Jacket and gloves bought at Indian Village in 1956 return home

Back in early May, Jack Scott emailed me about donating few items his family had picked up at the Calgary Stampede’s Indian Village in 1956 to the Archives. He was emailing from Dalkeith, a small suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland but had plans to come to Calgary at the end of the summer and would like to bring the items along.

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Jack, aged 6, and his sister at the 1956 Stampede. He had the original photo restored, but the Indigenous man’s face remains damaged.

Chatting over coffee, Jack marveled over how much Calgary has changed since he was here in 2001. In a thick Scottish accent, he explained that his dad was in the Air Force and so he, his sister and his Scottish mother moved around. A lot. Jack was born in Manitoba and lived in Whitehorse and Calgary before moving with his family to France and, eventually, Scotland. The jacket and gloves travelled along with them. “There I am, aged six,” he said, pointing at a young boy wearing a too-large headdress in the restored photograph he brought along. It was taken at the time that his family bought the jacket and gloves.

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The front and back of the Stampede Archives’ newest donation: a jacket bought in Indian Village in 1956. On the back, “White Horse Y.T.” has been added in black and white beads. The family had recently moved from Whitehorse to Calgary.

Indian Village gloves

These well-loved beaded riding gloves with gauntlets accompanied the jacket.

“Sorry it’s dirty,” Jack said, pointing to the jacket. “I tried to get someone to clean it in Scotland, but they were too afraid to wreck the beading.” No problem. The wear and tear show how well-loved the jacket and gloves truly were. Jack’s sister used them for years when she was riding, though she complained that the jacket was not warm enough. To solve this, Jack’s mom brought it to a seamstress to line it with one of his dad’s silk sleeping shirts.

The maroon silk shirt that now lines the jacket was actually one of Jack’s dad’s sleeping shirts. It was added to make the jacket warmer.

The maroon silk shirt that now lines the jacket was actually one of Jack’s dad’s sleeping shirts. It was added to make the jacket warmer.

Despite offers from collectors, Jack firmly believed that the items needed to come back to Calgary. Because his family bought it at Indian Village, the Stampede’s Archives are a perfect fit to store, protect and – in the future – display them. Having travelled from Calgary to Europe to Scotland, the jacket and gloves have made a worldwide journey and are now back with the Calgary Stampede.
If you have any items you would like to donate to the Calgary Stampede Archives, please contact archives@calgarystampede.com.

George Lane recognized as a Great Westerner at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

On Saturday, April 16 George Lane was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. One the original stockmen of southern Alberta, Lane’s biggest impact was in the importation of Percheron horses from France. Settlers needed the massive horses as they established farms. Lane’s Bar U Ranch quickly became known as having the best Percheron stock in the West. The rest, as they say, is history.

Here are some highlights from the 2016 Western Heritage Awards weekend!

1. Lane is the first Canadian to be inducted to the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Let’s just say that the level of Canadian content at this year’s ceremony far surpassed Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations. More than three dozen Canadians were in attendance, including many members of the Lane family in addition to members of the Friends of the Bar U and Stampede family

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George Lane’s great-grandson (also named George) accepting the Wrangler Award on behalf of the Lane family at the 2016 Western Heritage Awards.

2. John Barlow, MP for Foothills, also attended the event. But before he flew to Oklahoma City, he spoke in Parliament about the ceremony and the significance of Lane’s induction into the Hall of Great Westerners. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum was ecstatic to hear about MP Barlow’s speech and played this clip of him at the event (which was met with a rousing standing ovation).

3. AMC’s Hell on Wheels also received an award for best fictional drama. It was shot in beautiful southern Alberta and when the executive producers were on stage they were singing this province’s praises.


John Wirth, a writer and producer for “Hell on Wheels” shows off the Wrangler. (pic via @WirthwhileTV on Twitter)

4. One of the most impressive elements of the National Cowboy and Western Museum is its dedication to the West, regardless of borders. On this special night, both inductees to the Hall of Great Westerners came from outside of the United States. Joining Lane was Enrique E. Guerra of the San Vincente Ranch whose family has a 400-year legacy of ranching in what would become the borderlands of Mexico and the United States.

National Cowboy Museum

In one of the Museum’s galleries, the floor is a giant map showing historic ranches and trails from south of the Rio Grande to north of the 49th. Two of the Big Four – A.E. Cross’s a7 and Lane’s Bar U – are represented.

We experienced first-class western hospitality throughout the weekend and we are truly thrilled to have one of our very own Big Four in the Hall of Great Westerners.

