Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lougheed House: An Alberta Treasure

One place I was really interested in seeing while I was in Calgary was Lougheed House.  Given that it was Sunday, I didn't expect it to be open but I figured that at least I would get a few photos and enjoy some decent temperatures while I waited to check in to my hotel.   As it turned out, it was open and I ended up spending well over an hour there.

A provincial and national historic site, this residence, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, is a true gem.  Built in 1891, by Senator Laughed James Alexander Lougheed (grandfather to later Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed)it is the only structure of its kind in Western Canada.  It's sandstone construction (like that of many of the historic structures that grace 8th Avenue) owes itself to the Calgary Fire of 1886.) Wood was out, sandstone was in.  Growing up in southern Ontario, with its stone and brick heritage buildings in places like Cobourg, Picton, Port Hope, Kingston and Brockville, I was struck by how it reminded a little of what one might see parts of Ontario.

Loved the stone work, loved the hand-carved wood, loved the traces of the original wall paper that were discovered.  If I gush anymore, I'll enter a state of incoherence.  There is a little restaurant there, I should add.  Having loaded up on coffee after my bus trip, I wasn't particularly hungry, though the smells from the kitchen created a very pleasant atmosphere in which to explore this lovely property.

A chance conversation with one of the ladies at the front desk led to them giving me a rough map of some of the other historic buildings in Calgary's city centre which has me looking forward to another trip to do some more exploring.

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