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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Doors Open Alberta


Doors Open Calgary 4th annual celebration will be held July 25th. More details to be revealed in the near future!

Calgary started out looking like most western towns: a series of wood frame houses with the occasional wooden church steeples and a city hall clock tower. In 1886, this small town of 4000 would change forever as a fire swept through nearly destroying everything in its path.

Fire fighters did their best, but a large portion of town burned down in spite of their efforts. As the town began to rebuild, residents demanded a material that would withstand another fire. The answer was found sticking from the banks of the Bow - sandstone.

The cool yellow stone was not only practical, it was attractive and for more than twenty years, local quarries couldn't quarry fast enough to keep up with the demand. Calgary was suddenly deemed "The Sandstone City," an image separate from other cities and arguable superior. Building in sandstone became more than mere fashion, each school, bank or private mansion built from it was a contribution to identity and an act of local patriotism.

Through the depression, oil boom and expansive growth, a handful of original sandstone buildings remain in this now vibrant city. Calgary is home to over one million people and provides some of the most diverse landscapes in the province as it is nestled between the Rocky Mountains and great planes. Much more than an oil town, Calgary is a diverse and bustling city that manages to remain rooted in its unique heritage.

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