Calgary Stampede debuts new Art Walk brochure at Jane’s Walk 2017

Art Walk Brochure - cover image

Imagine the excitement of watching your first Calgary Stampede Parade or the anticipation of participating in a round up and leading a herd of horses across the Bow River. The Calgary Stampede’s public art pieces allow you to imagine these experiences and more.

The Stampede has 19 pieces of public art located throughout Stampede Park, and two other pieces located in downtown Calgary.

This year, the Calgary Stampede Public Art committee has created a new Art Walk brochure to include recent art installations and to provide a better guest experience.

Also featured is the newest art installation, Rainbow Trout, an impressionistic piece by Calgary artist Jeff De Boer located in Enmax Park near MacDonald Bridge. De Boer’s inspiration for the piece was his fond memories of spending beautiful summer days fly fishing along the Elbow River. The sculpture is symbolic of diversity and serves as a gateway between the Calgary Stampede and the Ramsay community.


Rainbow Trout installation on Stampede Park.

The new brochure will debut at this year’s Jane’s Walk at Stampede Park, happening Sunday, May 7, 2017.  Jane’s Walk is a global festival that encourages people to get out and explore their communities in a new way.

Come out and meet our knowledgeable and enthusiastic Stampede volunteers from the Historical and Public Art committees at 1p.m. on May 7 in front of the Cowboys Casino. Participants will receive a copy of the brochure and a guided tour of the public art pieces on Stampede Park. Refreshments will be provided and the Calgary Stampede Trolley will be on hand to help transport participants along the route.

To do your own self-guided tour of the public art on Stampede Park, pick up a copy of the brochure at the Stampede Headquarters Building and at tourist information centre’s throughout the city. The brochure will also be available at a later date on our website:

2017 Jane’s Walk at Stampede Park

Date: Sunday, May 7, 2017
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Cowboy’s Casino – 421 12 Ave. SE.

We hope you join us for an afternoon filled with beautiful pieces of art!

Calgary Stampede History Moments Presents: Bert Smith in Memoriam

Bert Smith, Cowboys herding cattle across river in the Prairies, c. 1960. Courtesy of the Museum of the Highwood MH.006.002.165

Bert Smith, Cowboys herding cattle across river in the Prairies, c. 1960. Courtesy of the Museum of the Highwood MH.006.002.165

Noted western artist Bert Smith passed away on February 17, 2017. Smith’s artwork captures the real feel of the western way of life.

Bert Smith featured here on the right. The picture was taken in 1960 in photographer Gil Garon’s (centre) studio in High River. Courtesy of the Museum of the Highwood.

Bert Smith featured here on the right. The picture was taken in 1960 in photographer Gil Garon’s (centre) studio in High River. Courtesy of the Museum of the Highwood.

Many of Bert Smith’s paintings and sketches illuminate the book Just About Nothing, which was written by Bert Sheppard, the long-time OH Ranch manager and later owner. Sheppard included a passage about Smith:

“Bert was born at Mutrie Saskatchewan on Feb. 24, 1929, and went to school at Philomath. At an early age he became interested in photography, and later took a correspondence course in art from Washington D.C. Bert worked as a commercial artist in Montreal for one and a half years. He then did art work for Ken Coppock who was secretary for the Western Stock Growers Association, and manager of their ranch supplies department. It was there that I met Bert Smith. On New Year’s Day he arrived at the TL (connected) Ranch to spend three days visit, and stayed three years. It was quite apparent that he had exceptional ability as an artist and photographer. To gain additional ranch experience he was at Joe Bew’s [sic] Y Cross Ranch, The Chattaway Bar S Ranch and the Blades [sic] Rocker P [sic]. It was there while helping to move a large herd of cattle to summer range that he suffered an aneurysm, which ended his art career. He retired to Longview where he now resides. He spends a good deal of his time tutoring the small fry in the preliminary stages of art.”[1] Continue reading

Your chance to bring great art to Stampede Park

We are excited to announce an open call to artists for the first public art installation in ENMAX Park. The park will offer the community new year-round places to gather on Stampede Park. The submission deadline is 4 p.m. (MT) on Monday, January 05, 2015, and the project has a budget of $200,000 CAD. For an overview of the project, please visit the Public Art Committee website; for specific details, please read the official RFP.


