career as a school principal at Calgary, in which capacity he continued until retirement in 1957. Those nearly four decades spanned and embraced his Principalship of four different schools: Stanley Jones, Mount Royal, Victoria and finally King George.
Additionally, in 1924 Mr. Brock served as President of the Alberta Teachers' Association. During his lengthy involvement with the ATA he also introduced and sat as Chairman of its Pension Committee.
Milton W. Brock was a founding member and subsequently President of the Calgary Chapter of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada.
Principal Brock was married to the former May Elizabeth Cripps, who was born 10 March 1896 at Singhampton, and whom he predeceased 10 January 1984 at Calgary, at the age of 94. The pair are buried at Mountain View Memorial Gardens, Calgary.
Interestingly, during M. W. Brock's tenure at Mount Royal School and his residency in this house, the Principal of Bankview School was Miss Melissa M. Brock, whose relationship was not immediate. She had come west from Ontario in 1907, and taught at Mount Royal until 1919 when Bankview was opened and she was appointed its first Principal, in which office she presided until her own retirement in 1938. However, she never actually lived in Bankview. Miss Brock died at Calgary General Hospital in April 1954 and is interred at Union Cemetery.
Another couple who resided at this address for a few years, just after the close of World War II., early in their marriage, were William Ross Rogers and his wife Lorna. Ross was for many years a valued employee of companies such as Marshall-Wells and, later, Ashdown's Hardware. It appears the Rogers family occupied the upper premises, and after a time Ross' parents William and Evelyn joined them here in the lower suite. The senior couple remained for some years after the younger generation removed to a new home in Killarney. Many years later, in October 2007, their youngest daughter, who had not even been born when they lived here, had the misfortune to be the driver of a school bus which accidentally crashed on Crowchild Trail, near Sunalta School, tragically resulting in several serious injuries and the death of one young child.
In 1982 Lylian Klimek purchased the house and several years later renovated and restored the property, taking up residence here. She and Douglas Saunders were married in 2002 and subsequently continued residing at this address.
Lylian Klimek became a distinguished sculptor and installation artist, referred to as a major voice in concept/installation art in the Province. Her practice could be defined or described as "informed by investigation into socio-political issues as well as art issues", one focus being consumerism and the preoccupation with the commodity status of most manifestations of material culture including art. Beginning in 1998 she tended to draw upon science fiction and developments in the life sciences, especially biotechnology, as sources and resources for her work. The artwork created in response to this research provides a glimpse into a world where science fiction and science fact morph and new fantasy forms appear: alien, artificial hybrids which retain vestiges of their origin in the nature world, - the intent being to create works which are visually interesting and thought-provoking.
Lylian Klimek was born at Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Educated at The University of Saskatchewan and The University of Alberta, she first earned a Master's degree in Sociology. She worked at the Human Resources Research Council, a research facility focused on applied social science research, and the Worth Commission on Educational Planning for several years. She then changed professions and went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) with Distinction and a Master's degree in Visual Arts (MVA). She taught at The University of Alberta in the Department of Art and Design as a Sessional Instructor. In 1980 she began a 25-year career at the Alberta College of Art and Design teaching classes in sculpture, drawing and first year studies. She received a number of grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Canada Council. There is also an extensive written record of her work in the area of sculpture and installation.
Lylian Klimek became the subject of an impressive exhibition record, having exhibited work in solo and group shows across the country, primarily in public galleries and museums as well as artist-run centres. Her work is included in a number of private and public collections including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The University of Alberta, the Glenbow Museum and the Nickle Arts Museum.
Her husband Doug Saunders was a long-time employee of AGT/TELUS where he worked as a technician in a variety of positions, - installer, dispatcher, co-ordinator, and IT support. A highlight of his career was co-ordinating the broadcast audio for the 1988 Olympic Games at Calgary.
A passion for music led him into an early career as an audio technician and sound engineer, to which he later returned as a member of IATSE (the motion picture technicians' union) and recording in his home studio.
To help preserve the quality of the Community, Doug became involved in the Bankview Community Association and took on various responsibilities, including serving on the Board of Directors and the Public Service Committee, finally ending that aspect of his career as President of the Association.
In that pursuit he also contributed enormously to the proof-reading and designing of this book.
1826, 15 Street, S. W.
Miss Erma Brownscombe moved to this address from 1728, 13 Street, just outside of Bankview, about the beginning of the 1930s. Whilst at both addresses she taught at old Bankview School. Students, who adored her, used to gather at her home each noon-hour to accompany her back to school, despite the substantial inconvenience for those living further west of it. For more information refer to the article relative to the Bankview School.
Miss Brownscombe was the epitome of the caring teacher, truly involved in the individual lives of her many students. As recently as the late 1990s, although very aged herself, she was still living somewhere in Eastern Canada and still correspondung warmly with all her alumni who cared to write, some of whom were by then actually senior citizens themselves!
16 Street betwixt 21 and 23 Avenues, S. W.
Bankview's largest park fittingly bears the name of one of the Community's leading activists and best-known advocates, Professor Dr. Harvey Allan Buckmaster, a complex and fascinating man with a complex and fascinating mind embracing many interests and fields of endeavour. The Buckmaster residence in Bankview, known as "Ailsa Craig", is noticed in a separate article, (entitled "Webster / Buckmaster Residence"), but Dr. Buckmaster himself, despite his self-effacing modesty, richly merits and deserves further personal attention herein.
The Park's real roots date back to the placement of temporary experimental barriers installed throughout the Community as a traffic-calming measure in 1981, which were later made permanent, including one partially affecting that portion of 16 Street later incorporated into the Park. However, the Park itself was begun in earnest only in about 1985 and required the further purchase of five older residences and the complete closure of that small piece of 16 Street. Development and improvements continued even after formal dedication in 1991. So, in all, a full decade was expended from these first preliminary traffic diversion steps until the Park's dedication in honour of Harvey and Marg Buckmaster, a tribute recommended and demanded by numerous private Community residents in individual submissions to local officials.
Harvey A. Buckmaster was born and grew up in Calgary's Beltline area, son to Herbert James Buckmaster, a travelling sales representative dealing in farm implements and household and domestic appliances, one day to be honoured as the oldest active commercial traveller in Alberta.
In his youth Harvey, through a ticket-selling job, fortuitously won a free week at Camp Chief Hector, the YMCA summer camp at Lake Bow Fort near Seebe, which event may have first helped introduce him to the beauties of nature, partially setting the stage for the ardent environmentalist he was destined to become. So enchanted and entranced was he with this experience that he returned to spend seven summers there in all, eventually advancing to the staff as instructor in hobbying, as well as swimming and other outdoor pursuits.
It was there also that he first seriously took up his interest in photography, in the process gradually creating and amassing, largely inadvertently, a remarkable collection which would become of tremendous value in later years as a resource for historical and environmental research. However, in those days its main purpose was the pleasure he derived from his hobby, and the income generated by the occasional sale of a few pictures, which enabled him to indulge another passion, electronics.
As a teenager during World War II., when amateur radio was all the rage, Harvey learned to assemble electronic equipment at William "Bill" Smalley's shop, and soon joined a club for radio buffs. Although one might expect that this type of enthusiasm might have awakened his love of physics, it was not so. In High School he hated physics but enjoyed chemistry and mathematics, which were less intimidating to him.
At The University of Alberta he enrolled in physics regardless, and it took him three years of struggling to finally throw in the towel and switch programmes, adopting mathematics instead. From there he proceeded to The University of British Columbia for a Master's degree in the latter, but, upon completion of that course, and after having spent a summer at the Atomic Energy plant at Chalk River, Ontario, the relationships of physics to other disciplines finally became clear and he gained a new perspective and appreciation for the field. This discovery resulted in his proceeding toward a Ph.D in that subject after all.
His early inclinations now combined to lead him to specialise in the emerging fields of radio-astronomy and astro-photography during his postdoctoral work with Nobel Prize laureate Martin Ryle at Cambridge University in England in the mid 1950s. Upon his return he joined the academic staff of The University of Alberta, and transferred to its Calgary campus, UAC, (now The University of Calgary), at the time the present location was opened in north-west Calgary in 1960. Again his awareness had been further heightened as to the way all things relate, and the connexion of physics with biology, together with the realisation that not only do molecules commune with each other, but they also cease to communicate with the intervention of abnormalities such as malignancy. At the same time his natural tendency toward and affinity for scientific logic began to develop into sharpened skills of expression and persuasion in other areas as well, eventually leading this quiet, gentle and somewhat shy man into unlikely territory as a debater par excellence.
Convinced that not all discoveries, merely for their own sake, necessarily result in positive or progressive outcomes, and that sometimes they can even prove quite regressive and detrimental, Harvey Buckmaster began to gravitate more and more toward the activist left, often challenging current thinking as well as opposing the "powers that be". Many times his unorthodox positioning would place him in direct conflict with authority figures and the "Establishment", but Harvey was never one to be thus intimidated.
Two serious blows befell him in these early days. One was the untimely death of his first wife in only her 30s, which loss was in due course mitigated by his marriage to Margaret who was to become his ally and collaborator in all his future ventures. The other was an accidental fall in which he struck his head on a floor, precipitating three operations over a period of some 15 years, and the eventual failure of his sight in one eye regardless. He spent a year in hospital, but was not about to compromise or sacrifice the joys of photography, art, drama and the outdoors, especially hiking, as well as his environmental concerns. Indeed, so greatly had he missed these activities, that immediately upon discharge he organised and led an expedition on a weeklong wilderness backpacking trek!
A thoroughly comprehensive and exhaustive inventory of Harvey Buckmaster's contributions and accomplishments might well fill volumes, but a few highlights will perhaps suffice to provide some insight into his involvements in both academic and Community affairs. Prior to UAC's Autonomy as The U of C, he for three years acted as liaison betwixt the two major Alberta Campuses. Later, at the independent University, often much to the chagrin of his superiors, he championed such causes as The University of Calgary Faculty Association (TUCFA), the equivalent of a union for salary negotiating and bargaining rights and other work-related concerns, of which he was a Board member and President, and served on its Pension Committee. He sat as a General Faculties Councillor and a Governor of The University, in which capacities he vehemently opposed two-tier or differential fees for foreign students. He became also Chairman of a Committee to evaluate the Faculty of Education in Calgary. Those descriptions, however, offer scarcely an introduction to the scope of his efforts.
Probably even more importantly, Buckmaster was staunchly dedicated to matters of much greater import outside the Campus Community, and a considerable portion of his time was devoted to defending heritage preservation, natural conservation, designation of parks and public spaces, as well as Community improvement and quality of life, particularly, but not exclusively, as it affected Bankview. He fought equally diligently at all levels for the establishment of Nose Hill Municipal Park and Fish Creek Provincial Park, and in behalf of the Rocky Mountain National Parks in general, as well as small local parklands at home in Bankview, of which he was a long-time Director and President of the Community Association and, as such, instrumental in bringing forth its vital Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), largely ensuring Bankview's survival as a viable neighbourhood. On the Nose Hill project alone, he often acted on behalf of the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada (NPPAC), and, according to one modest estimate, attended and participated in at least 40 meetings in a single year on this topic alone!
In the end, his impressive powers of reasoning, his obvious fairness and sense of sincerity, and his reputation for sterling integrity not only won him many friends, but won the respect of opponents as well. At home in Bankview he was honoured in 1991 by the naming of the Community's largest park, which he had done so much to create, and, professionally, his colleagues at The University of Calgary, after retirement, brought him back in 2004 to confer upon him, at Convocation, The U of C's second-highest Award, that of membership in the prestigious Order of The University of Calgary.
On the latter occasion, The University itself summed up his life and times in these words: "Harvey Buckmaster began his career as a research physicist at The U of C and became an integral part of The University’s early development and its drive for excellence. He published widely, and combined outstanding scholarship with extensive service to his profession, to The University and also to the wider Community".
CALGARY ALBERTA STAKE CENTRE / CALGARY FAMILY HISTORY CENTRE
2021, 17 Avenue, S. W.
In the Latter-day Saint (or "Mormon") faith, a Stake Centre is the principal Church Meetinghouse for a geographical area known as a Stake of Zion. A Stake is roughly equivalent to the unit some churches call a "diocese" and is led by a Stake President, assisted by his two Counselors in the Stake Presidency and the 12 members of the Stake High Council. A Stake is further divided into several geographic Wards, (or Branches if they are very small), similar to parishes, each consisting of one congregation presided over by a Ward Bishop or a Branch President, as the case may be, with his two Counselors. When Wards or Branches become too large, they are subdivided, and when Stakes develop too many Wards and Branches, they too are split. Thus The Church grows exponentially by a process somewhat akin to "cell division".
The term "Stake" derives from the doctrinal concept of Zion (The Church) enveloping the whole earth much as a tent, which in turn is held in place by its stakes.
Typically there will be several Meetinghouses, otherwise referred to as "Chapels", within a given Stake, and each will accommodate several Wards and Branches, meeting in three-hour Sunday "meeting blocks", at different times of day. These blocks consist of three instruction periods, some for all members, and others separated by criteria such as age and experience, gender, etc. The Stake Centre too functions as a regular Meetinghouse for several Wards or Branches, but contains in addition office and meeting space for the Stake Presidency and High Council. Likewise, it is usually, unless in exceptional cases, the only building within the Stake which includes facilities such as a Baptismal font or a satellite receiving dish for Church broadcasts. In the event of Stakewide occasions, such as a broadcast from Salt Lake City, or general Stake Conferences or other meetings, members will gather here from all the Wards and Branches within the Stake.
It is interesting to note that in this fastest-growing of all worldwide Christian denominations, no Church building is ever either mortgaged, or insured against physical damage or destruction. All such transactions are conducted strictly in cash alone.
In Calgary the development of The Church has followed a steady pattern of growth. The first formal Church meeting locally of humanity's original Christian faith was held 2 February 1913 in a little private house, not far from present-day Bankview, and, shortly afterward, on 10 March 1913 the Calgary Branch was formed as a dependent Branch of the Alberta Stake of Zion, the original Stake formed at Cardston by the first Mormon settlers from Utah, who arrived in the late 1880s. Soon the Branch rented a vacant Methodist Church building in the Beltline, which served until the original Crescent Road Chapel was opened. On 10 November 1921, with 149 members, it was reorganised as an independent Branch within the newly-created Lethbridge Stake. On 12 August 1923 the Calgary Branch was upgraded to become the Calgary First Ward, although still in the same Stake. Some 30 years later Calgary, through a further division, received its own Calgary Stake, continuing to meet, pending erection of a Stake Centre, in the present Crescent Road Chapel, built at the end of the 1940s, which, though now in a different Stake, still remains the oldest surviving active Meetinghouse of The Church in this City.
Located slightly beyond the very westernmost edge of today's Bankview, albeit still on former Nimmons property, the Stake Centre of the Calgary Alberta Stake of Zion, with its imposing spire, is one of the dominant features of the local Community. The sprawling two-storey edifice was formally dedicated on 16 September 1956 by 83-year-old David Oman McKay, Prophet, Seer and Revelator and ninth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who travelled to Calgary from Salt Lake City for the ceremony.
The first Stake President to preside over this Stake upon its organisation in November 1953, and still holding Office at the time of the building's dedication in 1956, was Nathan Eldon Tanner, who achieved numerous honours and distinctions in his long lifetime. He was a member of the Aberhart team in the massive Social Credit sweep of 1935, and, amongst many other accomplishments, served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Speaker of the House and finally a Minister of The Crown in the Provincial Cabinet of Alberta. Eldon Tanner was also instrumental in the laying of the vital Trans-Canada Pipeline, of which project he functioned as Chairman of the Board.
At the time of his death at Salt Lake City on 27 November 1982 at the age of 84, N. Eldon Tanner occupied the second-highest Office in the entire worldwide Mormon faith, that of First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church.
The Calgary Alberta Stake Centre today hosts within its walls a Family History Centre which is a branch of the largest Genealogical Library on earth, and invites the general public to conduct personal research here, with free-of-charge, hands-on guidance and help by skilled consultants provided on site for the purpose. Indeed, many of these staff volunteers are not even members of The Church, and at least as many non-members as members avail themselves of the service. Religion is not a topic for discussion here except where relevant to research, or unless specifically asked or enquired about.
Unfortunately, despite its many good works and positive contributions in so many ways across such a lengthy period of time, The Church in this area of the country has developed and perpetuated even in recent years one, though only one, Achilles' heel, which has embroiled it in deep controversy, gained it many enemies, and threatens much damage to its success and to the otherwise high repute and esteem in which it is generally held. Although it would officially deny the fact, it by its own actions effectively repudiates and demeans Her Majesty's Dominion of Canada, which affords it a home, and, by extension, God's own British Empire; and instead continues inexplicably to deliberately foster the distasteful stereotype of its being a "Yankee Church".
In this it persists even in conscious defiance of the direct advice and counsel of its own leaders who have repeatedly urged and emphasised loyalty to one's own land, - and despite its professed pride in the very fact that it is now so international that more than half its membership resides outside the North American continent!
One sad manifestation of this idiosyncratic and paradoxical contradiction has been the fact that congregations throughout this region still routinely sing provocative "Yankee" patriotic songs during their Sacrament Services and other meetings, - even for Dominion Day, the Nation's Birthday. Members have even been known on that occasion to wear obscene and hateful symbols such as Stars and Stripes ties or pins replicating the abhorrent and despised "Yankee rebel rag" or "Star-splattered rag", ridiculously suggesting and implying that they are unable even to distinguish the conflict betwixt the First and Fourth of July and the very distinct differences in principles which the two dates independently enshrine. This has many times resulted in worthy members having to walk indignantly out of the Chapel in protest at such unseemly moments.
The passing of two sacrosanct Royal Personages during 2002, including an anointed Queen, apparently went entirely unnoticed, unmarked and unmentioned during Church meetings, further driving out and forcing devout members to visit Memorial Services in other denominations instead. The same irreverent attitude or absence of reverence was the case with regard to Commemorative Services for the Golden Jubilee of the Reign of The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty the same summer. Likewise on none of these occasions was a flag anywhere in evidence on Church flagpoles, although south of the Border flags are regularly and routinely flown outside Meetinghouses. Yet The Church was somehow able, hypocritically, to declare a highly divisive Memorial Service following certain irrelevant actions at the World Trade Centre in New York City the preceding September!
