Historic Individuals that Calgary Schools are Named After

This is the fourth instalment where I look at some of the historic individuals that Calgary landmarks are named after. The first post looked at some of Calgary’s major roads and trails, the second focused on a few of Calgary’s bridges, while the third was dedicated to a number of Calgary’s popular parks and green spaces. This one examines some of Calgary’s schools and where their names come from.

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has more than 240 schools in its jurisdiction. Many of them are named after natural landmarks or the communities they are located in. Many more are named after historic individuals that played a role in shaping this city, this province, or this country. Some of these names are easily recognizable, such as former Canadian Prime Ministers Sir John A. Macdonald, Lester B. Pearson, and John G. Diefenbaker. Others are Canadian icons like Terry Fox, Peter Lougheed, and Robert Thirsk. There are even a few that are recognized the world over, for example Sir Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth, and Nelson Mandela.

What follows is a closer look at some of the lesser-known individuals our schools are named after. Keep in mind that just because you might not instantly recognize their name, their accomplishments in their respective fields are of no less importance. After all, they have a school (and in some cases other public buildings) named in their honour.

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, merely a sample of twenty schools from the CBE. I hope you enjoy the photographs and please tell us in the comments below how many you knew previously.

John Ware was born into slavery, but became a respected cowboy here in Alberta. John Ware School is named after this man. To read more about this legendary rancher follow this link.
Nellie McClung House and Nellie McClung School are named after Nellie McClung who was part of the Famous Five. They launched the Persons Case in 1929, which ultimately won women the right to sit in the Canadian senate and were officially considered “persons” under Canadian Law.
A. E. Cross was a prominent rancher, MLA for East Calgary and one of the Big Four founding members of the Calgary Stampede. Today A. E. Cross School is named in his honour.
Andrew Sibbald School is named after Andrew Sibbald, a school teacher at the Methodist McDougall mission in Morley, Alberta.
Annie Gale was the first female alderman in Calgary and all of Canada. Annie Gale School bears her name today.
William Aberhart was the seventh Premiere of Alberta. Today the high school in the city’s northwest is named after him.
Vincent Massey was a lawyer and diplomat who served as the Governor General of Canada. Vincent Massey School is named after him.
Schools
Tom Baines was the city’s first zookeeper and later an employee of the Glenbow Museum. Tom Baines School is named after him.
Schools
Simon Fraser School is named after this Scottish fur trader and explorer who charted much of what is now modern-day British Columbia.
Lord Beaverbrook High School is named in honour of William Maxwell Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook. who was a Canadian-British newspaper publisher and backstage politician.
Schools
Joane Cardinal-Schubert was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was an artist of Kainaiwa ancestry. The city’s newest high school is named after her.
Schools
James Fowler was a teacher and eventually became president of the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art. James Fowler High School is named after him.
Schools
Guy Weadick is best known for being one of the founders of the Calgary Stampede. Guy Weadick School is named in his honour.
Dr. Martha Cohen School is named after this Canadian community activist and philanthropist who was also a member of the Order of Canada.
Schools
Dr. E. P. Scarlett High School is named after Earle Parkhill Scarlett, a physician who also served as Chancellor of the University of Alberta. He’s second from the left in the photo above.
Schools
Captain Nichola Goddard School is named in honour of the first female Canadian soldier killed in combat and the 16th Canadian soldier killed in Canadian operations in Afghanistan.
Douglas Harkness was a politician, teacher, farmer and former lieutenant colonel in the Royal Canadian Artillery. Douglas Harkness School bears his name today.
Dr. Gladys McKelvie Egbert was a renowned piano and music teacher who was granted a fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music. There a middle school in the city’s northeast that bears her name.
Schools
Patrick Burns was a was a Canadian rancher,businessman, and senator. He is also credited as one of the Big Four who started the Calgary Stampede. Senator Patrick Burns School is named after him.
Schools
William Ormond Mitchell was a Canadian writer and broadcaster. W. O. Mitchell School is named for him.

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives, and other sources. Additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on each photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

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About Tyler Dixon 119 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.