“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared March 15, 1998.
Calgary Tower (former Husky Tower)
• 101 9th Ave. S.W.
• Built: 1967-1968
• Architects: W.G. Milne A. Dale and Associates.
• Contractor: Poole Construction Co.; Structural -- Ricketts, Evers and Associates; Electrical and Mechanical -- Reid, Crowther and Partners Ltd.
• Original cost: Estimates range from $2.5 million to $3.5 million.
• Original owners: Husky Oil Limited and Marathon Realty as part of the Palliser Square redevelopment.
• Construction materials: Concrete and steel.
• Original interior details: Full 360 degrees panoramic views from restaurant and observation levels. Restaurant with revolving floor and seating for 200. First observation deck with capacity for 250 people. Second observation desk with cocktail lounge and snack bar. Skydomes in roof. Two steel encased staircases with 762 stairs from top to bottom. Two 25-passenger high speed elevators which travelled to the top in 63 seconds.
• Built on the site of Canadian Pacific Railway's station, which was demolished in June 1966 to accommodate the Palliser Square Project and the Husky Tower.
• Construction on the Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in North America, began February 19, 1967. Four thousand cubic yards of soil were removed from the excavation.
• October 1987; a helicopter installed the world's largest Olympic torch on the top of the Tower. The $525,000 project was a gift of Olympic sponsor Canadian Western Natural Gas. When lit, the flame was visible 15 to 20 kilometres away and required 30,000 cubic feet of natural gas an hour. The flame flickered brightly throughout the Winter Olympics held in Calgary in February 1988 and more recently in February 1998 to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
• 1989: a $10.5-million renovation and expansion program.
• In 1996, the Calgary Tower was sold when Canadian Pacific Limited sold its Marathon real estate division, which included the Tower, for $952 million to a company owned equally by Oxford Properties Group Inc. and the international arm of General Electric Capital Corp. Oxford became owner of the entire Palliser Square complex.
• Calgary is a founding member of the World Federation of Great Towers, which includes such famed structures as the CN Tower in Toronto and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
• The Tower, the third tallest building in Calgary, next to Petro- Canada and Bankers Hall, and attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually.
“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared July 30, 2002.
THEN: Canadian Pacific Railway Park -- Atlantic (9th) Avenue, east of the railway depot
• In 1890, the Canadian Pacific Railway developed gardens parallel to the tracks east of its Atlantic Avenue passenger depot. This "oasis in the wilderness" was part of the company's plan to promote Prairie fertility and colonize the West.
For many years, the park welcomed weary train travellers and offered Calgarians a break from the dust and dirt of the frontier.
The park was designed in a geometric pattern that incorporated cinder paths, a fountain, wooden benches, lush lawns, flower beds, ornamental and fruit trees, shrubs, vegetable gardens and a bandstand featuring regular Sunday concerts.
As early as 1907, portions of the park were sacrificed for construction of a sandstone passenger depot. Subsequent additions to the depot and the high cost of maintaining the park led to its demise.
NOW: Calgary Tower and Palliser Square complex -- 101 9th Ave. S.W.
• In the summer of 1966, while Calgarians prepared for the Canadian launch of colour television, wrecking crews demolished the Canadian Pacific Railway's historic sandstone depot to make way for the 188- metre-high Husky Tower and Palliser Square development.
Two years later, the Husky Tower (renamed the Calgary Tower in 1971), was opened by Premier Ernest Manning, who predicted it would become one of Calgary's unique and unforgettable features. At the time, it was the tallest self-supporting structure in North America.
Since 1999, the tower and square have been owned and managed by Vancouver-based Bentall Corp.