(L-R) Mike Nicola, board of director for National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, MP John Barlow, George S. Lane, Shannon Murray, historical specialist, Bob Thompson, immediate past president. Photo courtesy of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

(L-R) Mike Nicola, board of director for National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, MP John Barlow, George S. Lane, Shannon Murray, historical specialist, Bob Thompson, immediate past president. Photo courtesy of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

History moment: Calgary Stampede remembers some of our greatest female contributors for International Women’s Day

To celebrate the centennial of Alberta women achieving the right to vote and International Women’s Day on March 8, let’s take a look at some of the pioneering women of western performances and rodeo who competed at the first Calgary Stampede. Continue reading

Upcoming talk on John Ware, Alberta Pioneer

On Tuesday, February 23, author Cheryl Foggo will be presenting on the life story of cowboy John Ware and the ways in which his legacy has intersected with her life in present-day southern Alberta.

John Ware

Born a slave in South Carolina, Ware moved West after the end of the American Civil War. He found work in Texas as a ranch hand and began moving cattle north. In 1882, he was involved in a drive to bring 3,000 cattle to southern Alberta. The cattle were successfully delivered to for the Bar U Ranch, located near Longview, and Ware ended up staying in the area.

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Step into the Past and get a Glimpse of the Future

We know that the Calgary Stampede celebrates western heritage and the history of southern Alberta. But did you know that for many years, one of the most popular draws for people coming to the Stampede was to get a glimpse of the future?

Before the internet made mass communication of innovations possible, people looked to annual events like exhibits and fairs for the latest and greatest marvels. The 1930s were a difficult time for everyone; a drought affected western agriculture while the stock market crash of 1929 wreaked havoc on every aspect of the economy. The 1934 Stampede delivered a welcome escape from these troubles. That year, visitors were treated to a futuristic display in the Exhibits Building: a giant TV and Alpha the Robot.

The 1934 Stampede poster advertised Alpha and a Giant Television.

The 1934 Stampede poster advertised Alpha and a Giant Television.

During the height of radio, television was a novelty. The Stampede contracted General Television Corporation of Canada, Limited to set up a TV and air content. The unit weighed nearly 1,800 lbs (817 kgs) and sat in the Exhibitis Building on a four-foot-high platform. On the poster, the TV was advertised as “A Free Educational Exhibit.” Continue reading

2016 Calgary Stampede poster and the poster artwork legacy

The Calgary Stampede unveiled our 2016 poster in the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery of the Calgary Public Library’s central branch on October 5, 2015. Community members and Stampede volunteers and employees were thrilled when the curtain pulled back to reveal the priceless piece by award-winning local artist, Michelle Grant: Born to Buck, pictured below.


“When you visit the Stampede Ranch in Hanna [Alberta], you witness many scenes of horses running freely in the fields together,” said Bill Gray, president & chairman of the Calgary Stampede board of directors, “and that was the inspiration for the poster.” Continue reading

Take time to Honour the Canadian Forces this Remembrance Day


At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians join fellow Commonwealth nations in a moment of silence to mark the end of the First World War. Although hostilities ended on November 11, 1918 the war did not formally conclude until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June, 1919. Everyone welcomed peace.  Guelph-born Lt. Col. John McCrae served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and penned “In Flanders Field” about his experience at the Second Battle of Ypres; the poem still serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that members of the armed forces make and is part of the reason we wear poppies each November.

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The cover for the Calgary Exhibition’s Annual Report in 1915 featured a picture of soldiers from Sarcee Camp (based on the Tsuut’ina Reserve) opening the Exhibition that year.

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September is a Royal Month at the Calgary Stampede

The month of September has brought some major Royalty milestones throughout the Stampede’s 103-year history. Shannon Murray, historical specialist, walks us through this history as we eagerly prepare for the crowning of the 2016 Royalty Trio on Monday, September 28 at 7:30pm in the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park.

The first Stampede was held September 2-5, 1912. The event coincided with a visit from Their Royal Highnessess Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (Canada’s Governor General), Princess Louise Margaret and their daughter Princess Patricia. The family stayed with Senator James Lougheed and his wife Lady Isabella at their home on 13th Avenue SW and attended the first Stampede Parade as well as a few Rodeo events. Ever the showman, Guy Weadick had a special welcome arch set up for the royals in an effort to draw more spectators to his event.


The Duke and Duchess of Connaught, riding in a carriage, pass under the “God Save the King” arch, specially built to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to Calgary.


The special box seats created for the Duke and Duchess of Connaught as they attended the first Calgary Stampede Rodeo in 1912. Continue reading

Doors Open YYC is returning to the Calgary Stampede Grandstand!

On September 26 and 27, come get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the Calgary Stampede’s most unique areas. The Stampede tour was among Doors Open YYC’s most popular last year, and we are thrilled to be participating once again. This year, check out the Young Canadians’ costumes, enjoy the view from the Eye in the Sky, get an up-close look at the chutes, and new this year, tour the Infield suites.

