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 in 1934.
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