Finally, local Wards remained apparently blissfully ignorant of and oblivious to the true facts of the matter, and to the unacceptable message they were projecting, even despite their being surrounded by tens of thousands of Calgarians, hundreds of thousands of Canadians and countless millions around the world loudly protesting, voicing their opposition to, and denouncing and disavowing all affiliation with "Yankeeism" during the winter, spring and summer of 2003 and onward, with numbers growing exponentially by the very day with regard to the arbitrary Bush attack against Iraq. Indeed many Church members and local leaders, including more than one duly ordained Bishop, imbued and redolent with blind right-wing extremist propaganda, openly flaunted support for such atrocities and labelled the perpetrators as "men of integrity"!
This entrenched behaviour pattern, which is not doctrine, nor even policy, but merely a petty habit foolishly clung to by certain "closet Yankees" in their midst, has proven extremely offensive and an outright obscenity and abomination to many both within and without The Church, and may yet have the effect of bringing much grief down upon their heads, inasmuch as loyal citizens and organisations have lately threatened to expose it in the media, and there has been a call for the general population at large to join in condemnation of this silly, inane and pointless practice, and in embarrassing and shaming them out of this bizarre misconduct through a public pressure and awareness campaign.
This question of allegiance (or lack of it) alone would seem a serious enough moral issue indeed for an organisation traditionally so demonstrably sensitive of its own public image and reputation, and appears tantamount to "shooting oneself in the foot". But it does not end there. Finally, to underscore the significance and importance attached to this matter of gross indecency and immorality, about which some seem so intransigent and defiant, or which problem, in any case, they simply in callous and cavalier fashion ignore, laugh off, or fail to recognise or take seriously, at least one faithful Latter-day Saint loyal to this land has additionally announced a pending religious fast, outwardly similar to a hunger strike "to the death" if necessary, unless The Church soon mends its ways, - thus potentially forcing it into the eminently unenviable position of having to publicly choose betwixt the voluntary and purposeless singing, for no sensible or valid reason, of wretched "Yankee rebel ditties" which offend many, and the life of a good Church member.
"CENTURY HOMES" IN BANKVIEW
Situated throughout the Community
Nearly 250 residences still standing in Bankview have been identified as "Century Homes", dating from at least the time of the great land boom and expansion preceding the first World War, of which incredible total, remarkable for any Community, some 67 were officially registered by their respective owners as participants in a special commemoration during the 22nd Annual Historic Calgary Week, 27 July - 3 August 2012. Of these, 13 are featured in separate articles herein for other historical reasons, and are specially so indicated. The remaining 54 are to be enjoyed at the following locations scattered throughout Bankview. Inasmuch as their details are lodged with the Local History Collection of the Calgary Public Library, it is felt unnecessary to repeat same in this work.
On 14A Street: 2109, 2115, 2202, 2204, 2206, 2207, 2208, 2209, 2219, 2220, 2611 and 2622.
On 15 Street: 1828, 2119/2121, 2123, 2306, 2413, 2415, 2419, 2421, 2610, 2617 and 2619.
On 16 Street: 2119, 2315, 2410, 2412, 2414 and 2502.
On 16A Street: 2130.
On 17A Street: 2125 and 2510.
On 18 Street: 2107, 2110, 2112, 2118, 2122 and 2124.
On 18A Street: 1819, 1839, 2210 and 2221.
On 19 Avenue: 1437, 1447/1449, 1513 and 2007.
On 21 Avenue: 1505.
On 22 Avenue: 1505.
On 25 Avenue: 1501, 1505, 1507, 1511, 1513 and 1515.
The Century Homes project, which embraced a total of 508 houses in 30 different Calgary Communities, with Bankview's contribution, organised and coordinated by Terry MacKenzie, being the most spectacular, caught the national spotlight and Calgary as a result was presented with The Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming, outstripping all other cities in Canada. The Award was created by Canada’s History Society to recognise programming developed by volunteer-led heritage, Community and cultural organisations at the local level.
Members of the Century Homes Calgary Organising Committee travelled to Ottawa to receive this prestigious honour in person from His Excellency The Right Honourable David Lloyd Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during a ceremony at Rideau Hall at 10:30 on the morning of Monday, 10 December 2012.
The Award judges considered a variety of criteria when evaluating the submissions, including audience reach, historical research and innovation. According to Joanna Dawson, Community Engagement Coordinator of Canada’s History Society, Century Homes Calgary stood out because of its significant impact on the Community in terms both of the number of participants in the project and the number of those who will benefit from the legacy of the research in future years.
In view of this tremendous success, and the phenomenal number of people who signed up to conduct research and display their passion for their Century Homes with signs and banners in the first year, plans were soon underway for a second year of the event with a further expanded collection of Century Homes during Historic Calgary Week 2013. Although Century Homes Calgary was originally conceived as a one-time project, a follow-up survey of participants showed 90% wanted it to continue annually, and applications for participation continue being received. The intention and goal is to thus increase awareness and appreciation of Calgary’s heritage homes by engaging the people who live in them.
Century Homes Calgary 2012 was a grass roots initiative celebrating houses built during Calgary's first major building boom about 1912. This project was spearheaded by the Calgary Heritage Initiative together with the Calgary Public Library, the Federation of Calgary Communities, the Calgary Heritage Authority, the Cliff Bungalow-Mission Community Association and Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association. Most of the 508 entrants researched their own homes, showcased banners and created and displayed yard signs with historical information during Historic Calgary Week 2012. The project attracted widespread public and media attention culminating, as stated, in its winning of the 2012 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Community Programming, for fostering Community pride and enhancing civic memory. The photographs of the houses and the yard signs were deposited with the Calgary Public Library for its Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library as a legacy database which will benefit countless future researchers.
Even though Bankview has now been thus inhabited as a subdivision, at first without and then within Calgary, for well more than one hundred years, there yet remains one outstanding unresolved question, namely: What are Bankview residents, past or present, (those who have lived in or who now live in these and other homes in the Community), actually called? Are they known collectively and generically as Bankviewers, Bankviewites, Bankviewans, Bankviewians, or even something entirely different? Perhaps this is the time to call for suggestions from all interested persons, with the most frequently submitted choice being accepted as official!
DLOUHY RESIDENCE / HATCHET MURDER SCENE
2503, 17 Street, S. W.
About 1989 Miloslav "Milo" Dlouhy, then on his way to becoming one of Calgary's most talented artists and eventual co-owner of Sugar Estate, one of this City's most popular 21st Century galleries, was residing here in Apartment 301 on the third floor of this quiet Bankview apartment building directly across the street from the Community Association.
Late one night Milo's buzzer rang, but, tired, weary and exhausted, and perhaps slightly wary of the purposes and intent of the mysterious caller, he chose to ignore the summons. Then, leaving for work early the next morning, he was more than a little surprised, perplexed and disconcerted to discover copious quantities of blood and gore bespattering the entrance foyer of the building, in the area where the buzzer buttons were located.
Only later, when he learned that a brutal hatchet murder had occurred in the vicinity roughly about the same time as his experience the night before, and that the body had still been lying outside the building when he had exited that morning, did he realise, to his dismay, that his strange visitor had undoubtedly been the victim of one of the Community's most shocking horrors ever, and that the subject must have been frantically and desperately seeking refuge by randomly buzzing apartments in the building.
FAIRLEY RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
2215, 14A Street, S. W.
George Fairley and his family lived at this address in Bankview only a very few years in the 1920s, but their connexion with and effect upon the Community and its residents extended far beyond. Their original shop, though never located in the Community per se, was Bankview's principal source of fresh meat for several generations, and the deals it offered became legendary and the subject of folklore.
George started out about 1913 as clerk to William Fisher, who operated the Central Meat Market, owned by one of the Burns companies, at 1603, 14 Street, S. W. The following year he was transferred to another Burns property, the South West Meat Market, at 2203, 4 Avenue, S. W. During this time he must have learned the business well, inasmuch as by 1915 he was back at Central as its manager in succession to Fisher.
In the coming years Central became a family operation as George employed two sons Andrew T. and Henry G. (better known as "Harry") at various functions in the shop. Andrew worked mostly as a meat cutter or butcher, although occasionally serving as the company's driver and delivery man, whilst Harry alternated betwixt cutting and butchering and acting as his father's clerk.
About 1919 George became proprietor of Central in his own right, and the family left the North Hill to take up residence at this house in Bankview, much closer to the family business. Within a decade they would remove from Bankview to Sunalta, but their relationship with the Bankview Community continued to expand and flourish. The arrangement at the shop remained much the same until about 1940, when George himself effectively retired and Harry assumed control at Central, which by this time had become popularly known as "Fairley's". At about the same time, Andrew had taken over the reins of an older establishment and opened a similar business, Prospect Meats, on his own account much further south at 2609, 14 Street, just technically within Bankview.
Now the operation began to expand. Within another ten years, Andrew and his wife Amy were running the Prospect location, Harry and his wife Agnes ("Nancy") owned Fairley's Meat Market at 1408, 17 Avenue, and yet another shop, Fairley's Altadore Meat Market, at 1929, 34 Avenue, was managed by Bradford G. Siegrist. By about 1950 the Altadore branch was sold and moved to 2035, 33 Avenue, in the Marda Loop district. There was also a head office at 1410, 12 Avenue, S. W.
In the mid 1950s the brothers again merged operations, and the Prospect Meat Market at 2609, 14 Street became Fairley's Food Market with an address change to 2613, Duncan Mackellar becoming a third partner there. By 1960 this would be the sole remaining part of the operation, the rest having been disposed of along the way, and with the same three men continuing as owners. Then within another five years Harry Fairley retired, leaving Andrew as President and Mackellar as Vice President.
Five more years passed and Andrew too had retired, being succeeded as President by Roy R. Barr, and with Duncan Mackellar staying on as a Director. Thus the venerable company entered the 1970s, and within another few years Allan Stuart Mackellar would join them as Vice President. The Barr - Mackellar proprietorship would remain static for about another 15 years, continuing to feature its traditional meats, cheeses, deli and grocery departments. Then a couple of relocations followed during the 1990s and by 1997 the firm found itself at 6449 Crowchild, far from its original roots and clientele. It closed its doors for the last time just on the eve of the new Millennium.
2510, 16A Street, S. W.
Given the substantial cost and daunting labour involved in collecting and building with naturally-occurring fieldstone, which, despite its ready availability, rendered it prohibitive as a construction material for the average citizen, and without conducting a full-scale land titles search or exhaustive tax assessment analysis, it seems safe to offer an educated conjecture that this small but uniquely remarkable structure was probably erected by someone of considerable means, likely an absentee landlord, on speculation, and let out for the first few years of its life to a rapid succession of short-term tenants as a rental property until eventually sold.
This theory seems largely borne out by a cursory examination of its early occupants. In 1912 the building was described as a "new house" presumably not yet inhabited, and the following year a carpenter, Roger Cransberry, was in residence here. He was probably the first occupant, but seems to have remained only a year until Alexander Wright, a steamfitter for Marr's Plumbing and Heating Company, took over. These are typical representatives of the working-class individuals who began flowing into Bankview at the time, as it became more and more a "dormitory" Community, and public transit enabled people to begin commuting more, rather than being constrained by circumstances to reside nearer their worksites.
Alex Wright likewise lasted only a year, to be superseded by one John C. Bleaker. In the three years the Bleaker family lived here, John the first year was a compositor or typesetter for The Calgary News-Telegram, and in the second year had enlisted and was shown as absent on Active Service in the first World War. Perhaps he may have been injured and invalided home, as by the next year he was back and working as a proofreader for The Calgary Herald.
James Findlay, dispenser for the family-owned Findlay's Drugs, was the next to take up residence, followed only a year later by Silas Patton, who likewise vacated by the following year.
At this point something changes, possibly a sale of the house, as the next occupants, Robert and Ada Stewart, remained in residence nearly 40 years. During most of this time, in his working life, Robert was a printer for The Herald, but retired in the late 1940s and continued living here in his retirement years.
Next, about 1959, came Rudolf and Herta Klann, who remained more than a decade, during which time Rudolf started out as a subcontractor and finished as a driver for the Crown Seed and Feed Company, whilst Herta, a nurse, worked consistently in that profession, mostly at the Holy Cross Hospital. After them, for about four or five years in the early 1970s, the place was home to Lother and Sonja Schuhbauer. Lothar was a floor layer for Gunther's Interiors.
From that time forth, until very recently, the historic and architecturally unique edifice apparently reverted again to shorter-term residencies, and, as a rough estimate, perhaps as many as 20 to 30 different parties have during the intervening period called it home, the vast majority including such professions as truck drivers, mechanics and data entry operators. So it might be said that as it began, so it stands, as a standard working-class home, despite its opulent appearance and façade.
FOLLETT RESIDENCE, (demolished)
2107, 14 Street, S. W.
Born in 1880 at Western Bay on the Avalon Peninsula of the then British Colony of Newfoundland, Joseph Vincent Follett was educated at Methodist College at St. John's, (later known as Prince of Wales Collegiate Institute), after which he taught school in that place for five years. Following this he left for medical studies at The University of Toronto, from which he graduated in 1910 at the age of 29 with the Silver Medal in his field. Whilst there he had also been a charter member of the Toronto chapter of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and was subsequently elected to the honourary medical fraternity Alpha Omega Alpha.
After a year's internship at Toronto Western Hospital, J. V. Follett chose to journey West, opening his first practice at Exshaw in 1911. In 1914 he settled at Calgary, making his first home briefly at 1801, 26 Avenue, technically just over the line in South Calgary, but soon relocated to this house on 14 Street in Bankview, where he spent much of his professional career. It was here that he was living when, on 15 December 1919, the now legendary streetcar crash occurred at the intersection only about a block away. Just rising for the day, Dr. Follett overheard the dreadful, grinding din and was the first professional to respond to the scene.
Dr. Follett enjoyed a distinguished career in the Calgary medical Community and in public service. He practised at one time or another at all Calgary's major medical facilities of the time, including the General, the Holy Cross and the Grace Hospitals, and served as a member of the Board of the Red Cross Crippled Children's Hospital, (now the Alberta Children's Hospital). In addition he had been a founding member of the original Board of Wood's Christian Home, and later, for many years, was its Vice Chairman and Chief Medical Officer.
Other service in the medical profession included, in no fixed order, stints as President of the Calgary and District Medical Society, (and 20 years as its Treasurer), and a member of the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. In return he was honoured in old age in 1955 as an Honourary Life Member of the former; and in October 1958, only two months prior to his death, he was awarded Honourary Life Membership in the Alberta Division of the Canadian Medical Association.
Joseph Vincent Follett was equally active throughout his life in religious and fraternal affiliations and service groups and organisations. He was for 23 years Secretary of the Official Board of Wesley United (formerly Methodist) Church, and at the end of his tenure was granted Honourary Board Membership for life. Prominent in Freemasonry, he was Master of Ashlar Lodge and District Deputy Grand Master, attaining also the 33rd Degree of the Scottish Rite of the Masonic Order, and the status of a Royal Arch Mason. As such, he was eventually elevated to the rank of Grand First Principal of the Royal Arch of Alberta, served as Prior of the Alberta Preceptory, and became Potentate of the Al Azhar Temple in the Order of the Mystic Shrine, (otherwise more commonly known as the "Shriners"). He was moreover a member of the Royal Order of Scotland, of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantinople, and of the Zadok Council. One of the highest honours received in his lifetime was that of Knight Commander of the Temple of the Preceptory.
Recreationally, Dr. J. V. Follett was a member of the Calgary Golf and Country Club, and socially he was much involved in a number of service associations including the Downtown Kiwanis. He was esteemed by many, as evidenced by the numerous awards and tributes conferred upon him during his long life.
In later years the Folletts crossed 17 Avenue to Scarboro, where the doctor eventually died at his residence, 403 Superior Avenue, on 13 December 1958 at the age of 78. Three days later, after services at historic Wesley United Church, he was buried at Queen's Park Cemetery, where he was joined by his wife Elizabeth Mary following her death in April 1964.
14 Street and 17 Avenue, S. W.
The Bankview Community is one of four historic Calgary subdivisions which meet at this intersection. This is largely because it marks the junction of four formerly rural sections of land which were subsequently independently developed. Inasmuch as the Canadian Pacific Railway was granted all odd-numbered sections within 24 miles on either side of its trackbed, (amounting in practical terms to one-half the total, arranged in checkerboard fashion), Section 17 on the north-west corner and Section 9 on the south-east belonged to and were developed by the CPR as its own property.
The quarter of CPR Section 17 abutting on this intersection is now Sunalta and its later spin-off Scarboro, whilst the quarter of CPR Section 9 diagonally opposite has become Mount Royal. To the north-east lies Connaught, on the nearest quarter of Section 16, (the only one of the four districts whose territory was contained within the bounds of the original Town of Calgary), and to the south-west is Bankview. The latter is located on a quarter of Section 8, formerly part of the Hudson's Bay Company land reserve until becoming the Nimmons 3-D-Bar Ranch about 1882.
From Town Incorporation in 1884 until expansion and annexation of Sections 8 and 17 (together with others) in 1907, 14 Street formed the westernmost limits of Calgary, and until 1893 it was actually known as 1 Street, (though quite separate from the later 1 Street in Bankview, now 14A Street). The Townsite from 1884 to 1907 consisted of only three sections, (technically those portions of Sections 14, 15 and 16 lying south of the Bow River), with 17 Avenue demarcating its southern boundary.
Prior to annexation, as was a common pioneer custom, the crossroads and environs came to be occasionally referred to colloquially as "Nimmons' Corners", after the principal neighbouring family.
Note that the buildings on three of the four corners still have doors facing at a diagonal attitude* directly into the intersection.
This intersection, and more particularly the pharmacy on the north-east, provided the scene for a spectacular tragedy on 15 December 1919. Early that Monday morning an out-of-control streetcar, unable to regulate its descent down the steeply-inclined and slippery 14 Street hill, derailed and crashed into this little shop, resulting in massive damage, severe injuries and loss of one life.
There was a somewhat eerie recurrence of this event at this same location more than a quarter-century later, on 29 January 1946, very similar in details except that this time, mercifully, there were no deaths or even any particularly serious injuries.
According to some old-timers, this may have actually marked at least the third such occasion, the first having allegedly occurred as early as 1915; however, this urban legend is in considerable doubt. Reliable reports of more modern provenance, however, also place a Calgary Transit motorbus inside the shop at a much later era, long after dissolution of the streetcar fleet.
