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Christmas in Early Calgary

by Christine Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

PC 1263

Horse and Buggy

Postcards from the Past PC 1263

Often, when I am fishing for a subject for the blog, I turn to the newspapers. I love to read the old papers because it gives you a very interesting perspective on the early denizens of this city. For example, here is what was going on the week of Christmas in 1889:

“Shortly after six last night the children of Knox church, to the number of nearly a hundred sat down to a sumptuous tea. After regaling themselves…all eyes turned to the next and no less interesting item of the program—the Xmas tree. A handsome evergreen had been procured and now looked doubly resplendent in its colored wax candles and rich freight.” (Calgary Herald December 21, 1889) This sounds like a recipe for disaster, to me, 100 children and open flames on a wooden structure, but there are no subsequent articles about a fire in Knox Church, so all must have gone well.

In the same paper Christmas goodies were advertised including cheeses, calves foot jelly, mock turtle soup, galantine of wild boar’s head pate and a variety of other delicacies, all available for the festive season at G.C. King and Co. in the Post Office Block.

Continuing my cruise of the Christmas newspapers (it is actually a great way to dodge real work – we call it research) I was also intrigued by an ad I found in The Albertan for Saturday December 21, 1901. We often think of our forebears as stolid, no-nonsense folk not given to frivolity. Then I found this ad:

Buy your Horse a Xmas Present

Few people stop to see if their horse appreciates a gift as much as their dearest friend

JUST TRY HIM ONCE

Give him a comfortable blanket for those chilly days, or perhaps a more comfortable collar to draw his load with. Then make him look well and fell well by dressing him in the latest styles – at the

Calgary Saddlery Co. Ltd.

So, now when I feel the need to buy my dog a Christmas sweater, I feel better knowing that I am following a long line of strange people who feel the need to dress their animals up for Christmas.

The staff in the Humanities Department wish you the best of the season.

PC 152

Carnegie Library (now Memorial Park) Christmas Postcard ca. 1912

Postcards from the Past PC 152

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