Taming the Canadian Wild West required spirit, courage and resolve. Throw in the railroad, the missionaries, and the Mounted Police, and Calgary soon took shape along the banks of the Bow River.
A visit to Heritage Park in Calgary…
retells the history through a fully recreated settlement of restored buildings occupied by staff members dressed in period costumes,
with each attendant recounting a personal story of a life ruled by harsh weather and frontier justice, but a life that nonetheless fueled the promise of freedom for so many.
Locomotive 2024 chugged around the park, pulling cars of passengers toward a variety of thematic destinations throughout the village.
We passed the grain elevator,
where we disembarked for a “taste” of ranch living.
for a game of snooker, and a shave…
…so I could look my best for Leah and the ladies who lived over Drew’s Saloon.
Another station away…
and we were reminded how fragile society was, with the First Nations’ Encampment looming outside the walls of the Hudson Bay Trading Fort,
while the decision-makers enjoyed the creature comforts of luxury living in what seemed to be another world away.
It was easy to “escape” to another time, but not-so-subtle clues kept pulling us back to the present,
where a modern city beckoned in the distance,
and pulled us closer to familiar ground…
until the ground gave way beneath our feet.
and we were floating!
Pioneers of Alberta had to be equally uncertain of their footing after colonizing in a hostile and (at times) unforgiving land. Yet they were ambitious with lofty goals, which paid off handsomely, when Calgary, Alberta hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, and brought the distant mountains within reach.