One other memorable and noteworthy occurrence took place here, in the opposite direction, about 1927, when a Model "A" Ford Sedan, attempting, as a promotional stunt for an early automotives dealer, a reckless test run in high gear up the slope from 17 Avenue to 26 Avenue, attained an unprecedented breakneck speed of some 30 miles per hour! It is said, or has been averred, on good, substantive, reliable authority, that the experiment was thereafter repeated on several subsequent occasions, including test drives with prospective purchasers, allegedly with varying results or degrees of success.
Finally, from this point, on the pleasant afternoon of Friday, 26 May 1939, barely three months before the outbreak of war, exuberant Bankview citizens eagerly flocked a few blocks northward to witness the Royal Procession escorting their gracious Sovereign Liege Lord and Lady, Their Majesties King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth, through the streets of Calgary during the first-ever visit by a reigning Monarch of the Realm, - Calgary's most shining moment and a defining event which would forever remain indelibly etched in the Canadian psyche.
On that occasion the civic population swelled dramatically, literally overnight, with humble farm folk and others from the rural ranchlands and scattered hamlets of central and southern Alberta travelling by the thousands doggedly and determinedly all night over treacherous mud-soaked trails simply for the treasured privilege of even a fleeting glimpse of their cherished Royal couple.
The 11 automobiles forming the Royal motorcade proceeded south on 14 Street, then turned east along 13 Avenue, which was lined solidly by contingents of school children from local Communities including Bankview. Various parts of the route honoured specific interest groups and organisations or recognised different aspects and elements of Calgary life and culture. The 13 Avenue segment was assigned as a special tribute to youth and a salute to education, - a choice highly endorsed by, and dear to the hearts of, Their Majesties' loyal subjects in Bankview.
* (Compiler' Footnote: One of the three, the former Crooks' Drugs building on the north-east corner, has since been lost to a devastating fire.)
2204, 18A Street, S. W.
One of Bankview's most outstanding landmarks, the Dome, (otherwise known to local children as the "Soccerball"), was constructed as a stand-alone structure without the later additions, by professional engineer Chris Elms from a prefabricated kit, possibly advertised through the hippie-based ecology movement's Whole Earth Catalogue.
The package, as marketed, included plans adapted from a concept originally developed and promoted by world-renowned "thinkmaster" Richard Buckminster Fuller, who had first popularised the notion about 1951, with a major revival from the mid 1960s onward, as a futuristic means of conserving energy more effectively and efficiently whilst also consuming up to perhaps a third less building material.
Soon, Frank Bailey, an ex-Saskatchewanite transferred here from Vancouver, British Columbia, and a staunch adherent of the movement, became enamoured of the Bankview Dome. Bailey had his heart set on acquiring a Geodesic Dome as his own residence without wishing to construct one himself. At the time there were only two examples in all Calgary, and he greatly preferred this one, although neither was available for sale.
Undeterred, Bailey pursued the dream, repeatedly badgering the Elms family to sell, until, unexpectedly but much to his convenience, the owner, Chris, was accidentally killed by an avalanche on a skiing holiday. A short time later, in 1978, Bailey was finally able to persuade the widow to relinquish the highly prized and much sought-after property.
Bailey promptly gutted and redeveloped the interior, then in 1991 he added the pyramid and skewed rectangle designed by local architect Jeremy Sturgess, who himself would one day become a close neighbour in Bankview. The pyramid was thought to concentrate energy in a more functional fashion, and the overall structure moreover incorporates and exhibits considerable influence from Chinese Feng Shui philosophy as well.
The Dome proper was at first composed of fibreglass but is now covered in a foam-like substance which has proved much more durable in the local environment and has held up without further problems over the ensuing years. Alas, however, its time seems at last to have passed, and, dwindling in trendiness, the Dome portion itself is now all but abandoned in terms of living quarters, (except for plant life), in favour of the adjacent newer accretions and extensions.
GOLDFELDT GREENHOUSES, (demolished), and GOLDFELDT RESIDENCE / BEARDS RESIDENCE, (first)
16 and 16A Streets near 24 Avenue, S. W.
In the early 1960s a retired Calgary Transit driver turned a part-time gardening hobby into a full-time successful business which lasted more than 15 years.
Ejvind and Doris Goldfeldt were living at that time at 2416, 16A Street, and they opened their extensive nursery and florist operation directly behind the house, on the lot designated 2409, 16 Street, there being no alley separating the two. Although they continued the enterprise here until the late 1970s, the Goldfeldts themselves moved within a very few years to a newer home in University Heights.
During those years many of the floral and plant needs of Bankview residents and of citizens of the surrounding Communities in general were met and satisfied by this enterprising company.
An apartment block has since sprouted on the former nursery grounds. It now bears the number 2419, 16 Street, and, during the early 1980s, its Suite 204 was briefly the first Bankview home of Ronald J. Beards, the renowned "Bankview Bottle Picker". For his story refer also to the second Beards residence, at 2216, 17B Street.
GORDON L. ATKINS AND ASSOCIATES, (earlier), (demolished)
1451a, 21 Avenue, S. W.
The previous headquarters of Gordon L. Atkins and Associates, Architects, has been obliterated by the current large apartment complex. For more information concerning this pre-eminent firm, refer also to the article relating to its later location at 1909, 17 Avenue, S. W.
GORDON L. ATKINS AND ASSOCIATES, (later), (a designated "Century Home")
1909, 17 Avenue, S. W.
Regarded by many in its time as one of Bankview's most appealing structures, this turreted two-storey house with an attic above has ironically spent the greater part of its more recent history not as a private home but, rather, as an office building.
In the early 1970s the renowned architectural firm of Gordon L. Atkins and Associates moved its headquarters here from its previous location at 1451a, 21 Avenue, (also in Bankview but since demolished), and remained nearly a quarter of a century, until the late 1990s, when its eminent founder and principal, Gordon L. Atkins himself, finally retired. Thus, the bulk of Atkins' finest and most celebrated works were conceived and created here in this very building.
Gordon Lee Atkins was born 5 March 1937 at Calgary, but grew up mainly at Cardston. From 1955 to 1960 he attended The University of Washington, at Seattle, from which he graduated the latter year with a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) degree as well as the Faculty Medal for Excellence in Design and the prestigious American Tile Institute Award.
Following graduation, Atkins signed on with a variety of firms in rapid succession over the next two or three years, first at Seattle, then at Winnipeg and finally back at Calgary. At the latter place he was for a brief time associated with the Alton McCaul Bowers organisation which specialised in designing churches and similar edifices, one of his chief accomplishments being St. Cyprian's (now Holy Cross) Anglican Church on 19 Street, N. W. Then he decided to strike out on his own, starting his own company. In this his skills and talents were amply rewarded and from that point forth he never looked back.
Atkins won some favourable attention early on for his artistic endeavours with regard to a design for the Dominion Flag of Canada, for which he received Honourable Mention. About the same period he began work on two local projects, the Derochie residence, for the Mormon owners of the Park Derochie corporation, in 1965, and the Drahanchuk Studios in 1967, both of which brought him further note.
In the latter year, which was also Canada's great Centennial Year, he became the first architect from Alberta ever to receive the coveted Massey Medal. This he was awarded for his work, the previous year, on the Melchin Summer Homes, owned by a prominent Latter-day Saint family, at Lake Windermere, British Columbia.
In 1968 - 1969 Atkins designed the revolutionary new Mayland Heights Elementary School, and redesigned the oldest portion of Calgary's historic 8 Avenue, S. W. as a downtown pedestrian mall, (now the Stephen Avenue Mall, a registered Historic Site). For the Mall, as well as for the Stoney Tribal Administration Building in 1980 and the Shouldice Athletic Change Pavilion in 1982, he achieved Canadian Architect Awards; and also in 1982 the completed Stoney complex further attracted a Governor General's Award as well.
Several Urban Design Awards also came his way for various projects, beginning with the Calgary residence of the Leavitt family, well-known local members of the Mormon Church, (1970), and including the Pinebrook Golf Club, begun in 1976 and finished in 1978, the Varsity Estates Condominiums, (1979), and the Calgary Indian Friendship Centre, (1980).
Gordon Atkins similarly received high acclaim for his successful plans for the Falconridge Condominiums, (1978), the Grande Prairie Regional College Student Housing development, (1981), and the Alberta Government Telephones facility in the Elbow Park area of Calgary. Likewise to his credit he attained second-place recognition for his efforts in the designing of the Calgary Centennial Planetarium, (afterward renamed the Calgary Science Centre).
Amongst his many other laurels and accolades, Atkins became in 1970 the first architect from Alberta to be elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts; and in 1981 the Alberta Association of Architects presented him with a special 75th Anniversary Practice Profile Award. His works have been exhibited solo in a number of élite venues including the Edmonton Art Gallery in 1970 and the Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, ten years later in 1980.
During his distinguished career Atkins lectured part-time at all three of Calgary's major post-secondary educational institutions, namely Mount Royal College, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and The University of Calgary. He was honoured with numerous memberships and appointments, not the least of which being a Directorship of the Calgary Centennial Committee, a Governorship of the Allied Arts Centre and the Presidency of the Calgary Branch of the Alberta Association of Architects, to mention but a few.
As an architect, Gordon Atkins was especially admired and praised for his awareness of and attention to the natural terrain of Southern Alberta, and his ability to incorporate it into his designs, blending his creations unobtrusively into the undulating topography and rolling landscape of the region.
After retirement Atkins eventually capitulated to the proddings of his wife Joan, (who wanted his copious collections of professional papers and memorabilia out of their Mount Royal home), and reluctantly consented to permit acquisition of these priceless personal records and artifacts by the Canadian Architectural Archives, housed at The University of Calgary, thus ensuring permanent preservation for posterity and perpetual availability for the benefit of future generations of scholars and researchers.
One other major link of Gordon Atkins with Bankview was forged by his service on two occasions as a Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presiding in both cases over Wards affiliated with the Calgary Stake Centre on Bankview's western perimeter.
As for the building itself, it remained in the Atkins family's possession and continued to be occupied for some years afterward as the home of Atkins' son Murray. For a time it contained both residential and office space, but eventually was converted entirely to office and commercial purposes. More recently, during late 2003 and early 2004, a decision was taken to revert solely to its original use, and division into several upscale apartment units was accordingly proposed and the application approved. The premises were then listed for sale.
Realtor and agent for the sale was Marlene, Madam Swinton of that Ilk, (otherwise Lady Swinton), wife of "Jack", the 35th hereditary worldwide Chief of the ancient and illustrious Scottish Clan and Name of Swinton, quite arguably the oldest hereditary surname in Europe, and himself a prominent Calgary architect residing just across the boundary on Superior Avenue in Scarboro, whose uncle, Hugh Alastair "Al" Swinton, had won the coveted Military Medal for distinguished service with the Calgary Highlanders in World War II., and who had subsequently become a noted military historian and collector of artifacts and memorabilia, resulting in founding of a remarkable and unique Museum housed within Mewata Armoury. The Laird's late grandfather, and Al's father, The Much Honoured William Frederick Hunter Swinton of that Ilk, The Swinton, 33rd in succession to the Honours of the House, had arrived in Alberta, settling at Edmonton, some 100 years before.
(Compiler's Footnote, 2007: On 19 August 2007 His Honour The Much Honoured John Walter Swinton of that Ilk, the 35th Chief of the Swintons, died in hospital at Calgary in consequence of cancer in his 73rd year and was succeeded by his son Rolfe William as 36th of that Ilk and Chief of the Name of Swinton.)
GURLEY RESIDENCE, (demolished)
1822, 17 Street, S. W.
Roy Newton Gurley, born in 1893, was a significant figure in the early days of Calgary's automotive industry. After involvement with several local firms, including Calgary Motors, he took control of the Bankview Garage, at 1505, 17 Avenue, S. W., in the mid 1920s, as its third and final owner, when still in his early 30s.
He continued at this pursuit about a dozen years. When he finally gave it up in the late 1930s the Bankview Garage subsequently became the Barrington Rug Mills. Later Gurley was associated with other companies in the same field, such as Hammill Motors.
He personally, however, remained at this residential address in Bankview until enlistment for Army service in World War II., as also did his wife throughout his overseas stint, which lasted until war's end. Thus the Gurley family were part of the local Community nearly 20 years in all.
Roy Gurley, who died in 1974, was also noted as a keen outdoorsman, huntsman and sportsman, who enjoyed big game hunting and fishing forays for many years into the more remote corners of the countryside.
HAY RESIDENCE, (first)
1827, 18 Street, S. W.
In times past, when the field of Education was not yet deemed an academic pursuit sufficiently worthy of a University programme, most students contemplating entry into the profession attended teacher-training colleges usually known as "Normal Schools", so called from the word "norm", signifying "standard".
The Calgary Normal School, (originally known as the Alberta Normal School), the first of its kind in Alberta, was established by the new Province in November 1905 largely in an unsuccessful bid to quell Calgary's demands for a University of its own. Ironically, though it could not possibly have been envisioned or even imagined in the climate of the times, this humble institution, through an entirely unforeseen twist of events, was instead destined eventually to become the direct lineal precursor and progenitor of the present University of Calgary.
Its first four-month course, with only 26 students, (eight men and 18 women), in attendance, began 3 January 1906 in historic Central School, the sandstone structure afterward renamed James Short School, whose ornate cupola or dome is now a familiar downtown landmark on the original site.
When the sumptuous new Normal School building, (today's McDougall Centre), opened for occupancy in 1908, two separate organisations were housed under one roof. The Normal School itself was a Provincial concern operating directly under auspices and authority of the Alberta Department of Education. However, the Normal Practice School was a regular Calgary Public School made available by special arrangement as a "Model School" or "Demonstration School" whose students could be practiced upon by Normal students.
Although the Practice School shared space with the Normal School ostensibly for sake of convenience and to save commuting time, each of these two "schools within a school" functioned independently and administered its own affairs through its own Principal and staff. Normal School staff were drawn from the Public School Systems of the Province as well, but were compensated by the Provincial Government, whilst Normal Practice School staff remained by and large the responsibility of the Calgary School Board despite receiving bonuses from Edmonton for the added burden of acting as critics for other prospective teachers.
William E. Hay, the first Principal of the Normal Practice School, and later a well-liked and highly regarded instructor in the Normal School proper, was born 27 August 1880 at or near Listowel, Ontario, son to Andrew and Mary Hay, and descended of the ancient Scottish Clan Hay. He grew up around Listowel, Fergus and Elora, attended Model School in the same area, and completed his training at the Normal School at Woodstock.
Early in the first decade of the 20th Century, William signed on with a Harvest Excursion bound for the West, and soon found himself at the CPR terminus at Strathcona, across the river from, and technically still just outside, Edmonton. Finding the location to his liking, and deciding to sojourn a while, he sold his return ticket for cash to tide himself over until he could locate a teaching position. Shortly he obtained a classroom appointment at Strathcona, where he remained until being advanced to a Principalship at Medicine Hat. Then, in 1908, he transferred to Calgary as teacher and Principal at the new Normal Practice School, presiding over a staff of five female teachers from its establishment that year until resigning in March 1911 to accept the higher-salaried position of Superintendent of Schools for the Medicine Hat School Board.
Meanwhile, on 30 December 1908, William Hay married Mary Bremner Rae, a fellow educator he had met at his previous Medicine Hat charge, and one of six daughters of James Rae, a prominent businessman of that City. Five sons were eventually born of this marriage, Robert, Gordon, Stewart, Cameron and Donald. The second son, W. Gordon Hay, followed in his father's footsteps as a very capable School Superintendent, in due course attaining the pinnacle of his educational profession; whilst the middle son afterward became the successful Dr. Andrew James Stewart Hay.
As Superintendent of the Medicine Hat School District from 1911 onward, William Hay quickly placed that Community at the forefront of educational practice and progress in Alberta, setting a shining example of achievement for the young Province. Influenced by the philosophies of John Dewey, he had, by 1915, introduced Kindergartens as an intrinsic, integral and vital element of the local school system at a time when virtually no other such system anywhere was operating such facilities. Rooms in two schools, Elizabeth Street and Earl Kitchener, even contained specially dedicated rooms expressly fitted up for the purpose. Another nearly 60 years would elapse and pass before the Provincial Department of Education would fall in step and agree to the funding of this type of operation.
Another Hay innovation was a semi-annual promotion policy designed to expedite student progress. This meant that advancement to the next grade now became possible at two points in the year, and, accordingly, were a student required to repeat a grade, this too could be accomplished within only a half year.
His previous association with the Normal School led William Hay moreover to recognise the value of, and institute in Medicine Hat secondary schools, courses in Manual Training (later known as Industrial Arts) and Domestic Science (otherwise called Home Economics), something then generally available at that level only in much larger cities.
Despite his progressive efforts and the improvements he had made, however, William Hay fell victim to the repercussions of the general recession of 1921 resulting in part from the residual after-effects of World War I. When the office of Superintendent was abolished at Medicine Hat about 1923 as a cost-cutting measure owing to post-war cutbacks, Hay returned to Calgary to teach at South Calgary High School, and also enjoyed a brief affiliation with the Normal School again shortly afterward.
By 1924 Hay was still at his post at South Calgary High, but was now residing in this beautiful three-storey home in Bankview. Within about another year he had relocated to 2211, 16A Street, nearby, in succession to prominent contractor and developer Thomas Beveridge, who had in turn shifted to a neighbouring house at 2208, 17 Street.
In September 1926 Hay came back to Calgary Normal at the request of the Alberta Department of Education, this time to join the actual CNS staff rather than the Practice staff, replacing Herbert E. Smith, who had transferred back to Central High School at 8 Street and 13 Avenue, S. W., after only one year's Normal service. Smith had been filling the vacancy occasioned by the death of the great Ward A. Steckle on 9 October 1925.
By this time CNS was sharing quarters with the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, (today's SAIT), in the Provincial Building, (now Heritage Hall), on its North Hill campus; and by 1930, presumably owing to distance and inconvenience, William Hay had permanently eschewed Bankview for an address just off 10 Street, N. W., in close proximity to his employment. Soon after departing Bankview, however, he also left CNS and Calgary once more, in the summer of 1931, to become Provincial Inspector of Schools for the Stettler Inspectorate, where he remained until final retirement in 1946.
During his service at Stettler Hay served as one of a committee of three assigned to revise the entire elementary Social Studies curriculum, in the process creating the so-called "Enterprise System" and leading the way to the "progressive education" concept in Alberta.
