Monday, September 23, 2013

Heritage Park – Calgary Alberta, Canada (#3)

Continuing with our trip to Alberta Canada and with our experiences at Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village and its portrayal of living history…

As I mentioned previously, even the service vehicles in the park have been built to fit the overall image of one or the other time periods on display.  The park employees that were riding in this truck stopped and let us look it over and get inside.  Laurie snapped this photo of me in the passenger seat.
The park employees told us that the engine is a current production model and you can see that the tires are not from the era that this truck would have come from…

This is a view down the main street of the 1910 village.  There are no less than 28 different buildings in this ‘downtown’ area.  Examples include the City Hall, Post Office, Hotel, Railroad Depot, Newspaper Office, Dentist’s Office, General Store and a Chinese Laundry.

This is the Cochrane Fire Hall.  It was built in 1909 to house 2 new fire engines.  The builder was a carpenter who would later become fire chief himself.  In the early days, the fire chief also acted as the constable and sanitary inspector.  For these duties, he was paid $5.00 per month.  He was assisted by the 12 men of the Cochrane Volunteer Fire Brigade.
The fire engine that's inside the main portion of the fire hall is a 1915 American LaFrance chain-driven auxiliary pumper.  Originally, the Cochrane Fire Hall housed two hand-drawn, 60-gallon chemical engines.  It also contained a bedroom for the night watchman, and a meeting room for the town council. The Town of Cochrane donated the fire hall to Heritage Park in 1964.

This is the Cottage Hospital.  Several towns in Alberta established their first hospitals in cottages.  These cottage hospitals were small, temporary and poor.  By our standards, they did not have proper antiseptics or sanitary measures, with surgery often conducted on the dining room table.
This gingerbread trim house was built in 1907, and it was briefly owned by Martin Pallesen, owner of Calgary Central Creamery. After a long use as a home, the house was donated to Heritage Park in 1979.  Heritage Park restored the house as a Cottage Hospital in 1991.   

This log structure has been called ‘the only log opera house in the world’.  The Canmore Opera House was built by members of the H.W. McNeill Company Brass Band in 1898 in Canmore, about 62 miles west of Calgary at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  The building, known to most residents of Canmore as the Band Hall, was used to host a variety of community events such as whist drives, plays, mine-sponsored Christmas parties and lavish dances.

FYI...Whist is a card game ancestral to bridge.  A whist drive is a social gathering where whist is played.  The winners of each hand move to different tables to play the losers of the previous hand.  
The Canmore Opera House occasionally featured well known acts such as the British Opera Company and the International Welsh Choir.  Early silent movies were shown here beginning in 1913.  Stars such as Jack Benny and Ginger Rogers drove from Banff to Canmore to see the world's only log opera house. The building held its last show in 1960.  Canmore Mines Ltd. donated the building to Heritage Park in 1964.  The opera house was fully refurbished in 2010 and its now home to a variety of entertainment and social gatherings.

This is Banff Alberta’s Royal North West Mounted Police Barracks.  In 1873, alarmed by the lawlessness engendered by the whiskey trade in the Western provinces, the Canadian government created the North West Mounted Police. This building was originally the second floor of one of the structures that formed the first NWMP detachment in Banff, which had been established in 1887.
That same year, the detachment also grew from two constables to a total of 14 men because of Banff's potential as a popular tourist destination.  The building was purchased for use as a private residence in 1910.  The owner donated it to Heritage Park in 1964.

Yes indeed!  Laurie filed a complaint against me and she had this very young ‘member’ of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police lock me up… I was let out on my promise of good behavior.

The photo above shows St. Martin's Church near the village center.  In 1888, Reverend Canon Henry Havelock-Smith arrived in the Pincher Creek area as a missionary for the Anglican Church.  After forming his own mission, the minister began conducting services at the home of a prominent local citizen in the town of Grasmere.  By 1895 the churchgoers had started raising funds for the construction of their own church.
Reverend Havelock-Smith decided to name the parish St. Martin's, and by the spring of 1896 the congregation had raised enough money to hire a local carpenter.  The cost for building the church was $110…plus $4 extra for seats!  After the church was donated to Heritage Park in 1964, the church grounds were consecrated and put under the aegis of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary.  Special Sunday services and numerous weddings are performed in St. Martin's Church each year.

Here’s another view of the 1910 village’s ‘downtown’ area.  We did get our walking in while touring Heritage Park.  Our doctor would have been pleased…if we just had skipped the huge cinnamon rolls from the 1912 Alberta Bakery and the ice cream cones from the 1910 Vulcan Ice Cream Parlor! (The bakery is the building with the awning that’s down the street a bit)

This view shows the Post Office/Telephone Exchange as well as the 1907 Wainwright Hotel.  During the summer, from 11 AM until 3:30 PM, the Wainwright restaurant offers table service dining with full-course meals.
From 9 AM to 2 PM on Sundays in the winter, the Hotel reportedly serves up one of Calgary’s best Home-style Breakfast Buffets.  Better yet, guests can drive up the hill and park right in front of the hotel!

This is a photo of a portion of the interior of the Post Office and Telephone Exchange.  Believe it or not, before the 1870s, the Hudson's Bay Company controlled the mail in Western Canada.  Then in 1874, the North West Mounted Police began acting as postmasters for the region. It wasn't until 1883 that Calgary's first real post office opened in Bannerman's Hay, Flour and Feed Store.
Since they didn't take up much room, many post offices served multiple purposes and they were placed in corners of businesses, such as general stores or private homes. This particular building was built in Cayley Alberta in 1908…about 37 miles south of Calgary.  The switchboard in the office is actually connected to 16 lines around the Park.  The building was sold to Heritage Park in 1964 for $500.

For our last photo in this edition of our blogs pertaining to Calgary’s Heritage Park, it seemed appropriate to picture one of the many craftsmen, actors or re-enactors that provide a sense of time and place throughout the park.  Laurie loves blacksmiths…probably because they make her think of horseshoes…and horses. 
Re-enactors were present throughout the Park.  They didn’t just serve as clerks and waiters…or even craftsmen.  They played ‘parts’ as characters walking down the street, they drove carriages or wagons down the road and they performed maintenance work, all while looking like they were part of the scene that was being portrayed.
That’s about it for this segment of our blogs about Calgary’s Heritage Park… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping and sharing our travel experiences with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. Good shots and great that they keep their history alive like this. Having only been to the area once in the winter, we may have to consider a return summer trip in the RV.

  2. Dear Dave, The pictures are wonderful. It looks like the weather and the atmosphere were perfect. What a nice trip.
    I am glad you were let
    Blessings, Catherine

  3. I love this 1909's red house is beautiful David!
    And how you feel in jail??
    Im glas you are OK lol