Public art serves to spark conversation, engage the community and shape the environment. Cities throughout the world rely on public art to create landmarks and present meaningful cultural environments for locals and tourists alike. Pieces can interpret or memorialize the past, like the cenotaph at Central Memorial Park, or be interpretations of a theme, like Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do, by Joe Fafard in the Calgary Court Centre park (pictured above).

At the Calgary Stampede, the Public Art committee oversees the implementation of art on Stampede Park. From historic murals to “By the Banks of the Bow,” which features 15 horses and two riders crossing the river, the committee is dedicated to telling the stories of and celebrating western heritage. We are proud to place a key role in ensuring Stampede Park is truly a year-round gathering place for the community.


George Brookman, past president of the Stampede, introduced the public art program by saying that “public art helps us remember our past, honour our ideals, express our shared values and give voice to our future aspirations.” It is this spirit that characterizes the Public Art committee and our vision of the role of public art both on and off Stampede Park.

Below is a rendering of the Heritage Walk Corridor that shows the location of the art pieces.

heritage walk

New public art installation: 100 Years of Champions

Today, the Calgary Stampede officially unveiled the spectacular art installment 100 Years of Champions, honouring the champions of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and chuckwagon races. Champions_1

The oversized aluminum horseshoes represent the strength of the iron that protects the animals from harm; six to honour the six disciplines of rodeo and chuckwagon racing: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping and chuckwagon racing.


If you look closely, you will notice some gaps in the years between 1912 to 2012. Some history: The first rodeo took place in 1912. Following a hiatus, the Stampede returned in 1919 to honour soldiers returning from World War I. The festival became an annual event in 1923 when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to create the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, now known simply as the Calgary Stampede.


100 Years of Champions was funded in partnership by the Calgary Stampede and the Government of Canada through a contribution by Canadian Heritage through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage, Legacy Fund.

Jane’s Walk shares Stampede art and history

 Jane’s Walk is Sunday, May 4. Meet in front of the Cowboy’s Casino at 2 p.m.


From the 1880 Agricultural Exhibits, to Guy Weadick’s Dream for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, to the first chuckwagon race in 1923 to the journey of the horse and cowboy By the Banks of the Bow—experience Stampede and Alberta history and spirit at Jane’s Walk on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The two-hour guided walk begins at 2 p.m. in front of the Stampede Casino and winds it way through Stampede Park. No need to register – just come out, bring your interest in art, walking shoes and a camera.

Members of the Stampede Public Art and Historical committees will guide you to seven sculptures and eight murals. The two committees work closely together to showcase the most significant pieces of art at Stampede Park.

“Being part of Jane’s Walk gives the Stampede a chance to share its public art collection with Calgarians,” said Jill Cross, Public Art committee chair. “Each piece of art is a story. For example, when we visit By the Banks of the Bow, the narrative takes you right there, to the river the horses are trying to cross. Each horse represents a special character the artists conjured.”


The Stampede’s passion for public art dates back to 1912, when Ed Borein and Charlie Russell showcased their artwork at the Calgary Stampede. By the 1980s, the Western Art Show had become a regular feature of the 10-day Stampede. Today, the Stampede’s annual Western Art Show is one of Canada’s most significant art shows. The Stampede also celebrates art and western heritage year-round through the historical mural program and the parade of historical posters.

The Calgary Stampede Public Art committee was created in 2008 with a mandate to reach out to our community at large, to tell the story of, and retain our western heritage and values. To date, the committee has proudly unveiled two significant pieces of art: “Outlaw,” honouring one of the rankest bulls ever and “Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do,” Joe Fafard’s story-telling horses which we also gifted to our sister-city, Quebec City in honour of its 400th anniversary. Both of these pieces reside in downtown Calgary. The last bronze that was unveiled, in June 2012, was “By the Banks of the Bow;” with 15 horses and two riders crossing the Bow, it is said to be one of the largest pieces of art in North America!

The Stampede also celebrates art and western heritage year-round through the historical mural program and the parade of historical posters. The Public Art committee also works closely with the Historical Committee to showcase the most significant pieces of art at Stampede Park.

The Calgary Stampede Historical committee preserves, presents and promotes the history of the Calgary Stampede starting from its earliest days as a fair in 1884, to the first Stampede in 1912, all the way to present day.

From the Jane’s Walk website.

Cyclone into sunset CAL031013-gya-32

About Jane’s Walk: Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane’s Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers.

More than 100 cities participate in Jane’s Walk.