Following retirement William Hay continued to make his home at Stettler and served as Secretary of the Stettler School Board until shortly before or very nearly the time of his death on 17 April 1958. Soon afterward, when the little town's new state-of-the-art school complex was at last completed and opened, it was named the William E. Hay School in honour of the memory of the late and long-time beloved administrator.
HEMMINGWAY RESIDENCE and MURDER SCENE, (demolished)
1515, 17 Avenue, S. W.
Events as dramatic as murder have admittedly been a rarity in sleepy Bankview, and, so far as is presently known, the Hemmingway murder, some seven decades into the 20th Century, may well be the first on record. For those reasons alone the incident would seem sufficiently worthy of report.
Stanley and Lillian Hemmingway had been well-established, long-time Bankview residents, highly respected in the Community. Their middle-aged son, Harold Joseph Hemmingway, was occupying the family home at this address when the occurrence noted took place.
According to such facts of the case as can now be ascertained, it seems that a young lodger from the East living in the basement became somewhat inebriated at a house party late in the evening of 5 January 1971 and was cautioned by Harold to cease and desist his rowdy and unruly behaviour. When this admonition failed to produce the desired effect, Harold further warned the tenant of his intention to telephone a complaint to the young man's parents in Eastern Canada.
Evidently the out-of-control youth took umbrage at the threat, being quite concerned as to his family's potential reaction, and sometime during the early morning hours of 6 January he apparently set upon Harold Hemmingway, allegedly bludgeoning him to death as he lay sleeping in bed. The mattress was then set afire, ostensibly to cover the crime, but the conflagration proved minor in nature and soon afterward burned out and quickly extinguished itself, with damage confined to the immediate vicinity of the bedroom.
Initially the blaze was deemed accidental, but upon further investigation the roomer, one Arthur Embury, who turned out actually to be 24 years of age, was arrested and charged with homicide.
The home was repaired and subsequently occupied by other residents for some years thereafter. Today the site is lost under the large modern office building which now spans several lots in this same block.
2127, 16A Street, S. W.
Thomas H. Higham was associated for more than 30 years, throughout the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and into the early 1960s, with Pilkington Brothers' Glass, first as accountant, then as Chief Clerk, and finally retiring as General Manager of the Calgary Office.
Pilkington's at one time operated seven branches in Canada as well as factories in both Canada and England, and was one of Calgary's finest purveyors of quality glassware for windows and other fittings and furnishings adorning many of this City's most elegant homes and business institutions. One of these clients, of special interest to local residents, was Bankview's famed Kinema Theatre in 1933.
During that entire period of employment, and onward for another 20 years after retirement, well into the 1980s, the Highams resided here at this address in Bankview, totalling altogether more than 50 years in the Community.
The memorable sleigh run down 16A Street also began from near this point. Generations of children made a winter sport of sliding, on whatever could pass for a toboggan or sled, all the way down to 17 Avenue, in the days when fast-moving motor traffic in this area was still a rarity. More than just a recreational activity, this was also a convenient and exhilarating method of arriving at the old Bankview School near the foot of the street on suitable days during the cold winter months.
HUCKELL RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
2136, 15 Street, S. W.
The original owner and occupant of this house, the future renowned newspaperman Benjamin Arthur Huckell, was born 3 June 1874 at Ottawa, Ontario, the second of three sons and third of the four children of Thomas Huckell and Eliza Cleverly. The family relocated to Carberry, Manitoba where his father acquired, owned and operated the local paper, The Carberry Express, for which Benjamin also worked for a time. However, in due course the younger man found new employment as a travelling salesman for the Toronto Type Foundry, purveyors of moveable type for newspapers and publishers, a position which brought him even further West. He and his wife the former Isabella Katherine Graham, (to whom he had been married in 1894), liked Alberta and decided to settle here about 1912. By this time they, like his own parents, had a family of one daughter and three sons.
Benjamin was also drawn to Calgary by its incredible prosperity during its great speculative land boom, and redirected his salesmanship and marketing skills toward real estate as an agent for the firm of Sandeman Cope, in which his sister's husband Eustace H. Cope, born in China of a prominent international banking family, was a partner. In 1913 he purchased this home in the newly developing Community of Bankview, but he lived here only two years, during the period of the crash, selling up in 1915 after the bottom had fallen out of the market. Fortunately he was not one of the many who lost their shirts through over-extension in such investments, and was able to find a purchaser in the person of Frederick C. Potts, Clerk of Land Titles. Potts remained in residence only about a year, and the place then stood vacant for another two or three years, but it thereafter found stable, long-term ownership.
Huckell returned to journalism and in Innisfail, of all places, he found greatness and fame in his chosen field, capping and culminating his career in 1937 with a Pulitzer Prize. He also was commemorated by the Benjamin Huckell Memorial Trophy, awarded in recognition of the "Best Front Page" in weekly papers having a circulation from 1,000 to 2,000 subscribers.
Benjamin A. Huckell died at Innisfail 24 September 1951, but his youngest child, Thomas John, born at Carberry, who had lived in this house only very briefly as a mere child, came back to Calgary in 1955 to become a well-known citizen in his own right, likewise in connexion with the printing and marketing trades, as printing salesman for the John D. McAra Printing Company. He died here in 1960.
The house, too, experienced good fortune, surviving to become honoured as one of Calgary's "Century Homes". It is best described architecturally as of wood-frame construction, in the Edwardian Vernacular style, which is not as ornamental as the Victorian which preceded it, but which exhibits a number of examples of Classical features. It is noteworthy for its steep gabled roof with shed dormer windows, an open front veranda with square columns, use of two different types of exterior cladding (both wooden shingles and narrow boards), an off-centre front door, and diamond-patterned leaded windows.
ISABELLA BLOCK, (now NIMMONS CORNER)
1433, 17 Avenue, S. W.
About the time he erected the neighbouring Royal Theatre, or slightly prior thereto, the perennially enigmatic Billy Nimmons also built this residential and commercial block as the effective "shopping centre" for his Community. Nimmons is believed to have named the structure for his daughter, although his wife also bore the same given forename. (During the 1980s new owners redesignated it the "Nimmons Corner" instead, perhaps at least partially in deference to "Nimmons' Corners", an alternative pioneer term once applied in popular parlance to the adjacent locality.)
The building is wood-frame behind brick veneer, and rests upon a foundation of "Paskapoo" sandstone quarried on the western portion of the Nimmons Ranch beyond Bankview. Similar in nature and appearance to a modern "strip mall", it was designed such that business establishments occupied the main floor with private apartments above, although in more recent years the latter units also have been likewise often turned to other office or retail purposes instead.
Mrs. Isabella Nimmons, Billy's widow, died here at her son Albert's home, Suite 2, on the upper floor, on 18 March 1936, allegedly her 85th birthday.
Albert himself, together with his wife Laura, resided many years on the upstairs level, and his brother George lived for some time in a basement apartment as well. Albert was very much a rangeman most of his life, although he also was employed by The City of Calgary. As a youth he had notions of holding a Stampede at Calgary, but he and his two comrades could not afford to do so alone, so they instead imported the youthful rodeo promoter Guy Weadick from Lethbridge and found him a position spinning rope for the controversial showman William "Bill" Sherman near the present downtown Hudson's Bay site whilst he went about his Stampede organising efforts.
In 1916 Albert finally organised a Stampede of his own, known as the "Veterans' Stampede", in aid of returning Great War veterans, which was scheduled for Good Friday that April and received much publicity, but which was at the final moment, on scarcely a day's notice, postponed and finally staged in early August instead. Because neither Weadick nor any of the "Big Four" participated, this event has been consistently downplayed and ignored in official Stampede records, becoming something of a well-kept secret, - the "Forgotten Stampede".
Decades later, in 1956, the hardy pioneer and frontiersman gained further fame with the invention of an outdoor survival kit for hikers, hunters and wilderness buffs caught unexpectedly in inclement weather conditions.
1501, 22 Avenue, S. W.
Erected about 1912, this location was for many years the home of Sidney and May Jones.
For nearly 40 years Sid, a native of the Maritimes, taught High School mathematics in this City, first at East Calgary, then at Western Canada and finally for some 20 or more years at the old sandstone Central High School which still stands at the corner of 8 Street and 13 Avenue, S. W.
His wife Llewellyn Mary, better known as "May", born in 1899, was one of the first female engineers in Canada, having achieved her Bachelor of Engineering degree from The University of King's College, Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1920 at the age of 21. In later years, as a senior citizen, May completed and obtained a Master of Arts degree in History from The University of Calgary in 1978 at the age of 79, an accomplishment virtually unheard of in those days for a retired person. The span of some 58 years separating these two graduations may also represent a record of sorts in itself!
However, during the nearly six intervening decades, the diminutive, five-foot-high May was anything but idle, academically or otherwise. The daughter of a coal mining engineer at Springhill, Nova Scotia, and descendant of George Stephenson, the engineer who brought to fruition the first steam locomotive in Britain, engineering was in her blood. Yet, upon receiving her first degree, she found herself unable to be taken seriously owing to her gender, and turned down various offers of employment where she would have been more an office "gopher" than a real engineer.
Consequently she returned to University for an Education degree, which she earned with first-class standing, and then, much to her father's disapproval, sought a new environment with a different attitude in the prairie west. That decision landed her an appointment teaching mathematics, physics and chemistry for two years at the Reverend George W. Kerby's recently-established Mount Royal College at Calgary.
Soon she became acquainted with her future husband, Sid Jones, whose life greatly paralleled her own. He, too, was a graduate of her old Alma Mater who had likewise left the Atlantic Provinces owing to inability to obtain a suitable engineering position, and was now also teaching mathematics, but at the High School in Red Deer. The courtship thus began somewhat awkwardly through long-distance communication and commuting by rail on weekends and holidays. Still, the couple took until 1923 to tie the knot, when Sid obtained his first Calgary teaching post. At this point, May left professional life for a time in order to raise a family. It may seem of little surprise that their son Donald Jones also would himself one day gain distinction in the engineering field.
Ironically, two major events conspired and combined to lure May back to the family tradition. The growth of the fledgling Alberta oil industry and at the same time the drainage of skilled personnel by the outbreak of World War II. provided the perfect setting in which even a female engineer would be welcomed. May became Assistant to the Chief Geologist for the predecessor to the later Provincial Energy and Utilities Board. She quickly became an insider with an encyclopaedic understanding of the petroleum business, spending much of the war years gaining hands-on experience in the Turner Valley area. Still, as was socially expected at the time, she relinquished the position at war's end to make way for a returning war veteran.
Now her attentions turned more toward other types and aspects of voluntary Community service, particularly in conjunction with groups she had earlier embraced such as the Mount Royal College Education Club, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Engineering Institute of Canada and the University Women's Club, of which she was a founder and which would specially honour her nearly a half-century later for her contributions. Through the latter organisation she became actively involved with the Citizens' Committee for Establishment of a Branch of The University of Alberta in Calgary, otherwise known as the Calgary University Committee for short. It was this movement which was primarily responsible for winning the formation of The University of Alberta campus at Calgary which would eventually evolve into the autonomous University of Calgary.
Years later, in retirement, May and Sid made a return journey to their old Nova Scotia stomping grounds, and, whilst there, at Springhill, Sid suddenly collapsed and died of a massive heart attack. Following a Memorial Service held by their old University, May decided to return to live at Calgary, and, on the advice of the President of King's College, she resolved to fill her plentiful spare time with another of her many interests, history, which she had long desired to study at an advanced level. Thus, she entered a Master's programme at the now independent U of C, under the supervision of Professor Dr. Anthony W. Rasporich, leading to her final degree and the accomplishment of that long-standing dream.
Her thesis would relate to something in which she already possessed considerable expertise, and much of which she had personally witnessed: the history of oil and gas exploration in Alberta and the West up to 1947. This was a topic for which very little early documentation or later research existed, and her thesis, much of its content gleaned through interviews with pioneers of the industry, therefore proved ground-breaking in more ways than one, and of special interest to many, both in academia and in the business world. Still later she would be commissioned to compile an updated version including the succeeding years since her original documentation. The two works are now included in the collections of some of Canada's most respected national repositories.
Next, May created a visual presentation of the industry's history for permanent display at the earlier precursor of the present Museum of Civilisation, Ottawa. She had also begun laying plans to pursue her Ph.D at The U of C. when, alas, the quest for a doctorate was cut short by May's death in September 1986 in her 88th year.
Coincidentally, another Sid Jones family, not to be confused with this one, once lived for a time at the exact same house number on 23 Avenue, N. W.
KEOWN RESIDENCE, (first)
1810, 17A Street, S. W.
Of at least seven Bankview boys who fell in action in the second World War, 28-year-old Harold Lachlin Keown was apparently the only infantryman.
Harold was son to the late Everett J. Keown (who had died in 1939) and his wife Christena. The family first resided here in this little bungalow with a half-storey and dormer above, dating from the 1909/1911 era, then afterward for several years at 2409, 17 Street, (just across from the modern Community Hall but now demolished), until the father's passing.
Latterly, at time of enlistment, Harold and his widowed mother were living with Harold's brother Earl and family a few blocks away at 2128, 16A Street, (also in Bankview and likewise still standing).
From the last-named place Harold went to war with the Royal Regiment of Canada, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, about a year prior to his tragic death on 26 October 1944.
Private Keown is buried together with other Army casualties at Schoonselhof Cemetery at Wilrijk, a suburb of Antwerp, Belgium, and is also memorialised in Calgary's historic First Baptist Church.
KEOWN RESIDENCE, (second), (demolished)
2409, 17 Street, S. W.
On this site, across the street from the present Community Hall, stood the second home occupied by the Keown family in Bankview. For the narrative of war hero Harold Keown, reference the article concerning the first Keown residence.
KEOWN RESIDENCE, (third)
2128, 16A Street, S. W.
From this address, his brother's home, soldier Harold Keown enlisted for war service from which he never returned. Supplementary data may be accessed in the article regarding the first Keown residence.
1909, 21 Avenue, S. W.
Erected about 1929 or 1930, this spacious house is intriguing for two distinct reasons: an attempted robbery and a unique solution to a subdivision problem - both relating to the same occupants.
Originally intended as a single family dwelling, it had been long since divided into six apartment units by the time its then owner Arthur James Smith sold it to Steven and Mary Kesler about 1984. The Keslers had recently also acquired the IDA Pharmacy on the south-east corner of 20 Street and 33 Avenue, S. W. in the Marda Loop district, (which finally closed only on 25 August 2005), and, with their two young daughters, may actually have made their abode there for a time whilst renovating and restoring this former apartment building for their own personal use. They finally took up residence here about mid 1985.
However, the family business, in which Mary was the licensed pharmacist and Steven ran the front of the shop, experienced some difficulties the next year, being robbed twice whilst open, first in April and again in June, in addition to two break-ins or burglaries during off-hours, the most recent in October. Then, just a few weeks later, on a quiet Saturday afternoon, 8 November 1986, with the entire family present, yet another daytime invasion occurred, the third in scarcely six months. Two masked intruders, one armed, the other unarmed, burst into the premises where Steven and Mary and the two girls, (who helped out on weekends), were working alone at the time.
The armed man proceeded directly to the dispensary at the back, where he ordered Mary to fill some pillow cases or sacks with drugs, the other partner's assignment being to simultaneously clear out Steven's till.
Unbeknownst to the invaders, Kesler, in frustration after the midsummer incident, had meanwhile procured a gun. An altercation ensued, and moments later one of the would-be bandits, (the unarmed one), lay dying in the middle of 20 Street in a pool of his own blood.
Kesler was charged with second-degree murder but promptly released on bail and returned to work the following Tuesday. The other surviving gunman's application, however, was refused and denied when it was determined that he was already out on bail and facing trial for the heist perpetrated at this same establishment the previous April!
The event captured the attention of Calgarians and divided public opinion as had few other topics in recent memory. A fund, ultimately exceeding $37,000, to cover Kesler's legal expenses was immediately initiated and launched in his behalf at the instigation of fellow businessman Jonathan Joseph "Jon" Lord, a future Alderman for this Ward and Member of the Legislative Assembly, who owned the Casablanca Video outlet across the street.
Essentially nothing much ever came of the case against Kesler, who claimed innocence and pleaded not guilty by reason of self-defence. In the end his argument prevailed, being upheld in court, and Kesler was at long last vindicated and exonerated when a jury finally acquitted him outright.
The second point of interest with regard to this house pertains to the same owners and in essence involves a subdivision and zoning dispute. Soon after having taken possession of the property, the Keslers had decided to further break up the huge 100' lot in order both to raise capital and to permit infill of a more modern domicile on the remaining piece.
The real estate in question was thus listed for sale about the time of the Marda Loop disturbance, but in practice it was some time before a deal, once struck, could be finalised and consummated. The impediment arose from the discovery meanwhile that the position of the house on the lot legally hampered and precluded any such intentions.
Prevailing circumstances to the contrary notwithstanding, the issue proved no lasting obstacle for the resourceful Kesler, and was quickly surmounted and overcome. Faced with this unanticipated dilemma, he once again rose to the challenge, in effect defying the adage that one cannot fight City Hall.
Kesler was unwilling either to concede and admit defeat, or to allow mere technical details to impede or stand in his way. Instead, his innovative approach and response was to at once reconfigure the existing arrangement even as it stood. The family home was therefore physically rotated a full quarter turn of 90 degrees on site in order to enable the plan to proceed. The main entrance and windows, which once faced north, accordingly now face west.
Curiously enough the same address, on the avenue, continues to apply even though the building now fronts on the street.
2142, 16 Street, S. W.
Jonas B. Leinbach was, for a couple of years in the early 1920s, the first proprietor of the Bankview Garage at 1505, 17 Avenue, the early competitor to Bankview's historic Mount Royal Garage. He took up residence at this address in Bankview shortly after acquisition of the garage, and lived here during roughly the same period, coinciding approximately with his proprietorship.
LINCOLN DAIRY and SOUTH BANKVIEW COMMERCIAL DISTRICT
14 Street and 26 Avenue, S. W.
Lingering vestiges of rural roots and agricultural origins remained everywhere in evidence in Bankview during the first decades of the 20th Century. For example the north side of 26 Avenue, hard by 14 Street, (the very furthermost south-easterly corner of the entire Community), was home to the Lincoln Dairy, operated by William Maclain just prior to the Great War, then by the Parsons Brothers during the years of conflict, but still later squeezed out of business at war's end. The facilities sat vacant for more than a decade, languishing in disrepair and gradually falling forlornly into a state of run-down dilapidation during the Depression era, before being finally removed just in time for the second World War.
