Historic Individuals that Calgary’s Major Roads and Trails are Named After

What's in a name: Part 1

Calgary is a unique city in many ways. One of the biggest things that distinguishes us from other metropolitan areas is how we name our major thoroughfares. The word “trail” is used across our city and pays homage to the the old oxcart trail that existed between Calgary and Fort Benton in Montana. Stoney, Blackfoot, Metis, Shaganappi, Sarcee, and Peigan Trails are all named in honour of the first people on this continent, although the latter two have since changed their names. The Peigan are now known as the Piikani Nation and the Sarcee are now the Tsuut’ina Nation, but both street names remain. Others, such as Edmonton, Banff, Morley, Beddington, Airport, Spruce Meadows, and Bow Trails are named after destinations or nearby landmarks. Glenmore Trail is named for a Gaelic word meaning, “big valley”, which was bestowed upon the area now covered by the Glenmore Reservoir by early explorer Sam Livingstone. What follows are photos depicting the people that our trails, and other prominent roadways, are named after. Each individual has a historical connection to this city, this province, or this country and by using their monikers we are respecting our past, while looking towards the future. How many of these did you know before?

Historic individuals that Calgary's major roads and trails are named after
Deerfoot Trail is named after a fleet-footed runner from the Blackfoot Nation; Deerfoot-Bad Meat or Api-kai-eeS.
Historic individuals that Calgary's major roads and trails are named after
Lieutenant-Colonel James Macleod was the second Commissioner of the NWMP and founder of Fort Calgary. Both Fort Macleod and Macleod Trail are named in his honour.
Crowchild Trail is named after David Crowchild, Chief of the Tsuu T’ina Nation from 1946 to 1953.
Barlow Trail is named for Noel Barlow, a local pilot and ground crewman, who had a distinguished career during WWII.
John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll, better known by his courtesy title Marquis of Lorne, was the fourth Governor General of Canada. Marquis of Lorne Trail is named in his honour.
Sir George Stephen was a prominent businessman in Canada and the mastermind behind the Canadian Pacific Railway. Stephen Avenue is named after him.
Inspector Éphrem A. Brisebois was an officer with the NWMP who attempted to name Fort Calgary Fort Brisebois, but was overruled by his commanding officer James Macleod. Brisebois Drive is named after this officer.
James McKevitt (centre row at left) was an early Alberta settler in the Midnapore area and a CPR surveyor. James McKevitt Road in the SW is named after him.
Dr. John Laurie was a prominent educator and political activist in Calgary, best known for First Nations advocacy. He became an honourary Stoney Chief in 1948 and was given the name White Cloud. John Laurie Blvd is named after him.
McKnight Blvd is named after Flying Officer William Lidstone “Willie” McKnight of the Royal Air Force. He became Canada’s fifth-highest scoring ace of WWII.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a collection of some of the more popular roadways in our city. The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives, Wikipedia, and the Calgary Herald. 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 Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

Tyler Dixon
About Tyler Dixon 85 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.