Community History

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Historical Review Covering 60 Years of Community

Below is a collection of written documents and photo’s that were assembled for the 60th Anniversary of the Community celebration held September 17, 2016.

This celebration was attended by many of the original community residents and special City of Calgary representatives Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell joined the celebration and visited with the Community residents.

I wish to thank all those who donated their historical pictures and write-ups and special thanks to fellow directors Jodi Dixon and Barb Milne and their volunteer committee.

Daryl Connolly, President CHCA

*The following are write-ups made by past Directors or residents that provide a verbal history of the Community. The author is not always identified but the records were found in the old community files and are assumed to be accurate.


Pat and Elwood Kinsella Notes

Yes – Elwood and other neighbours went together and went down to City Hall to buy a lot in 1956. The house was completed by the fall of that year. Elwood worked for NewWest Homes and bought the plans and built the house after work and weekends.

It was like living out in the country because there was nothing behind us at all. Gravel streets, no sidewalks no home phones or mail delivery. Highwood was there but there was this great space between us and Highwood. There was just nothing but the old farm – not the buildings of the farm but some of the remnants, like the manure pile, water well and chicken coup debris.
Started helping with Brownies with Bernie Barber for one year then started the Girl Guide Company in 1967. Used the Community Hall for one year then moved to Christ Church across the street (Truth Church now). Pat got her camp license and took the girls to Cochrane in the winter and Mockingbird in the summer (north of Cochrane). Girls wanted their mothers to come along to do the cooking and clean-up – the girls wanted to just hike and have fun. So Pat took a different group.

Pat wanted to have a mixed party for the Guides and Scouts in the early 70’s. Scouts leader was Randy McSorley. The first year she brought it up to the Community Association there was too much controversy, the Board would not support it. The second year Pat asked and the Association was still not in favour but she decided to do it anyway. Pat and Randy the Scout Leader started the dance by dancing with each other and then each picked a boy and girl and danced with them. Then those kids had to pick a new partner and next thing the whole group got up and danced. The Association found out later and “had a fit”.

Pat and a social committee of seven other ladies organized the parties at the Hall for eight years. The women and their husbands would help make buckets of potatoes salad, turkey, coleslaw, desserts, etc. in their homes with big cooking bees. They would bring the food to the Hall and have it on buffet tables in the basement.

The Hall was too small to have the food upstairs. Upstairs was used for tables and a dance floor. They would hire a band to play and would charge admission. They had a party just about every month. St. Patrick’s Day parties, Valentine’s, New Year’s Eve, Halloween and Christmas.

The New Year’ss Eve party was always a hit and the organizing group would come back the next day after putting their turkey’s in the oven and clean the Hall and spend all day cleaning, washing dishes by hand and putting the Hall back to normal.

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Cambrian Heights Community Highlights

The Community came to life around 1956 with the first houses being built. Natural springs caused by elevation changes presented early problems for builders and slowed development. In fact, the Community raised funds in 1957 to finish paving their streets when the City was slow to do so.

Cambrian Heights Elementary School built in 1957.

Community residents formed a Steering Committee and by 1958 had registered a constitution with Alberta and in September 1961 signed their first property lease with the City.

Community members raised monies from residents and constructed the first Hall by December 1962 for approximately $16,000. An expansion was undertaken in 1975 and then again in 1991. These were financed again by the Community with help from City and Provincial Grants.

The North YMCA was built as one of the first co-ed facilities across the street in 1963.

Early on the Edelweiss School was established in 1988, renting space in the Hall, with 12 students and now has upwards of 154 preschool, Jr. Kindergarten and Kindergarten students. 28 years later they are one of the most recognized Preparatory Schools in the City.

Population in the Community peaked at around 3300 people in 1969. Currently, there are approximately 2100 residents.

Early popular sports programs included bowling and baseball, supplemented with Cubs, Scouts and Girl Guides. An active social program included Halloween dances, New Year’s Parties, card parties and Pancake Breakfasts.

In 1991 the Hall underwent a major expansion and by then was owned by the City and leased back to the Community.

The Cambrian Heights School playground was completely fundraised and built by the Cambrian Heights residents and student families in 2007. In addition, picnic tables and a naturalization area was subsequently added by the community. A first Community Garden was established in 2012.

The Community was very involved in the development of a dog park within its boundaries in 2007-9. Some controversy resulted from the fencing and subsequent un-fencing of the park for safety and traffic conditions.

The Hall was painted and upgraded in 2014 with the help of a Capital Conservation Grant and the volunteer efforts of Board members.

A revitalization of activities and social programs was initiated by the Board starting in 2014. This has resulted in over 750 people attending eight social events in 2016 as well as the highly successful annual spring community cleanup initiated in 2015. The Community also offers at the Hall Jazzercise and Yoga throughout the year and provides ice skating rinks throughout the winter months. Hall rentals for weddings, birthday parties and family gatherings continue through the year as well as special summer programs run by third parties.

Throughout the history of the Community its Board members have been very prudent financially and results in this community’s financial health being one of the best in the City. Casino’s, memberships, Hall rentals and the Edelweiss School provide funding to maintain the Hall and promote social activities. The future remains bright for the Community as long as volunteers continue to dedicate their time, energy and ideas.

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