National Treasure #16: Calgary Stampede

My grandmother lived on Crescent Road in Calgary, overlooking the Bow River.

View of Bow River in Calgary from south.

View west from Gram’s house.

The view west – at least on a clear day – was of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon. The view south was the downtown. The view east was unremarkable, except for one week every year, when she had a great view of the fireworks that closed the nightly Grandstand Show during the Stampede. As each of us kids reached some age-of-manageability she had set – seven? I don’t remember – we were invited to sleep over at Gram’s house for a few days, with the crowning glory being allowed to stay up late to watch those fireworks through her living room window.

Growing up in Calgary, I never thought much about the Stampede until I met folks across the USA and even in Europe who knew all about it. The stereotypical “Wild, Wild West” may not be how most Albertans lived, even in the early 20th century when the Stampede got started, but it’s part of our story about ourselves.

“The ten-day event, which bills itself as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”,[3] attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.” – Wikipedia

Coming from Calgary, I should have great shots of the Stampede, but I don’t: not even any bad shots. Something to add to my project list, I guess.

This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.


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6 Responses to National Treasure #16: Calgary Stampede

  1. View spectacular. Subject of rodeos, for me, meh. Too much violence for man and beast.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Even without the mountains (visible only on clear days, of which Alberta has its share and ours, too – I’ll get the Senate to look into that), it’s a view that appeals to me more because of the long association with Gram than for the thing in itself.

  2. Alison Uhrbach says:

    I remember that we seemed to avoid the Calgary Stampede when I was growing up, despite the fact my grandparents were in Calgary as well. I’m not even sure I went to the actual Stampede grounds until I was on my own. However, I DO remember being at my Grandma’s while the Stampede was on, and if we stood in just the right spot on her back porch on 17th st. we could see the fireworks too. (albeit not the lovely view YOUR grandma had!) Funny what you remember, eh?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – After a few decades out on the prairie, my grandfather couldn’t face a house in town where the view was only of other houses across the street. He needed room to breathe. But yes, it is funny what we remember, at least when prompted by something. I make me wonder what else is in there . . .

  3. Judith says:

    Good recollections and evocative photo. I check out where your grandmother used to live when I traverse Crescent Road, a fairly frequent passage. (At least, I think I am looking at the right property.)

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – I’d have to go by the number now, since they tore it all down and started again. They may have saved the front door, which was curved on top, I believe. Anyway, they lived at #228.

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