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Time Capsule: Calgary 1967 vs. Calgary 2017

Westwind Design is getting excited about Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, as are many of our clients. We decided it would be fun to look back at Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967, and see what our home city of Calgary was like then. If you like this Canada 150 article, check out How To Make The Best Corporate 150 BBQ Ever and How To Tell Your Canada Story To Customers In 2017.

Disclaimer, we know it’s not 2017 YET. Some of these facts may change. But 2017 is only 5 months away and this is a way better title.

The Calgary Tower

Back in 1967: Unbeknownst to most of the world, and even a lot of younger Calgarians I polled for this article, the Calgary tower wasn’t always named that. In fact, it was previously named the Husky Tower, after its chief donor. On June 30th, 1967, the Tower opened to the public, and (I’m assuming) a lot of people in tweed suits and nice hats lined up to see what birds get to see every day.

In 2017: Calgarians can enjoy the views from up top while they enjoy great food, and/or selfie with a selfie stick. Calgary’s growing importance to the Canadian economy since 1967 has led to a significant amount of businesses relocating to the area, which has filled out our skyline and given the Tower some neighbours. The Calgary Tower continues to refuse my request to install a Bat Signal.

The Saddledome (sort of)

Back in 1967, the Saddledome was still 13 years away from existing. Our professional hockey teams (like the Calgary Stampeders Hockey Club), played in the Stampede Corral — which the Stampede still uses. (Fun fact: that land is leased by the City to the Stampede for $1/year!)

In 2017: The Flames, having played three seasons in the corral before moving, are in the Scotiabank Saddledome — which back then was called the Olympic Saddledome. The Saddledome is still the home of the Flames to this day, as well as world-class concerts and sometimes Nickelback.

With the future of the Saddledome in limbo, my only hope is that the previous paragraph doesn’t need to be rewritten before 2017.

The Mayor

Back in 1967, the mayor was a Calgary-born, Alberta-schooled real estate investor named Jack Leslie. Leslie was a counsellor in Ward 4 before becoming mayor. His major accomplishments include keeping railways off of the banks of the bow, improving Deerfoot safety, and developing Nose Hill Park. Seriously, check out his Wikipedia, he has a great story.

In 2017: Our mayor is a man called Naheed Kurban Nenshi. Maybe you’ve heard of him, as he’s been named literally the best mayor on Earth. Nenshi is half man, half folklore hero. His achievements include revitalization projects, the NMC, libraries + arts projects, and continuing on C-Train and airport initiatives from previous governments.

And he loves to Tweet. Let’s indulge ourselves in some of Nenshi’s most epic Tweets, shall we?

Just a few examples!

Bonus 2067 Prediction: After a long absence of ‘funny mayor’ articles on news sites causes the Nation to become sad, an AI Nenshi program is written and installed into a robot. Said robot is a Twitter legend.

The Calgary Stampede

Back in 1967, the Calgary Stampede was already an international spectacle — but experiencing some growing pains. The Queen had visited, the Big Four building housed the world’s largest indoor curling rink, and the rodeo was attracting top talent. But with that success came the need to expand and accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people that wanted to join in on the fun! By the time 1968 had rolled around, there were plans being made to expand the Stampede grounds into what was, at the time, residential property — 14 St. SE.

In 2017: Assuming that the Stampede’s parade isn’t rained on for 10 days again in 2017, we should see a rebound to the average of 1.25 million or so attendees. To put that number in perspective: it’s the entire populations of Regina, Saskatoon, and Edmonton combined. The Stampede is a massive economic driver for the city, the downtown core, and is a huge supporter of the arts. All of this from its humble beginnings in the early 1900s. Who knows how much larger the Stampede can grow — could we see a future Stampede with hundreds of mini donut trucks? One can only dream.

Human Beings

In 1967, the population of Calgary was only 335,000. That’s just a little more than what the Northwest is today. Calgary’s biggest influx previous to this was in the 1950s.

In 2017: Calgary’s population has tripled to 1.1 Million (2011 stat). There are enough humans here to support THREE Costcos, something like a dozen Walmarts, and a multitude of world-class restaurants, pubs, parks, and public facilities. It’s hard to walk more than a few blocks in our central areas without running into a great place to eat, sit on a patio, or catch a show. Telus Spark, the Glenbow, and art galleries abound. Awesome!

*please note that the author feels there are still too few Taco Bells. The closest to the author is 20 minutes away, and the guilt of eating several Cheesy Gordita Crunches heavily outweighs his desire to drive there for lunch.

The Future:

We’ve come a long way since Canada’s 100th in 1967. Perhaps on Canada’s 200th birthday in 2067, we’ll all be flying to the Mars Stampede in our Space-X rockets, piloted by Robo-Nenshi. Only time will tell!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and Tweet at Nenshi that I need more Taco Bells. If you’d like to learn more about what what we do at Westwind Design Group, check it out here.


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