School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to learn! It is time for all kinds of new summer adventures: outdoor activities, trips, or special family time. History buffs can do all these things if they attend some of the events included in the Historic Calgary Week program. The added bonus is that almost all events are free of charge.
Historic Calgary Week, which this year runs for eleven days (July 22 to August 1), is organized by the Chinook Historical Society and includes more than 60 tours, lectures, concerts and family events presented by many different heritage organizations in the Calgary region. You don’t even have to go into the city to find activities with a historical flavour.
The theme is Learning Matters: Record, Review, Renew. This year marks significant anniversaries for the institutes of higher learning in Calgary; SAIT turns 100 and the University of Calgary celebrates 50 years. Both will host history talks. There will also be old-fashioned school-oriented activities for kids, and tours of historic schools such as those at Bearspaw and Morleyville.
For those who love outdoor activities, there are walking tours of various Calgary neighbourhoods, including Riverside, Killarney, Rosedale, Tuxedo Park, West Hillhurst and Bowness. There is also a tour at Okotoks. Perhaps instead of city streets, you prefer the quiet atmosphere of a cemetery? In that case, you can attend cemetery tours in Okotoks and High River to hear tales of pioneers.
Are you intrigued by a particular place? You can find out about endangered historic buildings, the Centre Street Bridge, Memorial Park Library, the St. Louis Hotel, Walker House and Edworthy Park. If religious buildings are your interest, there are talks about Knox United Church, the Buddist monastery, and an historic rural synagogue. There is even a lecture about the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.
If you would like to take a little trip, you can head out on one of the tours of various farms and ranches, such as the Saskatoon Farm south of Calgary, the Bow Valley Ranche in Fish Creek Provincial Park, the EP Ranch south of Longview, or the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site. I will again be giving a tour at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park (located between Calgary and Cochrane) highlighting the work of the Archaeological Society of Alberta, Calgary Centre.
Do you want to involve your family? Learn how to tell your family’s stories or how to preserve your family history research. Several venues will have activities for kids; Fort Calgary and Lougheed House have family days planned. The Chinook Historical Society is also featuring readings from their new children’s history book. There is even a presentation about WWI and WWII comic book heroes.
Cultural events can also be great for the whole family. You can listen to a variety of musical performances (including Cowtown Opera’s production about the founder of the first library), or learn about Calgary’s music history. The Leighton Art Centre, south of Calgary, is offering tours of their art gallery and museum. If you are interested in domestic arts, you can attend a showing of Alberta quilts.
Maybe you are a hard-core history fan and just want to learn more about your favourite subject. Topics encompass dinosaurs, mammoths, First Nations people, and Calgary’s horse culture. Political issues include the Votes for Women movement and labour history. The history of various types of heroes can be found at presentations about sports stars, police officers, firefighters, and the military.
With so much crammed into Historic Calgary Week, there is something for everyone. Some events have limited space, so plan ahead and preregister where you can. For those of us who are passionate about history, there are difficult choices to be made! Wishing you Happy Summer History Adventures…
This article was originally printed in the BERGEN NEWS and is being reprinted with permission.