By this time the mercenary emphasis formerly felt to a greater extent further south of 26 Avenue was clearly shifting northward from South Calgary to Bankview. Actually the nucleus of this process had preceded and predated the first World War, when an enterprising Fred L. Payne had begun the South Calgary Grocery at 2623, 14 Street, (marginally north of 26 Avenue and therefore itself something of a misnomer, really not in South Calgary at all).
Within a scant few more years, Payne's South Calgary Grocery on the outer fringes of Bankview was acquired by the team of Mario S. and William B. Venini, the two of whom first dwelt on the very westernmost edge of the old Lincoln Dairy grounds, then later slightly deeper inside Bankview at 2611, 15A Street, (formerly Benson Street). In due course at a still later date the Veninis themselves sold out as well to Albert T. Boyes and Son.
As the rest of the 2600 block on the perimeter of Bankview matured and filled in during the so-called "Roaring '20s", other merchants began assuming their places alongside this pioneer grocery operation.
Starting from 25 Avenue and proceeding southward along the northerly half of that block, these included E. Creighton Higginbotham's pharmacy, popularly nicknamed "Higgy's", a social meeting-place in its own right with its modern soda fountain and other up-to-date innovations and amenities; a brand-new Jenkins' Groceteria, part of Calgary's first supermarket chain founded by Henry Marshall Jenkins, a Prince Edward Island potato picker, packer and bagger who, after one day surreptitiously hiding a note in a sack of spuds and unexpectedly receiving a surprise reply, had suddenly and spontaneously elected to follow his instincts and his produce westward; the tiny Prospect Grocery, tenuously but defiantly administered by See Mah within the very shadows of its mightier and more intimidating next-door neighbours; the Shamrock Meat Market belonging to cattle baron and future Senator Patrick Burns' far-flung meat-packing empire; and a branch of the huge Piggly Wiggly discount chain managed locally by Ivor Crimp.
Closer to the 26 Avenue corner, of course, the venerable old South Calgary Grocery itself still tenaciously held forth as well for many years following. Much later a branch of the fondly-remembered Fairley's Meat Market would also thrive here, specifically at the 2609 address, having displaced the previous occupant.
But even in Bankview, as elsewhere, whether at a greater or lesser pace, all things do eventually change, subject to the relentless march of time, and today, though the south-east corner of the Community remains a bustling commercial hub, very little evidence of its original occupants or former street-scape now remains. For many years now, and still at time of this writing, the extreme south-easternmost corner lot of the Bankview Community has been occupied by part of a filling station operation.
MACK'S GROCERY, (a designated "Century Home")
1717, 21 Avenue, S. W.
Long before Bankview had Mac's on its periphery, it had Mack's only a very few blocks further distant. The question may well arise as to how and why so many tiny convenience shops could exist within such close proximity of each other, almost literally a mere stone's throw apart. The answer lies at least in part in the early scarcity of automobiles, meaning that most people would necessarily have to carry their supplies home, thus limiting the distance they were able to walk whilst bearing such burden. In addition, many housewives would purchase their dinner materials afresh in small, more manageable amounts, almost every day, owing both to limited carrying capacity and to the need to ensure freshness daily in the pre-refrigeration era, and they accordingly preferred making shorter, less time-consuming journeys. These factors, together with others, combined to result in the need for local neighbourhood shops well within comfortable range of the homes of their customers. They therefore tended each to serve only a fairly small surrounding radius, but with virtually everyone therein being a regular client.
Mack's Grocery, built in or about 1913 at 1717, 21 Avenue, took its name from its original owners and operators, the McCormick family. S. G. and Kate McCormick and their young children, as was typical of such ventures, lived on the premises for nearly 20 years, being succeeded about 1931 by Mrs. Emma Jacobs and Henry Jacobs, a builder, who appears more likely to have been her son than her husband. Mrs. Jacobs finally closed out the business roughly a decade later, about 1940 or 1941, but remained in residence, the structure then reverting to the role of a private home.
It furthermore appears that, as also was usual in such cases, it contained additional apartment space, which seems to have been let out to at least one and occasionally two or more other parties during the time the business operated here.
MACQUEEN RESIDENCE, (first)
1609, 19 Avenue, S. W.
At least seven young men who had spent all or part of their lives in Bankview perished in World War II., the greatest conflict of arms the world has ever known. Amongst these was Pilot Officer Donald Garfield Macqueen of the 242nd Squadron of the British Royal Air Force. Don Macqueen died on Active Service for King and Empire during the early months of the war, 9 June 1940, aged only 20 years, and is buried at St. Memmie's (otherwise known as Courtisols) Churchyard, Marne, France.
At an earlier point, prior to enlistment, Don had once resided here at this address with his parents, Robert Bruce Macqueen and Edith Christina Macqueen. The Macqueen family lived successively in no fewer than three different residences during their time in Bankview, of which this, built sometime betwixt 1910 and 1915 and occupied by them for about three years in the late 1920s, was the first.
The other two locations were 2121, 16A Street, (which yet stands), and, lastly, 2115, 17 Street, (now replaced by an apartment block). The Macqueens apparently left Bankview in the mid 1930s.
MACQUEEN RESIDENCE, (second)
2121, 16A Street, S. W.
This venerable house on the west side of 16A Street was occupied for a time by Air Force hero Don Macqueen and his family. It is now virtually indistinguishable owing to duplexing, but is in fact located three lots north of the Higham residence. Relevant facts about Don Macqueen may be ascertained from the article pertaining to the first Macqueen residence.
MACQUEEN RESIDENCE, (third), (demolished)
2115, 17 Street, S. W.
Airman Don Macqueen at one time resided with his family at this location, the last of three homes they occupied in Bankview. Additional pertinent knowledge is detailed in the article outlining the first Macqueen residence.
MAGAZINE TRAIL and POWDER MAGAZINE
19 Avenue, west of 17A Street, S. W.
The somewhat squarish area of approximately 21 acres stretching from 17A Street to 19 Street north of 21 Avenue, in the extreme north-west corner of modern Bankview, has experienced a rather chequered history, as also has the principal roadway through its centre, (now 19 Avenue).
Originally sold in 1886 by Billy Nimmons to the Hamilton Powder Company, the tract became known for many years as the "Powder Magazine", serving as a storage facility or "munitions dump" for surplus ammo left over from suppression of Riel's abortive insurrection of 1885, as well as Mounted Police gunpowder and, later, the explosives required by local sandstone quarries.
The main access to the storage vaults or bunkers was by way of an irregular old Red Indian path which passed through the site at an oblique angle, leading from the Sarcee reserve south-west of Calgary to the Townsite itself. This route therefore acquired the popular designation, "the Magazine Trail". Today, as an extension of 19 Avenue, it continues to veer off in the same unusual direction to the west of Nimmons Park.
With the approach of surrounding development and the simultaneous decline in its own necessity, the former Powder Magazine was eventually disposed of for residential development purposes. The new owners, Charles Traunweiser and Edwin William Hume, held a public contest to select a name for their proposed subdivision, the prize being a free building lot in the new Community. The winner, in February 1910, was a certain Mrs. G. Cooper, then residing at 409, 3 Avenue, S. E.
Mrs. Cooper coined the term "Royal Sunalta", presumably as a combination of "Mount Royal" to the east and "Sunalta" to the north. (The latter, which had come into being the previous year at the behest of future CPR official Thomas Richmond "Dick" Wigmore in a similar competition, in turn signified a contraction for "Sunny Alberta".)
The new district, which was subsequently merged into modern Bankview, contained only four streets, of which the two boundaries were named for its two founders, Charles, (now 17A Street), and Edwin, (now 19 Street), respectively.
Unfounded fears of health hazards and safety risks have continued to linger into recent times amongst some local residents. It can be said with assurance, however, that, to official knowledge, no person in the area has ever yet dug up or fallen into anything untoward, or been poisoned or blown up, as a result of its historic origins and former use.
MALARCHUK RESIDENCE, (demolished)
1808, 18 Street, S. W.
John Malarchuk, whose house was located where the present apartment block now stands, was the last operator of the renowned Kinema Theatre, and, as such, a well-respected Bankview citizen. See also the article about the Royal (afterward Kinema) Theatre elsewhere herein.
MARSHALL RESIDENCE, (demolished)
2518, 17A Street, S. W.
Although he lived here only briefly before relocating to South Calgary, Frederick Farrer Marshall was residing at this address at the time of the legendary streetcar crash at Nimmons Corner on 15 December 1919. As a passenger aboard the ill-fated trolley, he was apparently knocked unconscious, sustaining a concussion in the process, from which he eventually recovered completely.
Fred Marshall died 19 March 1937 at the age of only 57, and is buried at Calgary's Burnsland Cemetery.
At a later date two narrow building lots were conjoined and the current larger duplex intruded in place of the former Edwardian structures which they had once supported. This realignment resulted in the present numbering arrangement instead.
MOULDING RESIDENCE, (demolished)
2513, 17 Street, S. W.
The house which formerly stood on this site was for more than 40 years the home of Frederick Richard Moulding, one of the few Bankview victims of the devastating streetcar disaster at Four Corners, near the Nimmons residence, on 15 December 1919. Originally numbered 2513, the designation was subsequently changed to 2517 in the mid 1950s whilst the Mouldings still occupied the premises. Construction of the later apartment block has since resulted in another, further revision.
The streetcar crash at the intersection of 14 Street and 17 Avenue left Fred Moulding, then in the early stages of a lifelong career as a CPR employee, with multiple cuts and bruises, in addition to which he suffered a severe blow to the head which temporarily rendered his speech incoherent and continued to impair his communications skills for a time. Fortunately he in due course fully recovered.
16 and 16A Streets at 23 Avenue, S. W.
In the early 1950s, Stampede Motors wrapped its tentacles around the corner of 14 Street and 17 Avenue, sparing only the historic Isabella Block, but laying waste to all else from the second Nimmons residence to the Kinema Theatre.
However, four smaller houses which were deemed portable were mercifully rescued and removed to this site, where they yet remain amongst Bankview's oldest structures, dating nearly from the turn of the last century. Two are now situated on 16 Street, bearing the numbers 2319 and 2323, whilst the other two are located directly behind them on 16A Street and numbered 2318 and 2324 respectively. Collectively they form a sort of Bankview "Heritage Square".
(Compiler's Footnote, 2004: With utmost sadness and regret we announce that, since the above writing, the most north-easterly of the four cottages, that located at 2319, 16 Street, has lately been demolished, to be replaced with a new, larger, more modern structure.)
17A Street and 19 Avenue, S. W.
Situated at the Magazine Trail's east end, Nimmons Park came about as a direct result of a long struggle and considerable public pressure by area residents to address the critical need for more "green space", in which the Community had been sorely deficient. About 1979 two factors fortuitously came together which worked in Bankview's favour: The City of Calgary began assembling a new Area Redevelopment Plan, and the Province of Alberta began preparations for the celebration of its 75th Anniversary in 1980.
The Province announced creation of a $75,000,000 fund offering grants for specific commemorative projects of public benefit, and, with The City's assistance and blessing, Bankview was able to obtain the sum of $400,000 toward development of a recreational park on this site, about three-quarters of which went toward property acquisitions. After several more years' planning and construction, Nimmons Park was finally dedicated on 10 June 1984 in the presence of upwards of 300 people, with the ribbon formally being cut jointly by Ralph Phillip Klein, Mayor of Calgary, and John David McCloy, grandson of the late William Nimmons and occupant of the historic Nimmons house on 14 Street.
Following an exhaustive search in which many Alberta artists participated, an entry crafted by noted Calgary sculptress Katie Ohe, of the Alberta College of Art, (now the Alberta College of Art and Design, or ACAD), was eventually selected as the centrepiece for the new facility, at a total cost of about $16,000, and installed in time for the dedication ceremony. An inscription on this polished cast concrete and pink quartz monument narrates the story of the original Nimmons 3-D-Bar Ranch which is today's Bankview.
According to its creator, the sculpture offers a multiplicity of facets appropriately bearing reference to the Community and its founders. The flat portions suggest flatlands and imply distance, whilst the two pointed cones, one larger than the other, set six and one-half metres apart, may be seen variously to suggest two islands or bespeak the surrounding foothills and the theme of continuity.
The larger cone measures some two metres in height and three and one-quarter metres in width at the base, its smaller companion measuring about one and one-quarter metres high and two and one-quarter wide. Both are executed in pink stone rather than white in order to stand out against the snowy Alberta winter, and because the artist envisioned quartz, with its sense of surface transparency and depth, to be the most beautiful of all natural substances with which to work.
The cones also represent cairns, which have a long historical tradition reaching back into the Dark Ages and beyond, and in fact dating to time immemorial. Viewed in two dimensions, these moreover form triangles, recalling other ancient symbolism: the bases embrace the earth, with the peaks extending into the heavens, thereby linking the two together. Thus are commemorated as well the Nimmons family and their enduring and everlasting contributions to this area.
Bankview is fortunate indeed to possess such a splendid example of outdoor public art by such a distinguished western artist as the inimitable Katie Ohe, herself a cherished cultural resource and icon in her own right, and universally acknowledged and credited with being the founder of "public art" in Calgary.
NIMMONS RESIDENCE, (earlier), (demolished)
1813, 14 Street, S. W.
The first Nimmons residence stood briefly where the third (present) one now stands. However, the second, which remained until 1953, was more familiar to most people than the short-lived original. It lay a slight distance north, set back at the upper end of a long poplar-lined laneway leading up the slope from today's 14 Street, and very near the modern 17 Avenue, alongside which the said lane in later years ran parallel.
A remarkable building for its time, constructed in a style reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, this second ranch house boasted four-foot-thick walls of sandstone quarried on the Nimmons family's own land and dug into the hillside in such manner as to provide natural insulation and temperature modification regulating the heat of summer and cold of winter. Its long front verandas were hung with flower pots, the contents of which were often propagated in the two 100' greenhouses at the foot of the drive, (where the edifice later known successively as the Royal Theatre, Mount Royal Garage and finally Kinema Theatre would eventually be located).
These glass conservatories, too, were amazing innovations in their own right, containing such ingenious contrivances as full-length brick benches which actually served as conduits for hot air generated and distributed from a central heating source. Fresh cool water was pumped from subterranean pools by a large steel windmill.
The old homestead was occupied by descendants of the Nimmons family almost continually until the property was purchased by Stampede Motors in the spring of 1953. On or about 25 November of that year the latter company destroyed the site to make way for its new automobile dealership. After Stampede Motors, too, ultimately abandoned the premises, the showroom subsequently passed through a variety of uses, most recently as a futon shop. Then, in the summer of 2001, following upon some few months' vacancy, that structure was likewise finally demolished in favour of still newer development.
NIMMONS RESIDENCE, (later), (a designated "Century Home")
1827, 14 Street, S. W.
The present (third) Nimmons house occupies the same position as the first. The two residences on this site have been both worthy of note.
The original was an English cottage-style bungalow with sliding glass doors opening onto vast gardens reclaimed from the encroaching rangeland. Owing to the increase in size of the Nimmons family, it was soon vacated, deferring to the second, somewhat larger timber-and-stone structure slightly to the north. As the family continued to further expand, yet another move became necessary and Billy Nimmons chose to replace the first modest little cottage with the more commodious red brick mansion. The same location was selected partly because both he and his wife Isabella had always favoured the original venue.
Billy spared no expense in procuring the services of the finest architect and best contractor money could hire at Calgary, and in 1898 the masterpiece was completed in a style defined or described as "modified Queen Anne" or "Queen Anne Revival". It sits on a base of Nimmons sandstone from the family quarry, and features a veneer of bricks mined from Billy's own clay deposits and fired at his own brickyard. Sandstone is also in evidence in the lintels above and sills beneath the windows, and stepped-back brick is featured in the corbelled chimneys. Both the quarry and the brickyard were located somewhat further westward on the Nimmons Ranch, beyond the extent of modern Bankview.
The main floor formerly contained spacious living and dining rooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen and a massive den with sliding dividers. The floor directly above was occupied by four huge bedrooms with access to the sweeping, curved balcony, and the topmost level, under the classic hip roof, housed attic storage space and servants' quarters for the domestic staff. The hexagonal corner tower may present the most outstanding feature of all to the casual viewer.
From the two family homes which stood here, Billy and Isabella witnessed all the vicissitudes of pioneer life, from raging prairie fires to week-long blinding blizzards, unfettered by any form of human development on the open range. From this place also they oversaw much of Calgary's formative years and early history. In the distance they watched the growth of the budding settlement of Calgary from a tent and shanty town with wooden sidewalks to the fabled "Sandstone City". Yet simultaneously in another direction they could, by contrast, observe itinerant Red Indian encampments where Scarboro Avenue now runs.
These primitives, to use the approved anthropological term, - or "les sauvages" of the early fur traders, - would gather annually to await dispensing of Government largesse in the form of "treaty money". Any who died during that time would be buried on site, as verified and confirmed by excavation and construction in later years. Many of these nomads of the plains became particularly friendly with the Nimmons family, characteristically showing up especially at mealtimes!
For some time after erection of Senator Lougheed's stately sandstone residence, Beaulieu, in 1891 the Lougheeds were the Nimmons' nearest neighbours. The Nimmons and Lougheed children would meet up along the way and walk together to the old South Ward School, the tiny two-room bungalow opened in 1894, (not 1892 as erroneously inscribed in later years over its entrance portal), and now referred to as "Haultain", diagonally across from the later Memorial Park Library. Often they would be accompanied part-way by the kindly bachelor Thomas B. Braden, founder of both of Calgary's major newspapers. Eventually young Norman Alexander Lougheed, (for whom the Norman Block downtown is named), was married in the living room of the Nimmons home.
Similarly the family could mark progress on other notable buildings, including the historic Patrick Burns residence in 1901 where the Colonel Belcher Hospital would later stand, and over which flew a pair of bright red overalls in place of the usual red construction flag. Later still, Billy's intimate friend Lord Strathcona, (uncle to the Lougheeds), would park his private railway coach on a siding near here and the two men would visit back and forth, swapping stories and exchanging reminiscences of earlier times and other days.
Billy Nimmons himself was a quiet, modest but warm-hearted man who much preferred his own privacy, yet many happy gatherings of the younger folk and their friends were held here, and the gala parties Billy sponsored for the children's special occasions, such as Hallowe'en and Christmas, were events long to be remembered.
