Historic Individuals that Calgary’s Bridges are Named After

As a follow-up to my previous post, Historic Individuals that Calgary’s Major Roads and Trails are Named After, I am sticking with a similar theme and uncovering the stories behind some of Calgary’s landmarks. For this post I am specifically looking at bridges.

With two major waterways flowing through the city, Calgary has a number of bridges spanning both the Bow and Elbow Rivers. There are several bridges dedicated solely to trains, others still designed specifically for pedestrians, and even more that just keep traffic flowing. Some of the bridges, such as the photogenic Peace Bridge, are well-known, while others are more obscure, but are still rooted in the history of this city, this province, and this country. The Jaipur Bridge, for example, is named in recognition of Calgary’s sister city, Jaipur, India or the Mewata Bridge, which is a Cree word that translates to ‘O Be Joyful.’ What follows is a list of ten bridges that are named to honour different people for different reasons. How many did you previously know?

Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
Ben Calf Robe was a Blackfoot elder and a scout for the North West Mounted Police. The Calf Robe Bridge that crosses the Bow River is named in his honour.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
The George C. King Bridge is named after Calgary’s second mayor. He served from 1886 to 1888.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
John Hextall established the community of Bowness. Today the Hextrall Bridge is named after him.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
Harry Boothman (at right) was the Director of the Calgary Parks and Recreation Department. The Boothman Bridge is named after him.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
Reconciliation Bridge was originally named the Langevin Bridge after Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, one of the Father’s of Confederation. In 2017, after a majority vote in Calgary, the bridge was renamed in honour of First Nation Reconciliation.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
Sue Higgins was a long-time Calgary alderman who was originally elected in 1977. Both the Sue Higgins Bridge and Sue Higgins Off-Leash Park are named in her honour.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
John Ivor Strong was Calgary’s Chief Commissioner from 1964 to 1971 and the Ivor Strong Bridge is named after him.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
William Henry Cushing (back row at left) was Calgary’s mayor from 1900-1901. The Cushing Bridge is named after him and the Louise Bridge is named after his daughter, Louise Cushing.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
The Pattison Bridge is named after Private John George Pattison of the 50th Battalion, who was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I. He was the only Calgarian to receive Canada’s highest honour during WWI.
Historic Individuals that Calgary's Bridges are Named After
Mr. and Mrs. James Shouldice, along with their 10 children, were a prominent ranching family in the Calgary area during the early 1900’s. Today a number of city landmarks, including the Shouldice Bridge, bear the family’s last name in recognition.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a collection of some of the bridges in our city that I could do some research on. The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives and other online 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 Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

Tyler Dixon
About Tyler Dixon 92 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.