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    Calgary goes from cow town to tame town

    Calgary’s sudden transformation from wild cow town to tame city is noted in this item from The Globe, Toronto, October 3, 1903.

    Calgary manor of rancher and meat packer Pat Burns, ca. 1902. Unknown artist. Calgary Public Library, Wikimedia Commons.

    Calgary manor of rancher and meat packer Pat Burns, ca. 1902. Unknown artist. Calgary Public Library, Wikimedia Commons.

     It is scarcely twenty years since the war-hoop of the Sarcees died away in the valley of the Bow [River] and yet today there is a growing city of 12,000, the assessment of which has nearly doubled in four years…

    Canadians well remember when Calgary was an outpost of civilization, when Indians gave place to a race of cowboys scarcely less restrained in their western frolic. Today there are still cowboys who gallop through the main street, spurring their horses and wearing broad-brimmed hats and leather breeches. But their life is comparatively tame, and they look somewhat out of place in a city of brown-stone stores and palatial residences.

    Time is laying its heavy hand on the ranching life, and the old-time open range, with no boundaries but the Rockies, and the blue dome above is being crowded back by the land-hunger of the wheat growers. Miles and miles of railway switches and a new freight shed evidence the growth of commerce and commercial travellers radiate from the city through the new towns born by yesterday.

    The population boom noted by the Globe had barely started. In the 20 years from the 1891 to the 1911 census, the number of Calgarians increased nearly 12-fold, from 3,876 to 43,700; in 2012 it passed the 1.1 million mark. But the fastest rate of growth was in the first 14 years of the twentieth century, when Alberta’s total population more than eight-fold.

     Related blog: New Canadians arrive by the ship load

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    TAGS: Calgary, Population, Immigration, Railroads, Cow town, Cowboys, Indians, Bow River

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