To add some perspective to our latest collection of historic Calgary postcards, we’ve paired each mailing with its modern-day Google Street View. Oh, how things have (and haven’t) changed…

Centre Street Bridge

Ca. unknown

calgary centre street bridge 1

Today

Calgary history centre street bridge 2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Centre Street Bridge was built by the City of Calgary in 1916 for $375,000. It replaced the steel and truss MacArthur Bridge which was built in 1907 and destroyed by a flood in 1915.

Calgary skyline as seen from Crescent Heights

Ca. 1940s

Calgary centre street bridge historic

Today

Calgary centre street bridge historic-1 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

According to the 1926 Canadian Census, the population of Calgary in the mid 1920s was only 65,291 people, 5.5 per cent of what it is today.

Wholesale Dristict

Ca. early 1900s

Calgary Wholesale District historic

Today

Calgary Wholesale District historic 1 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

On the left of the postcard you’ll find Calgary Dining Parlors, and on the right, Empire Theatre (206 8th Avenue South West) with the Alexander Corner in the foreground right.

2nd Street and 11th Avenue SE

1910

Calgary history 2nd street

Today

Calgary history 2nd street 2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Architecturally, little has changed along this portion of 2nd Street over the last century. The Louise Block building is still standing but instead of being home to “Candy, Drugs, Cigars” (written across the awnings in the postcard), its a place to enjoy a hot bowl of pho.

9th Avenue and 1st Street W

1913

Calgary history 1st Street W

Today

Calgary history 1st Street W 2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

A handwritten note dated November 16th, 1913 on the back of the postcard above reads: “Dear Mrs Kennedy,
Received the little parcel and thanks very much for them it was to(sic) good of you for the ones I had was(sic) quit(sic) pretty enough. The weather hear(sic) has been fine tele(sic) Mr Kennedy he should see the gas in the furnace its fine if it is cold you can turn it on and if it gets warm you can turn it off. With kind regards to Mr. K and the boys. Love to yourself Lovingly Mrs. F.C Fyvie
-Mrs D. Kennedy 374 Flora Ave Winnipeg, Man”

Grain Exchange Building

Ca. unknown

grain exchange Calgary historic-1

Today

grain exchange Calgary historic-2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

The six-storey Grain Exchange was one of the tallest buildings in Alberta when it was completed in 1909 for a cost of $164,000. The province’s current tallest building, The Bow, was completed in 2013 at a cost of $1.4 billion.

Calgary Court House

Ca. unknown

Calgary law courts historic

Today

Calgary law courts historic-1 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Completed in 1914, the court house was designed by AM Jeffers, the same architect who is responsible for the Legislature building in Edmonton.

17th Avenue and 14th Street SW

1919

calgary historic postcards-1

Today

calgary historic postcards-2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Around 6am on December 15th, 1919, a streetcar barreled through the entrance of Crooks Drugstore at the corner of 17th Avenue and 14th Street SW, causing extensive damage. Some photographer obviously looked at the accident and thought: ‘This would make a great postcard.’

Dr. Carl Safran Centre

1914

calgary high school historic-1

Today

calgary high school historic-2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Originally called the Calgary Collegiate Institute, the school opened in September 1908 with a student enrollment of 120. Renamed the Dr. Carl Safran Special Class School in 1972, it served as a special education facility until 1986 when the Calgary Board of Education recommissioned it as an adult education centre. Its name honours Dr. Carl Safran, who was chief superintendent of the public school board in the 1970s, an educational psychologist and pioneer in the field of special education.

Looking west on 9th Avenue SE

Ca. 1920s

9th avenue Calgary historic-1

Today

9th avenue Calgary historic Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Before the Calgary Tower, 9th Avenue was home to the Empire Hotel, Ashdown’s Hardware store and, of course, the Palliser Hotel which has been a landmark since it was built in 1914. At the time the postcard photograph was taken, it was the city’s tallest building.

8th Avenue looking west from Centre Street

Ca. unknown

Eighth Avenue Calgary historic

Today

Eighth Avenue Calgary historic-1 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Well many things have changed, early examples of Calgary’s sandstone architecture can still be found throughout the city.

First Baptist Church on 13th Avenue SW

Ca. unknown

13th avenue calgary historic-1

Today

13th avenue calgary historic-2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

A fine example of Gothic Revival-style architecture, construction on Calgary’s First Baptist Church started in 1911 and wrapped up the following year.

Corner of 1st Street SE and 8th Avenue

Ca. 1910s

1st Street and 8th Avenue East Calgary historic-1

Today

1st Street and 8th Avenue East Calgary historic-2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

The only building at this intersection that has stood up to Father Time is the Dominion Bank building on the left. According to the Calgary Public Library, in 1911 a local newspaper praised building — which was still under construction at the time — as “a very complete, artistic and beautiful structure.” The terra cotta used for the bank’s facade was manufactured by the Doulton pottery firm and imported “at considerable cost” from England.

6th Avenue and 1st Street SE fire hall

1966

Calgary fire hall historic-1

Today

Calgary fire hall historic-2 Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

The 6th Avenue fire hall was originally built in 1911 for a cost of $34,021. In those days, Calgary firemen were paid $70 per month and lived 24 hours a day at the hall.

Hudson Bay Company store and Herald Building

1914

Hudson Bay store Calgary historic-3

Today

Hudson Bay store Calgary historic-2

Photos: Calgary Public Library/Google Street View

Originally built in 1912 for $1.5 million, the Hudson Bay store has gone through two major expansions, the first in 1929 and the second in 1958. On each occasion, special care had to be taken to maintain and match the structure’s original terra cotta tiles.

Want more classic Calgary postcards? Travel further back in time with us here.

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