Billy Nimmons' youngest child, Kathleen Moir "Kate" Nimmons, married well-known hockey sensation John Matthews McCloy, and presented Billy with his first grandchild, John David McCloy, who was born in the present house in 1909. Members of the family resided here almost continuously until comparatively recent times and, until early in the 21st Century, still owned the building.
The large bedrooms have been long since subdivided and converted to smaller apartment units. Accordingly, the same John D. McCloy himself, late in life, made his home in an apartment within the very bedroom in which he had been born so many decades before!
Around the beginning of the 21st Century the future of the historic home seemed in doubt, until a local businessman who had regularly walked past it and admired it as a child, came to the rescue, purchasing it and restoring it as the new headquarters for his company.
For many years other descendants of the Nimmons family occupied a number of other houses nearby and throughout the Community, which Billy Nimmons had either built or acquired at various times. One of these was located on the south-west corner of the intersection of 16A Street and 21 Avenue, whilst about a half dozen others were spread along 25 Avenue from 15 to 16 Street.
1815, 17 Street, S. W.
The beleaguered Community of Bankview gave up at least seven of its sons to the carnage of World War II. Five of these were airmen, one was a soldier and one a sailor. Thomas Maxton Ninian, who resided here in this 1911-vintage house with his parents William C. and Elizabeth C. Ninian, was the latter.
Max was serving as an Ordinary Telegraphist with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve aboard HMCS Louisburg when his ship went down on 6 February 1943. He was just 21.
With him at the time was his fellow RCNVR telegraphist and friend of many years' standing, William McCombie Gilbert Jr., aged 22 years, son to well-known Calgary police officer William McCombie Gilbert and his wife Jean. Although Bill Gilbert's home lay just slightly south of Bankview, and he is therefore not officially reckoned as one of the seven, or more correctly as an eighth, he had attended the same schools and participated in the same activities as his Bankview friends and was for all intents and purposes regarded as a Bankview boy as well.
Both Max and Bill, virtually inseparable in life, are commemorated together in death amongst the nominal roll of those lost at sea in the defence of freedom, on the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In all, no fewer than 24 Canadian ships and nearly 2000 seamen perished in the six-year global conflict.
PETTS RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
2507, 16A Street, S. W.
This once happy family home, dating from about 1912, tells the sad tale of a double tragedy.
On 28 December 1941 Flight Sergeant John Russell Petts, a pilot with the 138th Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, was killed on Active Service at the age of only 21. On 26 May 1943 his elder brother, Flying Officer Henry Neville Petts, a navigator serving in the 100th Squadron, RCAF, suffered a similar fate at age 25.
Separated in death as seldom in life, Russell is buried at St. Mary's (otherwise Chalk) Churchyard, Gravesend, Kent, England, and Neville at the Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Gelderland, in the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Both were sons to Charlotte Maria Petts and the late John Thomas Petts.
ROYAL (KINEMA) THEATRE / MOUNT ROYAL GARAGE, (demolished)
1805, 14 Street, S. W.
The only cinema ever to operate within the bounds of the Community of Bankview, the Royal had its origins when the legendary entrepreneur and founder of Bankview, William Nimmons, obtained a building permit on 13 June 1913 to erect such an enterprise on Building Lots 3 and 4 of Block 1, where his famous greenhouses once had stood. The site was also occupied by a rental house belonging to Nimmons, which was let to a series of tenants, and in which Nimmons' quarryman, William "Bill" Oliver, (afterward one-half of the team of Oliver and Bone), had previously resided for some four or five years.
The theatre, however, proved a truncated venture, cut short in its prime. After about a year, in the wake of the general economic downturn occasioned when the boom went bust just prior to the first World War, and further exacerbated by the advent of the war itself, the silent film venue was forced to close. For approximately four years the building languished in disuse, until, shortly before Billy Nimmons' death, it was converted to an automotive service station, the Mount Royal Garage, by A. E. Douglas and F. A. Thayer.
This operation likewise survived only roughly a year until being taken over by John Kerr and James Nicol. A few months later Nicol withdrew from the partnership, leaving Kerr the sole proprietor, as he remained until the early 1930s. Kerr lived in Bankview beside the garage, (as Thayer before him had done), and so familiar a figure was he locally that the Mount Royal Garage became almost as frequently identified as "Kerr's Garage". By 1932 Jesse L. Miller had assumed the business, but it failed within less than a year thereafter, finally falling victim in part to the onslaught of the Great Depression.
With dissolution of the auto repair shop, and after sitting idle again for a short while, the structure's second incarnation as a cinema, complete with "talkies", followed on 10 June 1933 with revival of the Royal Theatre, now owned and managed by A. M. Robinson who had formerly operated a chain of similar "movie houses" throughout Central Alberta.
Robinson's plan was to offer one full-length feature plus short selections and newsreels at every showing. In those days when black-and-white films were still the norm, these "shorts" could include cartoons, comedies, musical items, travelogues, dramatic sketches or sports, - some of which might even appear in full living colour!
At its début that June day the second Royal's first bill of fare featured the slapstick comedy "Flying High", backed up by Mickey Mouse, Laurel and Hardy, a Technicolour musical production and the obligatory newsreels. However, despite the latest in technology and programming, and the utmost efforts and intentions of all concerned, both management and staff, this project, too, collapsed almost as soon as it had opened, and was promptly bought out by new interests.
Still, under different auspices and with another change of name, this second chance would yet prove much more successful and enduring than the first, some 20 years before. The new régime, riding to the rescue, immediately set about creating a novelty and a showpiece which would attract a repeat clientele. Experts from the Winnipeg architectural firm of Green and Blankstein, specialising in theatre construction, were brought in to strip down the old building almost to its bare walls and completely reconstruct it both externally and internally according to the new style of "neighbourhood theatres" lately emerging and coming into vogue. These structures were scientifically engineered from the ground up and designed to yield the highest quality in motion picture sound reproduction and delivery, rather than being merely inserted, as was the common practice and ordinary custom, into older, pre-existing but less compatible silent picture halls.
The rejuvenation process involved as much attention to aesthetics and ambience as to the required technology itself. The result was a scaled-down version of the great "theatre palaces" of the day, and was calculated to stand out as an architectural asset to the surrounding Community. Just as with the format of the larger palaces, the ultimate intent of the transformation was to produce for public consumption a unique major "experience", even a touch of magic, hinting at something grand and noble, of which the entertainment aspect per se would form the central but not sole focus.
The new façade of the building took on the angular dimensions and vertical lines so acclaimed at the great Chicago World's Fair earlier that year, complete with a metal and glass outdoor canopy exploiting the marvels of indirect lighting. Beyond this lay the entrance lobby with the box office, and finally the foyer from which was accessed the auditorium itself.
The box office was fashioned from Vitalite glass supplied by Pilkington's, contrasting attractively with the lobby's old ivory walls. Further inside, the new foyer was fitted up tastefully with expensive and luxurious furnishings including, on one side, a fireplace and mantelpiece beneath an ornate ornamental carved mirror, and, on the opposite side, a full-length illuminated mirror hung with draperies. Two modernistic metallic lamps and plush, carpeted floors helped round out the total effect, as did the rich wooden walls coloured effectively to complement the furniture.
Finally, this mini-palace theme was continued even in the auditorium itself, blending in with the latest technological advances as well. New beams and brackets seemed to alter the thrust of the facility to suggest greater space and a larger, more open atmosphere overall. The walls and ceiling were layered with a special new acoustics-friendly surfacing or coating developed specifically for purposes of sound and tone enhancement, and bedecked in a novel but appealing colouration scheme. At the back of the hall, exit ramps simplified and expedited departure of overflow crowds without undue cramming and congestion at the main doors.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the new, enlarged 11' 3" by 15' 6" Datone beaded screen, artistically framed on either side and crowned by a proscenium arch, utilised a new, advanced white light system to bring out and emphasise even the subtlest shades, hues and nuances of colour. The very latest and most up-to-date Northern Electric projection and sound equipment for delivery of improved range and quality completed the total experience.
This was billed as the first example of the new-style "neighbourhood cinemas" ever erected in Alberta, and it lived up to its reputation. In all, much thought was given to presentation of a fully unified and integrated whole, flamboyant yet not ostentatious, through general harmonisation of all the fittings. This approach, together with introduction of indirect lighting in both lobby and foyer, radiating a sense of softness and warmth, contributed vastly to patron comfort. All was intended to induce and convey an indelible impression of increased spaciousness and a gracious lifestyle, a haven from the bleak conditions of the Depression-ridden outer world. This concept was consistently borne in mind throughout.
The significance of the occasion was further reflected in the theatre's newly announced marketing scheme and meticulously-scripted policies, aimed at catering to the local residential and juvenile audience of the surrounding Communities at the lowest possible admission rates, with the film selections being changed twice a week to encourage return visits. Matinée performances were planned for Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a mix of carefully-balanced long features and short subjects would continue as the substance of the standard programme.
Upon completion of the renovations the new management took prompt control and the theatre officially opened its doors 16 November 1933. Known this time as the Kinema, it provided a welcome source of relief and escape from Depression-era woes and served as a social centre for the surrounding Community for many years thereafter.
The Kinema's first Manager, John "Jack" Cooperband, was superseded fairly rapidly, within the next year or two, by his partner and colleague, the ever-popular and personable Buddy Morris Goldin. Buddy Goldin presided over the establishment in its heyday and for some 15 or more years in all, with the exception of a couple of years' war service. During his war-time absence Doreen Fisher, herself well-versed in the industry, filled in as substitute or Acting Manager.
In the early 1950s Bud Goldin retired as Managing Director, relinquishing the reins to John Malarchuk, the Kinema's last proprietor. Malarchuk lived at 1808, 18 Street in Bankview, (site now demolished), and was a highly respected member of the Community. His tenure at the helm lasted about four more years.
Although the Kinema was eventually by 1957 razed by Stampede Motors in favour of a used car parking lot, long-time residents still fondly recall the good times enjoyed here for 10 cents' admission, and half that price for children on Saturdays.
SALVERSON RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
2111, 14A Street, S. W.
This pleasant two-and-one-half storey wood-frame and brick residence, set on poured concrete and built about 1913, was occupied briefly about a decade or so later by one of the leading luminaries in the literary life of Canada, - Laura Goodman Salverson. Her stay was necessarily short-lived, inasmuch as, by her own admission, she changed homes no fewer than 53 times in her first 35 years of marriage, from late 1913 to early 1949, owing to her husband George's itinerant employment as a CNR train dispatcher. Still, Laura spoke passingly of her impressions of the place, and of her time spent here, in her award-winning autobiography Confessions of an Immigrant's Daughter some 15 years after her departure.
Indeed it was from this very location that Laura and George, upon learning of the arrival of her first great novel The Viking Heart at future Mayor Frederick Ernest Osborne's downtown bookshop, strolled together across town to view it for the first time in print, - a defining moment which Laura long recalled and later described as being fraught with hesitation, reluctance and trepidation, and which she faced only at George's strong urging and insistence. The book had been published shortly before, about the time of the couple's settling at Calgary.
From childhood up, the love of writing came naturally to young Laura Goodman. In fact one might even say it was in her blood. The imaginative Laura sprang from a long line of Icelandic authors and story-tellers dating back at least as far as the 14th Century. She was also a direct descendant of the legendary folk-hero Gunnar, from whose wife, the notorious Hallgerda, she inherited a bent, almost useless little finger known to recur throughout their lineage.
Her own parents Lauris and Ingibrod Goodman emigrated from Iceland, arriving at Winnipeg in 1881 aboard the first passenger train west, hauled by the redoubtable steam locomotive engine "The Countess of Dufferin". Laura herself was born there on 9 December 1890.
Laura's long literary heritage ignited a flame within her early on and served as an inspiration to her from the very outset. An exceptionally frail child, she compensated for her always-poor health by fantasising about the valiant deeds of her long-ago forebears and other heroes of the ancient Norse sagas, as well as the "Knightly Ordeals" of old England. Restrained much of the time and frequently strapped to a board for the sake of her back, she often fancied herself in their place and bore her own afflictions characteristically patiently and stoically. She was unable to attend school until age 10, and until that time she knew not a word of English. However, Laura proved a precocious child and, once able, quickly caught up with the difference occasioned by this deprivation. A short story written in English when she was only 12 caused a considerable sensation and this success confirmed her ambition and paved the way for her lifelong passion.
In 1913 Laura Goodman married George Salverson, and of this marriage was born one child, George Jr., eventually a well-known writer for the CBC. Laura, too, was much involved throughout her lifetime with radio sketches and plays, as well as with live theatre and drama.
By 1922 her star had begun its meteoric rise in the literary firmament with publication of another short story, "Hidden Fire", for which the Women's Canadian Club of Regina awarded her its $50 prize, the first ever offered for a short story in Canada. This achievement became the forerunner and first fruits of a remarkable and distinguished career.
Then came a long litany of other triumphs, beginning with The Viking Heart, a celebration of Icelandic heritage afterward critiqued as "the most significant novel to come out of the Western Provinces", - although Laura was never personally very satisfied with it, because she never had a chance to review, edit or revise the raw manuscript. The fact of the matter is that this noted work was actually churned out in just six weeks in 1923 at Edmonton and submitted in instalments to the publisher, who accepted it on the basis of the first 1800 words alone. Laura had been too ill to accompany George to his new posting at Melville, Saskatchewan, and production pressures took a further toll on her ever-delicate health. The pair were reunited some months later by the transfer to Calgary, and the novel became a smash hit soon after.
This was swiftly followed by a slim volume of poetry entitled Wayside Gleams, compiled during the 1924/1925 period, and then in even more rapid succession by another heritage work, When Sparrows Fall, (1925), either or both of which may well have been begun within the walls of this Bankview home the preceding year. A historical novel about Norse explorers, Lord of the Silver Dragon, came out in 1927 after much travel and consultation with academic authorities and similar experts in order to ensure utmost accuracy of detail. The next year, 1928, Laura produced her third Icelandic heritage story, Johann Lind.
At the peak of her activity, Laura was constrained to engage a professional typist, and would either dictate directly, or, more usually, write longhand in an adjoining room, delivering the rough sheets for processing one or two pages at a time. At one point she was even producing two creations simultaneously.
In 1933 Laura's first romance, The Dove, was issued, and in 1937 appeared the last of the heritage series, The Dark Weaver, for which she subsequently received her first Governor General's Award. A second highly-acclaimed romance, Black Lace, was released in 1938. Her great autobiography, Confessions of an Immigrant's Daughter, in 1939, which brought her a second Governor General's Award, also marked the close of the bulk of her writing. She would not publish again in a major or meaningful way for another 15 years.
However, during this lengthy hiatus Laura was not by any means inactive, instead preferring to spend much time in public speaking engagements and lecturing widely. Throughout the 1930s she was also familiar in the news as a prominent anti-war activist in the Peace Movement preceding World War II.
George and Laura again resided at Calgary for a while during the mid 1930s, although not this time in Bankview. Whilst here, she was, amongst other things, a member of the Calgary Authors' Association, which renamed its writers' guild for her. Honours continued to flow in meanwhile. Finally, as a highlight of her life, she would become the first Canadian woman ever chosen an Honourary Member of the prestigious Paris Institute for Arts and Sciences, which would also confer upon her its coveted Gold Medal for Literary Merit.
The year 1954 witnessed Laura's last celebrated achievement, her final Norse historical novel, Immortal Rock, relating to certain discoveries of an archaeological nature on the North American continent. As a consequence she gleaned the $1,000 Ryerson All-Canada Fiction Award.
With that, one of Canada's best beloved authors receded largely into retirement. Laura Goodman Salverson died peacefully in her sleep at her residence, Petman Street, Toronto, 16 years later, on 13 July 1970, in her 80th year.
The house in Bankview had other interesting occupants as well, both before and after Laura. One of her predecessors here was Sydney Tregillus, a member of Calgary's prominent Tregillus family, and her successor in residence was Samuel Clarence Nickle, one day to become donor of, amongst other gifts, the famed Nickle Arts Museum at The University of Calgary.
2543, 19 Street, S. W.
Barbara Ann Scott represented this Ward as an Alderman of The City for 24 uninterrupted years, from 25 October 1971 until voluntary retirement on 23 October 1995 at the conclusion of her eighth consecutive term, - a longer total period of service than any previous member up to that time in the entire history of the Council of Calgary. (Several other individuals had been elected more times, but they served when terms of Office were shorter than during Alderman Scott's tenure.)
Barbara Scott's unstinting attention and contributions to the well-being and betterment of Bankview, and her staunch defence of its interests both on and off Council, have done much to create the Community as we know it today. Without her untiring and unceasing efforts and support this area might have been a very different place in which to live.
1824, 18 Street, S. W.
Probably erected during the great building boom immediately preceding the first World War, this home was occupied about two or three years later by Dr. Ambrose Bowden Singleton, one of Calgary's most noted early physicians. An old-fashioned general practitioner, Dr. Singleton was for many years a familiar sight traversing the streets of old Bankview with horse and buggy, stabled on the property, en route to and from his numerous house calls.
Dr. Singleton was born in or about 1870 at or near Singleton's Corners, (now known as Crosby), a scattered rural Community settled by his ancestors in South Crosby Township, Leeds County, Ontario. The fifth child of Thomas Singleton and Sarah Henderson, he graduated in Medicine from The University of Toronto in 1893 and entered into private practice at Westport, only about eight miles distant from his birthplace.
Soon Dr. Singleton became a prominent and influential citizen of Leeds County, acquiring many other business interests on the side. For a time he served in various positions of responsibility including the vital role of President of the Cheese Board. As such he represented one of the area's major industries of the time, headquartered at nearby Brockville, the County Seat.
On 25 March 1895 he married Minnie Tabor, also of Leeds County. In 1912 the Singletons decided to relinquish the prosperous practice the young doctor had built, and to remove westward to Calgary, partly owing to his unabated interest in agriculture and ranching. Here he re-established his medical career whilst also operating a ranch near Ogden and obtaining part interest in other concerns as well.
The doctor became a shareholder and partner in mining ventures, and amongst his varied commercial activities he helped found an oil company, known as Alberta Petroleum Consolidated Ltd., (AP Con for short). Politically he served as a Trustee of the Public School Board and was active in the Conservative Party. A Methodist prior to Church Union, he became a stalwart of Scarboro United Church, and was an avid Rotarian, a Shriner and a Royal Arch Mason.
