Ah, the postcard — how we used to announce our location to friends and family before Instagram.

Below are some of our favourite mailings from the Calgary Public Library’s excellent “Postcards from the Past” collection. A few come with personalized notes on the back, which we included in the description wherever possible.

Stylized postcard, date unknown

Calgary historic postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

On the back on this postcard is a note addressed to a Miss Jeanne Casselman of Chesterville, Ontario that reads: “Dear Jeanne, I hear you are having delightfully hot weather down there, Do you remember that warm Sunday last summer when you and I were almost overcome with the heat? Write me sometime, Kind regards to all, Willie.”

Looking east from the corner of 8th Avenue and 1st Street SW, ca. 1910

Calgary historic postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

A grown child writes to his/her mother: “to-morrow or wednesday I tell you the news & how I am getting on with things in general. I received your last letter last wednesday. I hope you are all well & Dad is busy. love Prinee”.

Calgary skyline facing west, date unknown

Calgary historic postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

We don’t know the photograph’s exact date, but since the Calgary Tower is clearly the tallest building in the skyline we can say that it was taken before 1983. The was the year the Suncor Energy Centre was completed and became the city’s tallest structure.

Calgary International Airport, date unknown

calgary international airport historic postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

Calgary’s first airport was located in Bowness. In the 1920’s it was relocated to the Renfrew area. By 1938, Air Canada (then known as Trans Canada Airlines) was granted a charter for transcontinental service and the present site was chosen. Its original name was McCall Field.

Birds-eye view of 8th Avenue in Calgary, a “dog-on nice town,” ca. early 1900s.

Calgary historic postcard-1 Photo: Calgary Public Library

Give it up for early 20th century puns.

Looking north on 1st Street E, ca. 1913

Calgary historic postcard-1 Photo: Calgary Public Library

Historic 1st Street with the Dominion Bank building and advertisments for business: CS Lott Coal Shaw, and real estate agents Davis and Prickett.

Calgary Tower and skyline, ca. prior to 1983

Calgary fireworks historic postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

Again, we know this postcard is more than 30 years old because of the abscence of the Suncor Energy Centre. As for an exact date, if we had to guess… July 1st, 1979? (Prove us wrong, internet.)

8th Avenue SW near 1st Street SW, ca. 1910

Calgary historic postcard-4 Photo: Calgary Public Library

Since 1911, only three of the historic buildings pictured in this 1910 postcard have been demolished and replaced. The other five have been renovated for retail use. The original 1891 Bank of Montreal building was demolished and replaced in 1931. After the Lougheed Block burned in 1911, a new Union Bank building was constructed on the site and now houses the James Joyce Pub.

Skyline view, ca. 1949

Calgary historic postcard-3 Photo: Calgary Public Library

A greeting from the Stampede City courtesy the iconic Colourpicture postcard brand.

Yale Hotel on 9th Avenue in the foreground and the post office building in the centre, ca. sometime after 1931.

Calgary historic postcard-2 Photo: Calgary Public Library

This postcard was sent by someone who, evidently, wasn’t all that impressed with Calgary in the 1930s. Scrawled on the back of the image: “This is Calgary all right. Actually all it has is the annual ‘stampede’ or ‘rodeo’s’ every year. Nick.” Hey Nick, that “annual stampede or rodeo” just so happens to be the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Hidy and Howdy, “Welcome Bears” of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, ca. mid 1980s

postcard Calgary Winter Olympic Mascot-1 postcard Calgary Winter Olympic Mascot Photos: Calgary Public Library

From the library’s archives: “Early in 1983, the Olympic Mascot committee, made up of representatives from major Calgary department stores, decided upon polar bears as the Official Olympic Mascots. Polar bears were felt to represent Canada and therefore a northern country within North America. For the first time in Olympic history, a male and female mascot were chosen. In December 1983, the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Zoo jointly sponsored a contest to name the brother and sister bears. Kim Johnstone, a Calgary high school student, won two tickets to the 1988 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremonies with her submission of ‘Hidy and Howdy,’ a creative blend of proper names and a typical Western greeting. The bears were designed by Calgarian Sheila Scott of Great Scott Productions and were worn by student volunteers from Bishop Carroll High School.”

Ski jump at the Calgary Stampede grandstand during the Calgary Winter Festival, ca. 1921

Calgary ski jump historic postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

The ski jump was built on top of the grandstand at the Exhibition Grounds at the urging of the Calgary Ski Club, a group founded in the early 20th century by a handful of Scandinavian immigrants interested in the high-flying sport.

City Hall lit up at night, ca. 1912

Calgary historic city hall postcard Photo: Calgary Public Library

Calgary’s second city hall. The first, a wooden structure built on the same site in 1885, was demolished in 1911. This building took four years to complete –1907 to 1911 — and suffered from a 100 per cent cost over-run of $150,000, which led to the firing of architect William Dodd. And by the time it was completed it was already too small for the City’s needs. For the next 86 years, the city rented space to accommodate an expanding civic administration.

Aerial view of Calgary looking north across downtown and Victoria Park, ca. 1924

Calgary historic postcard-3 Photo: Calgary Public Library

On the south side of the Elbow River over the Canadian National Railway yards you can see Victoria Bridge, Centre Street Bridge and the western edge of the Stampede Grounds.

The ever expanding downtown skyline, ca.1970s

Calgary historic postcard-4 Photo: Calgary Public Library

The official description on the back of this postcard reads: “Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The 1970’s are bringing an unprecedented explosion in the industrial growth of Calgary; Canada’s fastest growing city. The skyline of downtown Calgary is a spectacular panorama of ever growing sky scrapers.”

Postcard from Warwick Bro’s & Rutter Publishers in Toronto, ca. 1906

Calgary historic postcard-2 Photo: Calgary Public Library

The letter was addressed to a Ms. Clara Philip. The sender wanted to know, “Which one are you?”

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