History of Calgary – Then & Now – 1885 and 1912
- 1885 – Population of 500
- 2012 – Population of 1.1 million
In February of 1885, Calgary officially got its first police chief, by the name of Jack Ingram. His experience as a former police chief of Western Canada, out of of Winnipeg at the time, helped supplement him into the new job. He was given two assistant constables to help him with his duties.
The first city police station was based in the back of a pool hall located on 8th Avenue SW (Stephen Avenue) where they had to wait for several months before they even had a phone installed. At the time the city was home to a bit over 500 people.
In November of 1886, a fire rampaged through the city, burning down the wooden structures with ease. The fire directly or indirectly caused the destruction of 14 buildings in total and losses were estimated at approximately $100,000. Fortunately for residents, no one was injured or killed during the incident.
City politicians responded to the incident by creating a law stipulating that downtown buildings needed to be constructed out of Paskapoo Sandstone, a fire retardant building material made into bricks.
- 1912 – Eighth Avenue was the commercial heart of the city, with original sandstone buildings containing retail, serviced by streetcars
- 2012 – Today Stephen Avenue is one of only three National Historic Districts of Canada, preserving an important piece of Calgary’s history
In 1912, an American named Guy Weadick partnered with the right people, including H.C. McMullen and rallied enough financial support from local businessman to begin a “wild wild west” outdoor show.
The City of Calgary began constructing an outdoor rodeo grounds and over 100,000 people attended the rodeo over a 6 day time frame to be entertained by the cowboys who had come from all over North America. At the time prizes for the contestants totalled over $200,000!
This was the beginning of the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on Earth and as you know, this year in 2012 it is its 100th anniversary!
Quite a few of Calgary’s Landmarks are also connected with the year 1912. Some built that year include the first Calgary Public Library, the Grand Theatre and the Lougheed Building, while the establishment of the University of Calgary also occurred.
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