"Doc" Singleton retired from the medical profession in 1948 after some 55 years in practice, and died at Calgary General Hospital 10 years later in June 1958, aged about 88, being buried at Calgary's historic Union Cemetery.
2501, 14A Street, S. W.
Bankview across the years has been home to artists of many genres, including writers, painters and even a nationally-respected dramatist and thespian, in the person of the diversely-gifted G. Brian Smith, Professor of Drama and sometime Head of the Drama Department in The University of Calgary.
Originally from the Maritimes, and a leading figure in the field of Canadian drama, Brian Smith specialised over his academic career in the teaching of acting and directing, in both of which pursuits he also continued personally as an active participant worthy of international acclaim, as well as an instructor and mentor.
Although his chief research interest lay in contemporary performance practice, Smith also gained recognition early on as one of the foremost experts and authorities on the subject of theatrical masks.
Outside the academic sphere, amongst the many world-renowned companies and events with which Smith was affiliated or associated are ranked, in alphabetical order, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Quest Theatre, Sage Theatre, the Stratford Festival Young Company, Theatre Junction, The Dream in High Park and the Toronto Free Theatre.
Bankview residents will best remember Brian Smith for his tireless devotion to countless Community projects, and especially for his conceiving, organising and co-ordinating production of the ground-breaking Community Drama presentation at Knob Hill School on 13 June 2002, based on the manuscript for this book, in which every student had a role in recreating and portraying the history of their neighbourhood and its people.
Calgarians less familiar with Bankview will also have enjoyed the benefits and more visual effects of Professor Smith's behind-the-scenes efforts and sharing of expertise in the key role of dramaturge for the annual summer Shakespeare In The Park festival at Prince's Island Park.
SPEAKMAN RESIDENCE, (demolished)
1804, 19 Avenue, S. W.
This now-disappeared house, erected about 1912, was home to Frank Speakman, one of Calgary's best known and most respected and beloved educators, who had moved up here from his previous residence at 1603, 29 Avenue in South Calgary.
Born in Scotland, Speakman emigrated to the Antler Hills vicinity as a small child with his family about 1891. Later he received his teacher-training at Calgary, graduating from the Calgary Normal School (in the building now known as The McDougall Centre) in 1912.
Speakman taught briefly at Raymond, Alberta before being appointed Vice Principal and later Principal of Victoria School, Calgary. Some 19 years later, in 1932, he was transferred to Connaught School, where he remained as Principal for another 20 years until eventual retirement in 1952.
Frank Speakman was active in many aspects of Community service, was a member of the Canadian Club and the Calgary Fish and Game Society, and sang for many years in the choir of Scarboro United Church.
He died here at his Bankview residence in September 1958 at the age of about 71 years, and is buried at Queen's Park Cemetery, Calgary.
STANLEY RESIDENCE, (demolished)
1606, 22 Avenue, S. W.
A dedicated pioneer physician, Dr. George Douglass Stanley, who once resided in a large sandstone house here on the current site of the apartment block now numbered 1608, had the distinction of having actually become a doctor only after his retirement.
When he graduated from The University of Toronto in 1901 the standard degree in the profession was that of Bachelor of Medicine (MB). This permitted him to practice, but a full doctorate required a further examination plus a $25 fee. Stanley had neither the time nor the money, so elected to forego the advanced degree.
Half a century later The U of T resolved to upgrade its requirements and discontinue the MB degree. All surviving recipients were invited to a special reunion and ceremony on 15 June 1951 at which the baccalaureate degree was replaced with that of Doctor of Medicine (MD). Dr. Stanley thereafter remarked that by waiting 50 years he was able to obtain his doctorate for nothing!
His life was equally adventurous and exciting in other ways as well. He was born 19 March 1876 at Exeter, Ontario, son to Thomas D. Stanley and Hannah Westman, and grew up at St. Mary's where his father served as Police Magistrate until his death on 16 October 1911. Young George first enrolled in teacher-training at the Stratford Model School, a teaching college roughly equivalent to a Normal School, and subsequently taught for four years, from 1893 to 1897. Then he decided to study Medicine.
Stricken by tuberculosis upon graduation, he was hospitalised, then spent several months in isolation at an institution at Gravenhurst and was not expected to live. Undaunted, however, he opted to try Western air as a cure, and set out for Alberta. At Moose Jaw he encountered heavy rain, and at Midnapore, on an August day, the train was preceded by a brakeman sweeping snow from the track with a broom! This test was enough to cause Stanley to question his resolution, but he persevered and eventually arrived at High River.
There was wisdom in the choice. By 1904 the small-town physician boasted a prosperous practice and the finest home in High River. He was also appointed Medical Health Officer for the Town. As such, he opened and operated there the first hospital betwixt Calgary and Macleod, and organised and built with his own considerable resources the first Methodist church at High River. In due course he also represented his adopted Community for eight years, including the entire first World War, as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, in the Conservative interest.
In November 1903 at High River, he married his long-time sweetheart, Annie Colvin, from Hamilton, Ontario. Most people in those days travelled no further than Calgary for a honeymoon, but Stanley had planned an elegant excursion to Banff. Unfortunately, duty called him away from his wedding reception to attend a birth, and upon his return he found another horse-and-buggy team ready and waiting to convey him to a similar confinement. As a typical "country doctor", demands for his services continued to pour in and the honeymoon kept being postponed, - until a medical convention finally took the couple to Banff in 1915!
By sheer coincidence, the same two patients involved in those twin incidents in 1903 sent for his assistance again, both the same day, 48 years later, in 1951, at far-off Calgary, where he was by then in practice!
George Stanley was personally acquainted with many of the legendary figures of the Old West. Amongst these was the famed Robert Chambers "Bob" Edwards, gifted editor, renowned tippler, all-round character and future Member of the Provincial Assembly, whose maternal grandfather, Robert Chambers, had headed one of Scotland's greatest publishing houses, producing such literary milestones as the estimable Chambers' Encyclopaedia.
On one occasion Bob Edwards sought copies of the first five issues of his celebrated Eye Opener, which he had originally published at High River before transferring to Calgary. He offered to "pay anything" for the missing papers. Stanley found copies in his files and forwarded them to Edwards, who promptly instructed the doctor to add the price to his medical tab. Bob was, of course, notorious for never paying his medical bill, - or most anything else for that matter!
In course of time other opportunities beckoned, and the Stanleys, obeying the summons, removed in 1919 to Calgary where George Stanley, together with a few colleagues, formed the Calgary Associate Clinic, in which he became senior partner after 1922.
He went on to serve in public life as a member of the executive of the Holy Cross Hospital, Chairman of the Board of Mount Royal College, (which named its Gymnasium for him), a Senator of Calgary College, (the first "University of Calgary"), a Governor of Alberta College, Edmonton, (the oldest College in Alberta), and an official of The University of Alberta, which on 16 May 1951 honoured him for his services with an Honourary Degree, Doctor of Laws (LL.D).
Stanley ventured into politics once more, as a Tory Member of Parliament (for Calgary East) during the Government of his colleague and friend Prime Minister Richard Bedford Bennett (who was Member for Calgary West) at the height of the Great Depression.
Fraternally, he was an Oddfellow, a Forester, a Knight of Pythias, a Shriner and a Royal Arch Mason, and was one of the founders of the local wing of the international service organisation, the Knights of the Round Table.
Predeceased by Mrs. Stanley in 1944, Dr. G. Douglass Stanley lived into his 78th year, dying at Calgary some 10 years later on 22 February 1954. The couple lie buried at Burnsland Cemetery, Calgary.
1816, 17A Street, S. W.
Erected about the 1919/1920 era, this interesting house served for a time as the home of the Taylor family, who also played a role in one of Bankview's most historic and legendary incidents.
Of particular note, on the fatal journey of a streetcar negotiating its way down the slippery 14 Street hill on 15 December 1919, the man seated aboard the tram opposite Robert Dougherty McWilliam, the accident's single fatality, just happened to be well-known local printer Richard Taylor, proprietor of the Phoenix Press printshop downtown.
Taylor himself was moderately injured, and was also conveyed to hospital, but not before instructing his four sons who were with him to hasten onward to open the shop in time for the day's business! One of those sons, Richard Jr., was still living, in his mid 90s, some 75 years later, and still able to clearly recount the events of that dreadful day.
Taylor's convalescence apparently lasted about three months. Although then residing at 17 Street and 32 Avenue in South Calgary, the Taylors took up residence at this location in Bankview shortly afterward in order, it was rumoured, to avoid having to ever again ride the streetcar down the hill in icy conditions.
Remarkably, this was the second time the Taylor family had cheated death. They had emigrated to Canada from their native Wales on board the ill-fated Empress of Ireland in 1913, the year before the renowned luxury liner so tragically sank, taking a number of Calgarians with it!
TOWNSEND RESIDENCE, (demolished)
1709, 25 Avenue, S. W.
Formerly the Townsend family home, from this address young Leslie Robert Townsend enlisted for war service, one of about seven Bankview youth who would never return.
Pilot Officer Townsend was stationed with the 199th Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, when he was shot down on 9 April 1943 at the age of 24. Son to Arthur and Edith S. Townsend, who once resided here, Bob is commemorated together with others who have no known grave, on the inspiring Runnymede Memorial at historic Runnymede, on the River Thames in Surrey, England.
Fittingly, it was at Runnymede that the charter known as Magna Carta, (the "Great Charter"), was sealed by King John in 1215 enshrining forever the most fundamental freedoms of the British peoples and the basis of all democratic society, the same principles for which Bob Townsend also fought and died more than seven centuries later. Appropriately also, the Memorial lies not far from even more ancient and historic Windsor Castle, seat of British Sovereigns since the Norman Conquest, and symbolic of the most glorious Imperial Crown and the mightiest Empire in all the annals of mankind, - the Empire upon which "the sun never sets".
Such an honour seems a fitting tribute indeed for one who sacrificed himself so willingly and so valiantly in the cause of both Crown and Empire.
VENINI RESIDENCE, (demolished)
2611, 15A Street, S. W.
Mario S. and William B. Venini purchased F. L. Payne's South Calgary Grocery located at 2623, 14 Street, just slightly north of 26 Avenue, about the time of the first World War, thus ranking amongst Bankview's earliest merchants.
At first the Veninis dwelt temporarily on the very westernmost edge of the old Lincoln Dairy grounds around the corner on 26 Avenue, then very soon withdrew to this nearby address slightly deeper inside Bankview on the formerly-designated Benson Street. In due course at a still later date the Veninis themselves sold out the business to Albert T. Boyes and Son, and eventually left the Community to move on to bigger and better plans elsewhere.
WEBSTER / BUCKMASTER RESIDENCE, (AILSA CRAIG), (a designated "Century Home")
2103, 18 Street, S. W.
Ailsa Craig, the remarkable residence of early hotelier Francis Robertson "Frank" Webster, is considered one of the most elegant in Bankview.
Constructed just after the close of the Edwardian Era, it exhibits influences from the "Arts and Crafts Movement", a "back-to-the-basics" architectural school of thought especially prevalent during approximately the 1895 to 1920 period. This movement emphasised a return to older methods of more personalised artisanship and craftsmanship as a form of resistance and a backlash reaction against perceived industrialisation and the growing trend toward "production-line" designs and even prefabricated building kits. The architects were the internationally esteemed firm of Green and Green from San Francisco.
The naming of this architectural gem was most likely inspired by a lighthouse situated on a rocky crag ("craig") in the Firth of Clyde on the west coastline of Webster's native Scotland, which also lent its name to an Ontario town. On its hilltop perch, and surrounded by its formidable fieldstone wall and iron gate, Webster's Calgary home seems in some ways suggestive of the fortified isolation of the original Ailsa Craig, of which it is the probable namesake.
The islet itself, technically part of Ayrshire, is famed as the source of the two types of granite which together produce some 70% to 90% of all the world's stones (or "rocks" to North Americans) for use in the game of curling, - certainly the finest quality in existence anywhere. Despite this fame and fortune, the Craig's quarries were virtually shut down by uncaring environmental concerns early in the 21st Century and the place was thereafter viewed as something of a white elephant, good mainly for birdwatching, but also, redemptively, as a possible generator of raw cash, by its hereditary landlord, the eighth Marquess of Ailsa, Chief of the ancient Clan Kennedy, whose ancestors had owned it for nearly 500 years, almost from the time of birth of the beloved Scottish sport itself. Not to be left "holding the bag", as it were, Lord Ailsa listed it for sale in the year 2011 and offers were called for, beginning at a stone or rock bottom limit of two and one half million pounds Sterling. By the spring of 2013 there still had been apparently no bites, and the asking price had been devalued by another full million. Then, toward the end of the latter year, almost out of solid rock itself, there came to the rescue an anonymous purchaser in the form of a secret conservation trust, unwilling to be identified by its name or by those of its owners, but dedicated to turning the rocky volcanic plug and former lighthouse station, retreat and prison into a retirement home and sanctuary for puffins and gannets.
Fieldstone walls surrounding a property were another symbol of opulence in pioneer Alberta. Although the material was readily available in abundance, and theoretically free for the taking, the high cost in terms of one's own human toil and sweat in physically collecting and erecting it was for the most part far too prohibitive for the average working-class homeowner in Bankview to bear. Therefore, despite its cheapness economically, it enjoyed surprisingly low popularity and was not found in much greater or more common use than commercial sandstone, which was, in turn, too expensive for most ordinary residents. Webster's wall accordingly exemplifies and demonstrates the affluence of a citizen with means sufficient to hire the labour necessary to construct it.
Frank Webster himself hailed from the great shipbuilding and industrial heartland of Dundee, in those days one of Scotland's chief seaports, where he was born 14 May 1885. He had immigrated to Ontario in his early 20s, then almost immediately to Calgary, where he first became a porter at the old Imperial Hotel. Subsequently he worked at several other hotels; then, having learned the trade, he bought two himself at Olds, which he shortly sold in order to return to Calgary and its more lucrative market.
Here he was affiliated with three major hostelries: the Royal, (of which he was manager), the Queen's, (of which he was a shareholder), and the Noble, (which he leased). Sidelines in other fields included F. R. Webster and Co., an insurance and brokerage firm, and the Highwood-Sarcee Oil Co., (of which he was President). He became Vice President and finally President of the Alberta Hotel Association, serving until his death at Calgary General Hospital after a lengthy illness two years later on 19 February 1948 at age 62.
Noted as an avid golfer, he practised this ancient Scottish pastime as a member of three exclusive local golf clubs.
Frank Webster was always fascinated by the Red Indians of the region and encouraged morning Indian Parades through the downtown core during Stampede Week for some 10 years. These traditionally stopped at the Royal Hotel, where the participants usually would be presented with oranges, chewing gum, tobacco and petty cash, and occasionally other trinkets would be distributed. In recognition of his patronage the Sarcee designated him Chief Spotted Eagle in 1941, and he was further created Chief Mountain Buffalo of the Stoney in 1944.
Frank Webster was survived by his slightly older wife Margaret, who was born 5 December 1879 and died 31 October 1965, shortly before her 86th birthday. Both are buried together at Union Cemetery.
Webster's daughter married Arthur "Art" Davis, owner of the Wales and Imperial Hotels, whose father, professional soccer player and coach George Davis, additionally owned and operated the Ogden Hotel. Eventually the family interests became merged by inheritance. Art Davis continued his father's and father-in-law's legacies of public service, devoting his time and energies to Calgarians in many volunteer capacities until well into later life, when advancing age and illness at length forced him to slow down and reduce his activities.
A later admirer of the house, which he bought about 1971 and occupied until his retirement to the West Coast some 20 or more years later, was Harvey Allan Buckmaster, a distinguished Professor of Physics in The University of Calgary and ceaseless Bankview booster, Community worker and for several years President of the Community Association. Over the years, whilst living here at Ailsa Craig, Dr. Buckmaster probably devoted almost as much time to this Community's affairs as to University governance and scholarly pursuits.
Through his widespread influence and the respect he commanded in broadly differing social circles and spheres of endeavour, in the academic world as well as amongst business and civic leaders, and his persuasiveness in mobilising support of the general public at large, Harvey Buckmaster was able to exercise, as had few if any before him, a tremendous role in protection of the area and its natural assets from a broad range of threats including detrimental land-use redevelopment proposals and rezoning schemes. Moreover, he constructively counterbalanced this stance by successfully encouraging redress of the need for increased green space, in which Bankview was then severely lacking.
The widely diverse impacts of Professor Buckmaster's vision for Bankview's future will long be felt and could fill many pages, but suffice it to say that the Community itself has seen fit to honour its great promoter in the most fitting manner, with the naming in 1991 of its largest and most visible piece of parkland, for the creation and establishment of which he had so diligently striven. The legacy of Buckmaster Park is a deserving tribute indeed.
Honours from other sources have been legion as well. Most notably, at Convocation Ceremonies on the morning of Thursday, 10 June 2004, during one of his many return visits from British Columbia, The U of C conferred upon Harvey Allan Buckmaster the second-highest award it can bestow, - that of membership in the prestigious Order of The University of Calgary.
More about the life and career of this prominent Bankview resident will be found in the article herein relating to Buckmaster Park.
WEST END FIRE HALL
1629 Scotland Street, S. W.
Occasionally, even though not strictly speaking within the official confines of Bankview's boundaries, a site may have exercised such a profound and immense role and impact in the Community that some few brief words of mention in acknowledgement of its influence and importance must not be overlooked or omitted. Such is the case with old Fire Station #5, which was chiefly responsible for fire protection in this area for some 30 years.
The unassuming little house located on the north side of 17 Avenue at its junction with Scotland Street would scarcely be suspected of its historic past, but in reality it was originally opened in 1922 as the West Calgary Fire Hall, in which service it remained until replaced by a newer building elsewhere in 1952. It was the second structure to bear the designation of Fire Hall #5. Its predecessor, constructed in 1910, had been considerably further east on 17 Avenue, and its successor, from 1952 onwards, was much further south on 14 Street. But for approximately three decades this modest but remarkable edifice played a vital part in Bankview's life and well-being. Later, after being decommissioned, it filled other needs, including some years as a Community medical health services facility, before finally being converted to a private residence, as it yet remains.
