A collection of images of the downtown skyline taken from the north side of the Bow River between 1910 and 2013. Stated time periods for each photo come from the indicated source, but in some cases are approximate and may be off by a year or two. If you have the sleuthing skills and are able to pin down a more accurate year, feel free to leave a note in the comment section below. We will update the post if the internet (that’s you) can come to a consensus on any revised timeframes.
The first Bow River crossing at Centre Street was Fogg’s Ferry in 1882. Crescent Heights developer A.J. MacArthur and a group of private investors built the first bridge, named after MacArthur himself, in 1907 for $17,000.
At the time this photo was taken, the Elveden Centre was still the city’s tallest development — but only for a few more years. Construction on the Husky Tower would start in 1967 and wrap up in 1968. It would remain the city’s tallest structure until 1983.
At the height of the Alberta oil boom in the 1970s, Calgary issued more than $1 billion worth of construction permits annually, more than Chicago or New York, according to CBC. Apartment vacancy rates during this period approached zero as Ontarians and Maritimers arrived daily in search of high-paying jobs.
In October 1987, four months before Calgary would host the world during the 1988 Winter Olympics, a helicopter installed the world’s largest Olympic torch on top of the Husky Tower. The $525,000 project was a gift from Olympic sponsor Canadian Western Natural Gas.
In 1992, the city officially designated Centre Street Bridge a municipal heritage resource. Seven years later, the bridge was closed for the third major structural upgrade in its history. It reopened in September 2000 after a $13-million repair that included removal and replacement of the original concrete lions.
How quickly things change. Prior to construction of Western Canada’s tallest tower, the Bow, you could still see the city’s most iconic structure, the Calgary Tower, from this lookout in Crescent Heights.