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…

heritage park signage (2)

retells the history through a fully recreated settlement of restored buildings occupied by staff members dressed in period costumes,

day is done

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.

train ride

We passed the grain elevator,

pass the grain elevator

where we disembarked for a “taste” of ranch living.

hay is for horses

mom and twins

pink pig

dairy and boxes

Next stop…

skytrain

engineers

…Main Street,

Main Street

for a game of snooker, and a shave…

barbershop

…so I could look my best for Leah and the ladies who lived over Drew’s Saloon.

Drew's Saloon

Another station away…

steam engine

and we were reminded how fragile society was, with the First Nations’ Encampment looming outside the walls of the Hudson Bay Trading Fort,

encampment

while the decision-makers enjoyed the creature comforts of luxury living in what seemed to be another world away.

luxury living

moose dining

bedroom comfort

white sidewalls

Famous Five

It was easy to “escape” to another time, but not-so-subtle clues kept pulling us back to the present,

general store

where a modern city beckoned in the distance,

downtown

and pulled us closer to familiar ground…

Calgary Tower

tower top

until the ground gave way beneath our feet.

bottom

and we were floating!

don't look down

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.

mountains (2)

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