A collection of images of the downtown skyline taken from the north side of the Bow River between 1910 and 2013. Stated time periods for each photo come from the indicated source, but in some cases are approximate and may be off by a year or two. If you have the sleuthing skills and are able to pin down a more accurate year, feel free to leave a note in the comment section below. We will update the post if the internet (that’s you!) can come to a consensus on any revised timeframes.

Ca. 1912

Calgary historic 1912 Photo: University of Alberta

The first Bow River crossing at Centre Street was Fogg’s Ferry in 1882. Crescent Heights developer A.J. McArthur and a group of private investors built the first bridge, named after McArthur himself, in 1907 for $17,000.

Ca. 1912

Calgary history 1912 2 Photo: University of Alberta

Ca. 1914

Calgary history 1912 Photo: University of Alberta

Ca. 1920

calgary history after 1920 Photo: University of Alberta

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

After 1920

Calgary 1920 Photo: University of Alberta

Ca. 1930

Calgary history 1930 Photo: University of Alberta

Year unknown

Calgary history year unknown Photo: Calgary Public Library

No year is given for this photo, but based on the buildings in the background and vehicles on the bridge, we put in the late 1930s. Agree?

Ca. 1939

Calgary history 1939 Photo: University of Alberta

After 1940

Calgary after 1940 Photo: University of Alberta

Ca. 1943

Calgary 1943 Photo: Kingsdude/Dave/Flickr

Ca. 1948

Calgary 1948 history Photo: University of Alberta

Sometime between 1948 and 1956

Calgary history 1949 Photo: Calgary Heritage Initiative Society


Calgary history 1957 Photo: Calgary Public Library

The most prominent building in the 10 previous images is of course the 12-storey Palliser Hotel, the city’s tallest structure from 1914 to 1958 when it was dethroned by the 20-storey Elveden Centre.

Ca. 1965

Calgary history 1965 Photo: Striderv/Flickr

At the time this photo was taken, the Elveden Centre was still the city’s tallest development — but its days at the top were numbered. Construction on the Husky Tower would start in 1967 and wrap up in 1968. It would remain the city’s tallest structure until 1983.

Ca. 1974

Calgary 1974 Photo: Bernie/Flickr

At the height of the Alberta oil boom in the 1970s, Calgary issued more than $1 billion worth of construction permits annually, more than Chicago or New York, according to CBC. Apartment vacancy rates during this period approached zero as Ontarians and Maritimers arrived daily in search of high-paying jobs.

Ca. 1975

Calgary 1975 Photo: history.alberta.ca

Ca. 1987

Calgary 1987 Photo: Howard Kilgour/Flickr

In October 1987, four months before Calgary would host the world during the 1988 Winter Olympics, a helicopter installed the world’s largest Olympic torch on top of the Husky Tower. The $525,000 project was a gift from Olympic sponsor Canadian Western Natural Gas.

Ca. 1999

Calgary skyline 2000 Photo: Calgary Public Library

In 1992, the city officially designated Centre Street Bridge a municipal heritage resource. Seven years later, the bridge was closed for the third major structural upgrade in its history. It reopened in September 2000 after a $13-million repair that included removal and replacement of the original concrete lions.

Ca. 2007

Calgary history 2007 Photo: Calgary Public Library

How quickly things change. Prior to construction of Western Canada’s tallest tower, the Bow, you could still see the city’s most iconic structure, the Calgary Tower, from this lookout in Crescent Heights.

Ca. 2013

Calgary Skyline 2013 Photo: davebloggs007/Flickr

In 1910, Calgary’s population had just surpassed 40,000. By 2014 it was nearly 30 times that with 1,195,194 residents.

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