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Pat Burns - Alberta's Greatest Citizen

by Christine L Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

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Pat Burns was named Alberta's Greatest Citizen on Thursday October 16 at a gala event at the Wainwright Hotel at Heritage Park. As part of the Calgary Herald's Greatest Citizen project, which was launched to coincide with the paper's 125th anniversary, readers were asked to nominate and then vote for their choice for our Greatest Citizen. Over 18,000 votes were cast.

Pat Burns is known for many things. Born Patrick O'Byrne in Kirkfield Ontario he was the son of Irish Catholic immigrants. He said he "wrassled in his nightshirt" with William (later to be Sir William) McKenzie. This connection would serve him well. When McKenzie was building his railway west and needed beef in great amounts to feed his workers, he turned to his old Kirkfield buddy, Patrick. By the time he hit Calgary in 1889 Patrick had changed his name to Burns and was well on his way to becoming the millionaire owner of Burns and Co.

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Burns built a beautiful home in the Beltline district as a gift to his wife. He was one of the Big Four who established the original Calgary Stampede. He bought the Bow Valley Ranch from William Roper Hull in 1902. He was made a Senator, the appointment announced at a huge city-wide birthday party given for him in 1931, complete with a 3000 pound cake. But Pat Burns is remembered as our greatest citizen not just for his wealth and possessions, but for his philanthropic efforts. As a thank you for the massive birthday celebration, Burns gave a roast to every family who had an unemployed breadwinner. He donated to many causes, believing that success was meaningless unless shared. In his will, Pat Burns set up the Burns Memorial Fund to provide financial support for widows and orphans of police and firefighters and for poor children. The fund continues to provide help and support to families of firefighters and police and to low income children.

Hurray for Pat Burns, our Greatest Citizen!

The Heritage Triangle

by Christine L Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

Do you know about the Calgary Heritage Triangle?

The Calgary Heritage Triangle is a partnership among the Calgary Public Library, the Glenbow Library and Archives and the City of Calgary Archives. All are located within easy walking distance of each other. These organizations collect and preserve Calgary's heritage to ensure it is accessible to Calgarians. Download the Brochure to find more information and maps to these locations. What amazing resources in the heart of downtown Calgary!

North West Mounted Police Personnel Records

by Christine L Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

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Mounted Police (Prairie Uniform)...on line of CPR, ca. 1907

Postcards from the Past, PC 434

Library and Archives Canada has digitized documents from the personnel files of the NWMP from 1873-1904. These files contain a wealth of information for historians, genealogists and those interested in the NWMP and the role they played in the evolution and development of Western Canada and the Yukon. The files contain all kinds of documents sometimes including personal correspondence and newspaper clippings. Check it out at

Also check out the great collection of items relating to the history of the NWMP in our Local History room. We have annual reports, periodicals, lists of personnel, histories, and postcards, just to name a few.

New - Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register Master Index

by Christine L Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

We have just received the Master Index to the Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers from the Ontario Genealogical Society and the United Chruch of Canada Archives. This set of 26 microfiche includes not just the names of the baptised but also of the parents. Over 350,000 names are listed. The registers cover Ontario but also has a few entries from Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. The call number is MICRO FICHE 929.371 WES and it can be found in the genealogy collection on the 4th floor of the Central Library.