Mount Royal is situated on the slope and crest of a hill, overlooking downtown Calgary. Comprised of neighbourhoods in ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’ Mount Royal, our diverse and vibrant inner-city community has a rich and interesting history.
Upper Mount Royal: During the early 1900s, what is now ‘Upper Mount Royal’ was promoted by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as an exclusive Calgary community. The neighbourhood was originally known as ‘American Hill’, because of the large number of Americans who settled here. ‘Mount Royal’ was formally established in 1904, after the Montreal community which was home to then CPR president, William E. Van Horne. Since then, Mount Royal has been home to historically notable Calgarians, including Colonel James Macleod and the A.E. Cross family.
The community developed rapidly during the first two decades of the 20th century. Many original Mount Royal homes were constructed during Calgary’s 1910-1912 building boom. Restrictive covenants were placed on many property titles, limiting housing development to single family dwellings and setting minimum construction costs thus protecting the character and family-oriented feel of this residential district over the years.
Lower Mount Royal: The Lower Mount Royal area was annexed to the City and formally established in 1907 and became part of the original CPR subdivision of Mount Royal in 1909. Wood and stucco were the predominant building materials as compared to the brick and sandstone in Upper Mount Royal; many lots were subsequently subdivided and developed with houses of wood frame construction, similar in style to those of the Beltline district.
The Mount Royal Community Association (MRCA) was first incorporated as the Mount Royal Community Club on January 22, 1934 under the Societies Act 1924. At the time of incorporation, the objects included the following:
(a) To provide recreation for its members and to promote and afford opportunities for friendly and social intercourse.
(b) To acquire lands, by purchase, lease or otherwise, to erect or otherwise provide a building or buildings for social and community purposes, including to provide play grounds, a clubhouse, skating rinks, swimming pools, tennis courts, bowling greens and to establish, develop and beautify parks and playgrounds in the community and to operate the same.
(c) To encourage and promote amateur games and exercises.
(d) To provide a meeting place for the consideration and discussion of topics of general interest, and to encourage the practice of public speaking among its members.
(e) To procure the delivery of lectures on social, educational, political, economic and other subjects, and to give and arrange musical and dramatic entertainments.
(f) To provide a center and suitable meeting place for the various activities of the community.
(g) To generally encourage and foster and develop among its members a recognition of the importance of agriculture and horticulture in the national life and the beautification of the grounds of the Club and of the City generally.
In 1969, the society adopted its current name, Mount Royal Community Association, and recast its objects as follows:
(a) To provide recreational, social, educational, cultural and athletic facilities for the use of its members and their families;
(b) To encourage, promote and defend the collective interests of the Mount Royal community, its residents and their interests in the community;
(c) To encourage and promote amateur games and exercises;
(d) To acquire lands by lease or otherwise, and to erect or otherwise provide the buildings and other improvements which are required to carry out the objects of the Society;
(e) To provide all equipment and furniture which are necessary to carry out the various objects of the Society; and
(f) To sell, manage, lease, mortgage, dispose of and otherwise deal with the property of the Society whether held under lease or otherwise.
Our community has experienced dramatic changes over time. Both residential and commercial areas have seen redevelopment to accommodate Calgary’s rapid growth, promoting increasing walkability, diversity and vibrancy. Our Mount Royal Area Redevelopment Plan encourages continuation of positive development in a manner which reflects community and city-wide objectives and fosters mixed density residential and commercial development.
These documents provide fascinating history of Mount Royal and its founding families:
- Mount Royal History Document
- Postcards From the Past
- Calgary Public Library Archives: Our Story in Pictures
- Historical Maps of Calgary and Alberta
- Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library
- C.D. Rickards residence, 710 15th Avenue S.W.
- Dr. Thomas H. Blow residence, 2104 8th Street S.W.
- Calgary Public Library Heritage website – http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/blogs/community-heritage-and-family-history