Even today certain traces continue to be discernible, by which one may still envision something of how it once appeared. The front entranceway has been slightly modified, but the large plate glass window to the right of the door marks the spot where in days gone by the garage opened to admit the fire apparatus. And on the front lawn there still exists some indication of the sturdy brick and stone walls and related features designed and set in place by the late James Yates, including a round circular enclosure now serving as a flower bed, but in former times the site of the traditional outdoor Fire Hall fountain with its tiny statuette.
WHITE'S GROCERY, (earlier), (demolished)
1701, 19 Avenue, S. W.
This corner apartment block, now numbered 1709, 19 Avenue, covers the original site of the first grocery shop in Bankview, subsuming the former building number, 1701, and rendering the old address redundant. Facts of relevance will be found outlined and narrated in considerably greater depth in the article appertaining to the later site of White's Grocery.
However, some mention may be of interest and should be offered herein concerning the earlier and later life and career of the founder and proprietor of both these historic establishments, Harry White.
Bankview's first shopkeeper, like so many other local settlers, had been originally sent West for reasons of health. He and his wife the former Ida May Watts, upon arrival from the Ottawa area, promptly set up shop in Bankview. Their clientele covered the whole surrounding district, and included the Nimmons and McCloy families, with whom they soon became intimate friends. In fact, although they had no children of their own, the McCloy children, (grandchildren to Billy Nimmons), grew up knowing them more familiarly as "Uncle Hal" and "Aunt Ida". (Personally they usually called each other "Hal" and "Mumsy".)
A neighbour, customer and friend, Ernest Redpath "Jake" Fullerton, decided about 1913 to take up ranching in the Bragg Creek vicinity, and, after visiting the Fullertons there on several occasions, the Whites elected to follow suit about 1915, selling out the business in Bankview soon afterward.
The Whites' property at Bragg Creek, which they homesteaded, clearing fields with a hand-operated stump-puller, but to which formal title by Letters Patent from The Crown was not granted until 1921, spanned the Elbow River, where the town centre now lies. On it were erected some of the little settlement's most significant structures including the schoolhouse, the Community Hall and, in 1933, possibly the first authentic Youth Hostel of its kind in Canada. The couple's initial little tent-and-board shanty was soon replaced about 1917, with the help of Ida May's father, by a much more substantial log dwelling, and, as the foremost and most important citizens of Bragg Creek, the road running past, which would eventually become the town's main street, assumed their name, White Avenue, which it yet bears to this very day.
The Whites took over operation of the Bragg Creek Post Office in April of 1918. At first the heavy sacks of mail had to be collected from Jumping Pound, and Harry, when his indifferent health permitted, would have to make this demanding and gruelling weekly journey by horse-drawn buggy in summer and sled or cutter in winter, enlisting the help of a voluntary substitute whenever he was unable.
Harry White's impressive McLaughlin touring car, with its gleaming brass embellishments, was one of the first motor vehicles in the district, and neighbourhood children clamoured for rides therein. The Nimmons grandchildren, on their frequent visits to the White ranch, were no exception. The main reason for acquisition of the trusty automobile was retrieval of the mail bags from the main depot at Calgary after the route was shifted there from Jumping Pound. Despite frequent breakdowns on soggy rural roads, and the consequent delays in arrival, this conveyance proved extremely serviceable in its time. However, upon arrival, processing of the mail could still require as much as three hours, the addressees, who would travel in some cases up to 10 miles each way just to receive it, waiting patiently to be issued each piece as it was duly sorted and stamped. Their horses and rigs would fill the adjacent yard and even spill out into the main street the entire while, the animals being tethered to trees, fences or whatever else in the nature of a solid object happened to be conveniently and readily available.
To house the ever expanding Postal operations, which at first had been conducted on their living room floor, another building was erected next door, and after Harry's death in 1925 Ida May carried on here with the flourishing enterprise. In order to supplement the somewhat less than lucrative but at least more regularly dependable emoluments of the Government Postal contract, she shortly added a general store in conjunction therewith, which became particularly busy on "sorting day", soon necessitating additional help, and eventually being leased out. The little convenience and snack shop, under other management, still continues to operate as a major local attraction today. At this location Ida May also afterward installed perhaps the first commercial petrol pump the area had ever known, thus becoming proprietor of the first automotive filling station in the entire region.
This expansion into grocery and gasoline ventures proved to be a very wise and timely decision indeed, inasmuch as the Postal franchise soon became less certain, being awarded for political reasons and transferred to others back and forth with frequent changes of Federal governing parties during the mid 1920s and for about a decade and a half thereafter. Whenever the Conservatives formed the Dominion Government the White tender would be favoured, but when the Liberals assumed Office the patronage appointment would instead revert to some of their supporters, usually the Fullertons, which arrangement tended also to strain long-standing friendships and neighbourly relations. This situation ceased during World War II., when few people wanted the job, and Ida May remained secure thereafter. All told, she served as Postmaster for three separate periods, and was still in office at the time of her death in September 1953.
The 1917 accommodation tragically burned to the ground in July 1930 together with all Ida May's personal effects, leaving little more than the stone chimney and fireplace, but she resolutely rebuilt without delay, largely through assistance in the form of work bees organised and staged by kindly and caring neighbours. Many years later, long after her passing, that 1930 reconstruction, itself by then long since deserted, in dilapidated condition, ravaged by vandalism and facing imminent condemnation, was rescued from oblivion at the 11th hour when purchased and lovingly restored by popular historian and author William M. "Billy" McLennan, who, in retirement, would create within its walls one of the most fascinating and eclectic museum collections in Southern Alberta. This splendid edifice is still known by its original name, "Wake-Siah Lodge", a term apparently of Algonquin extraction and imported from the East by the White couple, but the translation of which remains obscure if not now altogether lost.
In 1942 Ida May married, secondly, one Charles Sherman, who also predeceased her by some four years in 1949. By then Ida May herself had already become something of a local institution, who even yet remains a beloved figure still fondly and affectionately recalled in local lore and in the collective memories of old-timers of the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, her equally significant role in the founding, with her first husband, of Bankview's original grocery shop and Post Office is less clearly understood or remembered today.
WHITE'S GROCERY, (later), and BANKVIEW POST OFFICE, (demolished)
2141, 15 Street, S. W.
For nearly 90 years, until its destruction at the end of the 1990s, this was the site of the oldest surviving grocery business in Bankview. A condominium complex now stands on the large corner lot which once hosted the second home of Bankview's first general store.
Because the southern portion of the lot, (technically Lot 21 of Block 11), had previously remained vacant, the shop, which was situated more toward the northerly side, always appeared regardless to be a true "corner store". It provided a classic example of its type, truly a living reminder of another era.
The building permit for the brick veneer store and residence was issued 8 July 1910 to local retailer Harry White who continued to operate the business and occupy the flat above it for the next several years, also administering the Bankview Post Office therein from about 1912 onward.
Even this, however, did not mark the firm's real beginnings; before removing to this place, White had for a time previously owned and resided above a somewhat less opulent predecessor establishment of the same name slightly north-west, on the corner at 1701, 19 Avenue. That location, also in Bankview, is now covered by an apartment block bearing the address number 1709.
The transfer to 15 Street may in fact have been precipitated by A. H. DeMara's proposal to erect a more attractive competitor, afterward the Bankview Food Store, almost directly opposite across 19 Avenue; or, conversely, DeMara may have availed himself and taken advantage of the vacuum occasioned by White's opportune withdrawal from the immediate vicinity.
The "White Store" as it came to be known, both in its first and second incarnations, provided a full range of services, extending even to personal delivery. Harry or his shop boy, in a cart or buggy hauled by a faithful old sorrel named "Dick", would fill grocery orders packed into a durable though time-worn wooden "Sunlight Soap" crate with openings or carrying-slots for hands at either end. After the contents were emptied at the customer's home, (usually onto the floor or kitchen table), the much-travelled box would return with the rig to the point of origin to await another similar mission with its next load.
Toward the end of the first World War, with the Whites' removal to Bragg Creek, the 15 Street structure appears to have stood empty for a couple of years, then becoming the SPQR Store, with Ishar Singh as proprietor. The initials SPQR formed and represented the official abbreviation of the formal description for the Roman Republic, "Senatus Populusque Romanus", Latin for "the Roman Senate and People", as carried into battle by the Roman Legions. Either Ishar Singh was remarkably literate, highly educated and well schooled in the Classics, or he was referring instead to a recognised business concept having the same acronym, "Small Profits, Quick Returns".
Sadly, in this case it may have been Small Profits which led to Singh's and SPQR's Quick Disappearance, never to return. His occupancy lasted only about a year, and the place subsequently passed through many owners and many names.
The following year Fred West took over the grocery and Post Office, also carrying on about a year before being supplanted by William Gould. After yet another year the long tenure of Llewellyn T. McLandress began, his "Bankview Cash Grocery" lasting some 15 years before giving way to the McWalters family who established McWalters Grocery on the site.
This latter enterprise was managed by a member of the family, Stewart McWalters, who, however, lived at the family home on 1 Avenue, S. W. The flat above the shop was instead rented out, this marking the first time that the store's owner and operator had not also resided on the premises. About a year later still, Joseph Libin, of a prominent Calgary Jewish family which also owned a string of similar mercantile outlets locally, acquired the business, which he would retain for some 20 years, but the McWalters name was left unchanged and Stewart McWalters stayed on to manage it for a number of years longer.
This was in the mid 1930s and, about the same time the Libins took over, James Campbell Meats assumed the fresh meat division of the operation and moved a meat market into part of the main level. Campbell also dwelt elsewhere, and a second apartment was let out upstairs. Libin continued to own the grocery and Campbell the meat market, but there may have been some renovations meanwhile to the upper floor, because after perhaps a year's vacancy, three suites were in evidence. In fact during the building's approximately 90-year lifespan the upper space was occupied by at least 35 other non-proprietary tenants along the way.
In the late 1940s Campbell was superseded briefly by William J. Coughlan's Meats, but this was quickly taken over by Libin and merged into the main retail operation as McWalters Grocery and Meat Market.
Most recently the shop is best remembered as Gordon's Grocery, for two subsequent owners, first Gordon L. Chow, to whom Libin sold out at the end of the 1950s, and then Gordon Lee from about the mid 1960s onward. Gordon Lee handed over to Linton S. Lee upon retirement about 1980 but the name of the family operation, Gordon's, was retained.
This was its last successful venture. Eventually purchased in the 1990s by other Oriental interests as Sally's Grocery, it never really became operational or functioned as a viable business enterprise again, and finally fell victim to land redevelopment schemes.
During its lifetime and since, the popular shop has sometimes been confused with and incorrectly referred to as the Hillside Grocery, which name it never bore, and which in actuality was instead located at 2718, 17 Street, just across the line in the South Calgary subdivision. Opened in the early 1920s as the Service Grocery, that establishment was renamed Hillside about 10 years later, as it thus remained through some six succeeding decades. It became Hui's in the early 1990s and at length ended its days almost on the very eve of the 21st Century.
WILL RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
1818, 18A Street, S. W.
In the early 1980s two prominent members of Calgary's arts Community, John Will and his wife Mary, took up residence at this address, at which they would remain more than 30 years, and to which John would later refer, tongue in cheek, as the "Shady Acres Home for the Elderly".
The renowned artist John A. Will was born at Waterloo, Iowa on 30 June 1939 and graduated from The University of Northern Iowa, located at Cedar Falls, in 1961 with the degree Bachelor of Arts (BA). Three years later he attained a Master's degree in Fine Arts (MFA) at the Iowa City campus of The University of Iowa, where he majored in etching and painting. The following year, 1964 - 1965, a Fulbright Scholarship took him to the Rijsacadamie von Beeldende Kunston in Amsterdam for further study and artistic practice.
Will submitted an oil painting for the Fine Arts Festival exhibition held 31 March through 7 April 1962. In the Festival of 21 April through 5 May 1963 he exhibited a colour intaglio, whilst in the 1964 Festival he showed a colour etching. In the Print-Watercolour-Drawing exhibit which accompanied the Fine Arts Festival of 5 through 15 December 1965, Will showed an engraving called "Will You Be My Egg Laying Baby?" which was purchased for the Fine Arts Collection. Will noted this work was created when he was a graduate student at The University of Iowa. An etching entitled "Dutch Bug", which had been created during Will's time in Amsterdam, was exhibited at the same show and also purchased for the Fine Arts Collection. At the Festival of 8 through 18 December 1968 he exhibited a colour intaglio entitled "The Summer 1967" which was subsequently purchased for the Fine Arts Collection. Will has said of this print that it "was made while I was a resident of Menomonie, Wisconsin".
John Will taught at The University of Wisconsin, Stout, during the years 1965 to 1970 and was a resident artist at Yale University in the summer of 1966. He spent a year as Ford Foundation Printer-Fellow at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 1970 until 1971, when he arrived at Calgary to join the academic staff of The U of C as an instructor in lithography. Here he spent in excess of a quarter-century instructing in the Department of Art until eventual retirement from full-time service with the rank of Professor Emeritus in 1997.
However, he had by then taught literally coast to coast across Canada, particularly during summer breaks, ranging all the way from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design at Halifax to the Emily Carr School of Art and Design at Vancouver. The Banff Centre was another institution which similarly benefitted from his expertise.
Although in the earlier stages of his career he concentrated primarily on printmaking, Will from about 1980 began to focus more on painting, photography and video. He also during this time collaborated on numerous installations and performances with various artists, students and friends.
Will exhibited solo at such prestigious venues as the Glenbow Museum, Calgary in 1970 and the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina in 1988.
Amongst the best-known North American repositories which include some of his pieces are the Library of Congress, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Gallery of Ontario. His works, in various media including printmaking, painting, performance and video, are likewise universally known and have become prized possessions of many other public and private collections around the world, even as his presence has enhanced and proved an inestimable asset to the Bankview Community itself.
John's wife, Mary Shannon Will, ranks as a distinguished artist and sculptress in her own right, who also exhibited widely throughout the arts Community.
Mary, a native of Ithaca, New York, attended The University of Iowa, in Iowa City, from 1964 to 1967, and The University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, from 1970 to 1971. In later years she tended to operate out of dual locations, both at Calgary and in New Mexico.
Mary Will’s work has been said to "combine computer-generated imagery with hand-applied paint". This process may be more fully described thus, as one in which "a computer printout acts as the support for the paint and establishes the overall composition. The artist’s concern is for patterning, layering, and repetition. Each detail of surface is precise and flawlessly detailed. The painted aspect of the work is determined from various invented, but strict systems. An example of one system involves selecting the colours based on all of the letters in friends’ names. Once the name is selected, a meticulous strategy is set up in terms of how the paint is to be applied and from which side of the paper each colour will start. Whilst the work derives from a strict set of conditions, the end result is playful and rich with tactile surfaces".
Mary Shannon Will taught at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver, and the Tuscarora Pottery, Tuscarora, Nevada. The Alberta Art Foundation, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Edmonton Art Gallery, the Glenbow Museum, The University of Calgary, The University of Lethbridge and The University of Alberta are but a few of the many institutions who proudly possess examples of her work. She exhibited on numerous occasions in both solo and group shows at Paul Kuhn Gallery, (Calgary), Miriam Shiell Fine Art, (Toronto), The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, (Lethbridge), Stride Gallery, (Calgary), Southern Alberta Art Gallery, (Lethbridge) and the Glenbow Museum, (Calgary), as well as at other locales as far distant as Albuquerque, New Mexico.
WITHELL RESIDENCE, (a designated "Century Home")
1816, 16 Street, S. W.
In early 1908 the Reverend William Hollingsworth apparently preached the first services of Bankview Methodist Church on this site in the private home of local carpenter and future Neilson Furniture elevator operator Phillip John Withell, newly arrived from Ontario. Later that same summer the congregation, with the Reverend T. C. Colwell as pastor, appears to have been sharing space in the newly-constructed Bankview Presbyterian Church building nearby.
However, the Methodists in short order acquired a piece of land of their own across 17 Avenue approximately where the Jewish Memorial Chapel would later stand, and allegedly relocated their place of worship to a tiny makeshift equipment shed which they placed on that property. In any case a small but proper church, (whether in the former equipment shed or not), was quickly established there and dedicated on Sunday morning, 14 February 1909 by the Reverend Dr. George William Kerby of Central Methodist (now Central United) Church downtown, who would soon become the founder and first Principal of Mount Royal College.
On the day of dedication a call went out for financial support to defray expenses incurred and associated with the new church, and a special collection was to be taken up at both morning and evening services with the hope, objective and goal of raising about $200 to $300 for this purpose. However, astoundingly, the required sum was realised some several times over at the morning service alone!
This original frame structure, seating about 150, shortly required further expansion, and a permit was issued 28 June 1911 for erection of a larger church. With the formation of the United Church of Canada in 1925, Bankview Methodist changed its name to Scarboro Avenue United, since there could not be two Bankview United Churches, and the ex-Presbyterians, who were still in Bankview and who had also turned United, had a clearer and more obvious claim to the Bankview title.
In September 1927, two years after Church Union, the former Bankview Presbyterian congregation, (which had continued as Bankview United), was at last transferred over and amalgamated with Scarboro Avenue United, and the combined organisation became known as Bankview-Scarboro United Church. The next year, 1928, the Reverend John Henderson Garden, who had been the first student ever to register in Mount Royal College at its founding, became pastor, remaining until he succeeded his old Principal, the abovementioned Dr. George W. Kerby, at the College many years later in 1942. (Mr. Garden's brother, James Hay Garden, was a long-time City Alderman and Commissioner.)
Meanwhile, also in 1928, the Reverend Mr. Garden supervised the acquisition of a permanent church site on Scarboro Avenue, which would become the present home of Scarboro United Church. He presided the following year at the cornerstone-laying ceremony performed by two prominent local early Methodists, William Henry Cushing, former Alderman and Mayor of Calgary and a member of the first Provincial Cabinet of Alberta, and Richard Bedford Bennett, Leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Dominion House of Commons and soon to become Prime Minister of His Majesty's Dominion of Canada. Dr. Kerby himself officiated at the dedication of the new edifice on 17 November 1929, more than 20 years after he had performed the same honour for its original predecessor.
The former, abandoned sanctuary on 17 Avenue afterward passed through many hands and many uses, both secular and religious, including service as a Mennonite Church, prior to takeover of the property by the Jewish Chevra Kadisha in 1961.
Thus, although the tale has been many times wrongly told, the Methodist side of the origins of the current Scarboro United congregation had its beginning here at the Withell residence more than a hundred years since, and that institution accordingly deduces its ancestry from two distinct roots, both located very near each other in Bankview.