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Colonel James Walker

In Grant MacEwan's book on Colonel James Walker, he uses the subtitle "Man of the Western Frontier." Doing so enables MacEwan to immediately emphasize Walker's passion for the West and its development. James Walker was an ideal candidate for the newly created North-West Mounted Police in the mid-1870s: he could withstand many of the hardships associated with life on the frontier. In fact, he reveled in the opportunity. From a young age, Walker acquired a taste for adventure that would last the rest of his life.

Writing the biography of Colonel James Walker presented MacEwan with the usual set of challenges - finding adequate and relevant archival materials. MacEwan consulted a number of librarians and archivists in both Alberta and Ontario before producing his biography. Like other individuals researched by MacEwan, Colonel Walker's life was colourful and filled with adventure. He pursued a number of careers, including a six-year stint with the North-West Mounted Police, various duties with the Canadian military, and civic affairs. Walker began his career in uniform and so chose to end it in one. Upon arriving in the West, Colonel Walker eventually adopted Calgary as his new home and immediately began having an impact on the community's development. He was president of the Calgary Agricultural Society and the Southern Alberta Pioneers Association.

Through his leadership abilities, Colonel Walker established a firm presence in the growing town of Calgary. He liked nothing more than to witness progress first-hand. He took daily walks through the burgeoning downtown core to observe people and witness growth. Walker's contributions to the growth of Calgary during such an important era have long been remembered by most Calgarians. In 1975, during the city's centennial celebrations, he was chosen as the Citizen of the Century. Colonel Walker beat out over 3 000 other nominations, an impressive feat.

Colonel Walker has been described as one of Calgary's foremost pioneers. He was vigilant in upholding law and order when Calgary was still a fledgling town. He was dedicated to improving Calgary in any way, shape, or form. Devoted to duty, whether in uniform or not, Colonel Walker is another key figure in the history of Western Canada whom MacEwan has successfully showcased


MacEwan, Grant. Colonel James Walker: Man of the Western Frontier. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1989.

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