From garbage dump to Historic Resource: Discover the history of some Calgary icons as they celebrate their 50th

Old postcard of the Calgary Tower with mountains in the background

They may be popular now, but some of Calgary’s iconic Centennial attractions had less than glamorous beginnings. No matter how they got their start, they join the ranks of thousands of buildings and monuments across the nation that were created in 1967 to mark the 100th anniversary of Confederation.

Confederation Park: Garbage Dump No More

Once known by the catchy name “North Coulee Hill”, Canada’s largest Centennial Park project was originally home to a garbage dump and was designated a “ravine wasteland” due to the presence of wetlands. In 1965 a small group of concerned citizens established the Centennial Ravine Park Society in a bid to raise support and funds to turn the area into a city park.  Fifty years later this crescent shaped park of more than 160 hectares is now known as Confederation Park and is one of the city’s most beloved parks. Earlier this year it was declared a Municipal Historic Resource in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary with exciting upgrades planned for the coming years.

Centennial Planetarium: “Brutal” But Good

A classic example of Brutalist architecture, the Centennial Planetarium was Calgary’s official Centennial project. The city’s Centennial committee chose the Planetarium suggestion from amongst 350 entries. The Planetarium housed the Calgary Science Centre until June 2011 when it moved and became Telus Spark. The Centennial Planetarium building is being reimagined as Contemporary Calgary transforms the now dilapidated space into a significant cultural destination.

Calgary Tower: Small But Mighty

While it may seem to be shrinking, the Calgary Tower was once one of the tallest free standing structures in North America, and the tallest in western Canada. It was built to honour Canada’s Centennial. Originally named the Husky Tower, it was a joint venture between Marathon Realty and Husky Oil. Construction began February 19, 1967 on the former site of Canadian Pacific Railway’s historic sandstone depot. Renamed the Calgary Tower in 1971, the building is a community icon, and houses the largest Olympic flame in the world. Share your Calgary Tower stories and photos for inclusion in their 50th birthday celebrations.

Want to learn more?

Read A Year to Remember: A Report on the Celebrations in Calgary to Mark the Centenary of Canadian Confederation by the Calgary Centennial Committee, Calgary Plans for the Centennial by Calgary Citizen’s Centennial Committee, and Centennial Year in Calgary.

Graphic of #tbt150

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