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede

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New display at the Calgary Public Library examines Calgary & Stampede History


Come visit the Central Branch of the Calgary Public Library between June 15 and July 23 to meander through the Stampede’s past and present. Learn about the origins of the White Hat (hint: it has to do with Calgarians taking over Toronto during a Grey Cup game), arts and culture (did you know that the Calgary Stampede Showband holds five world championship titles?), sports at Stampede Park (the Big Four once held the world record for the number of curling rinks under one roof) and more.

There is also a showcase of items from the Calgary Stampede Archives. These include nosebands from past rodeo horses Glazed Honey, Tuffy, Deliverance and Zone Along. Glazed Honey was born in 1975 on the Stampede Ranch and bucked between 1988 and 1996 as a Saddle Bronc. Zone Along won many awards. In 1973 he was voted Champion Saddle Bronc for Canada as well as best Saddle Bronc of the Calgary Stampede. Eleven years later, he was the champion Saddle Bronc horse at the National Finals Rodeo.


Zone Along with rider John Picray

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Stampede history moment presents: Archie visits Canada’s world famous Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo was held in the BMO Centre from April 16-19. More than 100,000 people attended and included stars of all kinds, such as Arrow, Agent Carter and Aquaman, to name just a few.

You may remember that Spider Man once came to the Calgary Stampede, too. He joined forces with The Rangers to fight Man-Bull and the Dreadknight in the Infield. But Spiderman wasn’t the Stampede’s only VIP guest that year. Stampede was also visited by a group of teens from Riverdale. That’s right, Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead travelled to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth in the summer of 1992.

The gang was visiting their friend Greg, who lives on a ranch outside of Riverdale and whose dad was a bull rider set to compete at the Calgary Stampede. When Greg’s barrel-racing Canadian cousin Rita invites the gang, they hop in their pickup for a road trip to the Stampede City.

After a quick wardrobe update – “from dud to dude” – featuring the requisite boots, jeans, western shirt and hat, the gang enjoyed square dancing outside of Eaton’s on Stephen Avenue, chuckwagon races, fireworks and a concert at the “Teen Ranch.” Of course, what would a trip to the Stampede be without pancakes? Jughead’s main mission was to sniff out as many free breakfasts as possible.

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Jughead tastes his first Stampede Breakfast Continue reading

Stampede History Moment presents the Stampede Corral

When the New York Islanders practiced in the Stampede Corral recently, they blogged about their experience. The building is no stranger to professional hockey, but it has been more than three decades since a National Hockey League team called it home.

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The Stampede Corral when it was first built

In 1944, the Calgary Stampede bought the Stampeders, an amateur men’s hockey team. The Stampeders originally played at the Victoria Arena, which was a fixture of Stampede Park until it burned down in the 1960s. The arena’s seats were originally colour-coded by price, likely to help people find their spots easily, but this feature was quickly changed. The original 6,450 wooden seats remain in place and are now bright red.

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        Photo of the current all-red seats                        Victoria Arena during the fire  

The first puck drop occurred on Boxing Day in 1950, in a game between the Edmonton Flyers and the Calgary Stampeders (resulting in a 5-0 victory for the home team). The Stampede invited the standing-room only crowd of 8,729 to pick a new name for the arena from five options: the Coliseum, Stampede Gardens, the Stampedium, the Rodeodrome, or the Corral. The people chose Stampede Gardens, but the Stampede opted to keep the Corral as the official name. For many years after the decision, newscasters and fans alike refused to use the official name and only referred to the building as “the new arena.”

In addition to Stampeders hockey games, the Corral –  then the largest arena in Canada west of Toronto – hosted many major events. Roy Rogers held 10 sold-out performances there and it was home to Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling for several decades until 1984. In the 1950s, the Ice Cycles were a big draw with their figure skating shows.

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The Ice Cycles performing two routines

The Corral hosted the Calgary Flames after they moved from Atlanta in 1980 until the Saddledome opened in 1983. During the 1988 Olympics, figure skating and hockey events were also featured at the Corral. Today,it continues to host amateur hockey games and, as the Islanders experienced, occasional NHL practices in addition to many on-ice events such as Disney on Ice. It has become a popular concert venue as well, hosting bands such as Billy Talent, Metric and Arcade Fire. During the annual Stampede time, the arena hosts popular shows such as 2012’s TAILS and 2014’s Peking Acrobats.

The Corral will turn 65 this year and it continues to be a significant landmark both at Stampede Park and in the City of Calgary.


Information courtesy of the Calgary Stampede archives.