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Building History

Thomas Riley Building

Thomas Riley

photograph of Thomas RileyNamed in honour of Thomas Riley (1842 - 1909) who homesteaded in Calgary for twenty-one years. He was born in Derbyshire, England, and in 1862 came to Canada.

In 1887 he, his wife, and their ten children arrived in Calgary. The family lived north of the Bow River, west of the Morleyville Road in what is known as the Hillhurst and Hounsfield Heights districts. They were among the best-known residents of southern Alberta and did much to promote the advancement of this province.

Thomas Riley was a prominent member of the community and was twice a candidate for election to the North-West Legislature. SAIT is situated on what was once part of his ranch. The parcel of land was sold to the province by Ezra Hounsefield Riley in 1919.

Colonel James Walker Building

Colonel James Walker

Photograph of James Walker.Named in honour of James Walker (1846 - 1936) who was born and raised in Ontario and came west with the first contingent of the North West Mounted police.

His activities in the military, civic and business sectors contributed to a small settlement becoming a town first and a city second.

Throughout his life he was involved in many endeavours and activities — he was the first civilian justice in the North-West Territories, he was Calgary's first immigration officer, he was the first president of the Calgary Exhibition, he established the first telephone service in Calgary, he organized the first school, he was a member of the first hospital board, he organized the first boy scout and cade groups in the community and in 1975 he was named Calgary's Citizen of the Century.

John Ware Building

John Ware

Photograph of John Ware.Named in honour of John Ware (1845 - 1905) who was born into slavery and lived to become one of the most respected ranchers in the Calgary district. He arrived here in 1883 as a cattle drover from the United States, later moving to a homestead east of Calgary.

His understanding of cattle, his ability to ride and his sense of humour made him respected to cowboy and rancher alike, at a time when a man was judged by his neighbourliness, his loyalty, and the way he honoured his word. John Ware was a paragon and legend of the old west.

Excellent horseman though he was, his death was the result of a riding accident and his funeral was the largest Calgary had seen at that time.

Senator Burns Building

Senator Burns

Photograph of Patrick Burns.Named in honour of Patrick Burns (1856 - 1937) who, while homesteading in Manitoba, had won a contract to supply meat to the CPR crews building the railway. He followed the rails across the west and by 1890 he had settled in Calgary and had opened an abattoir. This grew into a meat packing business and food company that made Calgary the western Canadian headquarters of the livestock industry. The operations were successful because of Burns' concept of controlling all phases of production, in which distribution and marketing were as important as the operation of his six ranches.

A self-made millionaire who could ride and rope as well as anyone, he was one of the Big Four who underwrote the 1912 Stampede, and in 1931 he was appointed to the Canadian Senate.

Eugene Coste Building

Eugene Coste

Photograph of Eugene Coste.Named in honour of Eugene Coste (1859 - 1940) who was the man responsible for the discovery of natural gas in Alberta.

A geologist and an engineer who had already discovered gas in Ontario, he became convinced that parts of Alberta contained large amounts of natural gas also. In 1909 drilling in Southern Alberta produced a large commercial field which led to the formation of the enterprise first known as Canadian Western Natural Gas, Light, Heat and Power Company.

On July 17, 1912, natural gas reached Calgary through a one hundred seventy-mile transmission line, hailed as the longest sixteen-inch pipeline in North America at that time.

Eugene Coste's vision and industrial pioneering earned him the title of the father of the natural gas industry in Canada.

E.H. Crandell Building

E.H. Crandell

Photograph of E.H. CrandellNamed in honour of Edward Henry Crandell (1858 - 1944) a citizen of Calgary whose business activities helped transform the face of the city.

The former mayor of Brampton, Ontario, he arrived in Calgary in 1900 and operated an insurance and real estate agency until he incorporated the Calgary Pressed Brick and Sandstone Company in 1906. His brick plant was located in Brickburn, on the Bow River near Shaganappi Hill. His firm was responsible for the building of some of Calgary's finest residences and buildings, most having the characteristic combination of brick and sandstone.

In addition to being a driving force in the business community, he was very active in Calgary's social life, in fraternal orders, and held aldermanic and school trustee offices as well.

Mount Crandell in Waterton National Park is named after him.

Bob Edwards Building

Bob Edwards

Photograph of Bob Edwards.Named in honour of Robert Chalmers Edwards (1864 - 1922) known as the "Eye-Opener Bob." The newspaperman and social reformer came west in the 1890s setting in Calgary in 1904.

From that time until his death, issues of the Calgary Eye Opener appeared with irregular frequency. At times as much a character as the political personalities, social pretenders, and town oddities he lampooned, as a humorist he bears comparison to Leacock and Twain.

Though he had a weakness for alcohol, he supported prohibition in the 1915 plebiscite, and after years of satirizing politicians, in 1921 he himself ran as an Independent and won a seat in the Alberta Legislature.

His victory was short-lived, however, and at his funeral policemen in dress uniforms were his pallbearers.

Nellie McClung Building

Nellie McClung

Photograph of Nellie McClungNamed in honour of Nellie Letitia McClung (nee Mooney) (1873 - 1951) a pioneer of social reform in Canada.

First active in prohibition and suffragist issues in Manitoba, she came to Alberta in 1915 and her political activity led to her election into the Alberta Legislature in 1921.

McClung was one of five women who appealed a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and won the support of the British Privy Council which declared in 1929 that women were indeed persons and could, therefore, be appointed to the Canadian Senate.

In an equally impressive writing career, she had sixteen books and numerous magazine articles published in her lifetime. She was active in the Canadian Authors Association, was the first woman to sit on the Board of the CBC, and was a delegate to the League of Nations.

George Murdoch Building

Geroge Murdoch

Photograph of George MurdochNamed in honour of George Murdoch (1850 - 1910) the first Mayor of the Town of Calgary. Born in Scotland and raised in New Brunswick, he learned the harness trade and was an established businessman before he arrived in Calgary in 1883. He was made a justice of the peace and became instrumental in establishing civic law and order in the booming town.

A strong advocate of incorporation, in 1884 he became the town's youngest chief administrator to ever to hold that position. He was a community-minded individual whose activities in establishing societies and associations and in generating voluntarism signify his importance in the social as well as the civic progress in Calgary.

His municipal spirit was so strong that he named his son Calgary Murdoch.

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