About Jane Jacobs: Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building.

Mural restoration project on Stampede Park

Last week, the restored “Early Chuckwagon Race” mural was installed near the Victoria Park LRT station entrance to Stampede Park. This was the final of eight fully restored murals made possible with the participation of the Government of Canada.



Rocky Barstead painted the original mural in 1998 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the original chuckwagon race in 1923. Like some of the other restored murals, the original was painted on wood that had begun to disintegrate.

The original mural

The original mural

Barstead painted the new mural on 36 separate metal panels. He used five colours: the three primary colours-red, blue and yellow-and white and brown.

Mural panel detail

Mural panel detail


Mural panel detail

Calgary’s wild temperature fluctuations have to be taken into account as the new murals are installed. Metal, of course, contracts in cold and expands in heat, so the panels can’t be fitted too tightly together. Therefore, there are small spaces between the panels which you can’t see from a distance.

Restored mural

Restored mural

Make sure to check out all the restored murals around Stampede Park!


Charlie Russell Exhibit Coming to the Glenbow Museum

If you’re interested in history, art, Stampede or all of these things, then you’ll want to check out the new installation coming soon to the Glenbow.  “Charlie Russell and the First Calgary Stampede” runs from June 2 – July 29, 2012.

It’s only fitting that there’s an exhibition of his paintings during the centennial celebration, as this “Famous Cowboy Artist’s” Special Exhibition of 20 paintings was a huge draw at the first ever Calgary Stampede.

The Glenbow has managed to almost fully recreate his 1912 exhibition and will have 18 out of the 20 paintings on display.

Russell, known for his stunning western landscapes and portrayals of First Nations, cowboys and outlaws, has provided us with an important visual history of what life was like in the west.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1864, he moved to Montana at the age of 16 where he spent most of his life until his passing in 1926.  It is said that he lived with the Blood Indians of the Blackfeet Nation for a period of time in the late 1880’s, which explains why he was able to portray them so authentically.

The Glenbow is also a hosting a number of other great events in the coming months that will celebrate our western heritage and values including “Weekend at the Museum: Go West!” on June 23 & 24, The “Walrus Glenbow Debate -  Calgary’s Cowboy Culture: Living Legacy or Just History?” on June 7, as well as “Cash and Conviction: The Big Four and the First Calgary Stampede” on Thursday, June 28, where their Senior Curator of Cultural history, Lorain Lounsberry, goes behind the scenes in Glenbow’s extensive cultural history collections to tell the tale of the four successful ranchers and business men that each guaranteed $25,000 so that Guy Weadick could produce the first Calgary Stampede in 1912.

More information can be found on their website at

Calgary Stampede Public Art Program is no bull

Ever wonder why a bronze statue of a bull faces Calgary’s downtown Stock Exchange Tower? Well it’s not just any bull. It’s Outlaw, one of the most famous animals to ever perform at the Calgary Stampede, and it’s there as part of one of the Stampede’s community outreach activities: the Public Art program. The program was launched in 2008 to facilitate the creation of 10 heroic-sized bronze sculptures for downtown Calgary and Stampede Park. The original pieces of art will recognize and honor our western heritage, allowing us to share these values with city visitors year-round.

Outlaw was unveiled in May 2010 and is the first of the 10 life-sized pieces of art to appear in Calgary’s streets. The statue of the red and white speckled bull reflects western spirit, entrepreneurship and determination – a good fit for a city that is rapidly becoming the financial centre of western Canada.

Outlaw isn’t the only western animal keeping an eye on our city these days. The program’s second statue, Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do, was unveiled in October 2010 and sits in front of the new Calgary Court Centre. This piece, which shows eight horses in different poses, is one of two identical statues created to commemorate Quebec City’s 400th anniversary and celebrate the sister-city bond between Quebec City and Calgary. The steel plate horses are in different poses to represent the movement of past, present and future. Together, they celebrate the horse’s role in tying Canada together throughout history.

The next statue in the program, By the Banks of the Bow, will be one of the largest sculptures in North America.This bronze will depict two cowboys herding 15 horses across the Bow River. The statue, which will be located south of the Corral on Stampede Park, will reflect the values of hard work and people helping one another that are at the core of western living.

Outlaw, Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do, and By the Banks of the Bow, along with the remaining seven statues, will help ensure that the western spirit remains here, in Calgary, all year.