Prince, Peter Anthony
• 238 4th Avenue SW
• moved to Heritage Park
Known as the centre for the booming oil and gas industry, it seems strange to consider that Calgary was once the logging centre of Canada, east of Vancouver. This claim along with many other municipal achievements, can be attributed to the energy and industry of one man – Peter Anthony Prince.
Prince started life at Three Rivers, Quebec in 1836, was educated in Ontario and worked for six years as a millwright for his father’s business. In 1865, he moved to Chicago, and found work in the construction field. He then traveled to Wisconsin, where a lumber boom was developing, and quickly formed a reputation as an efficient, reliable worker, erecting several lumber mills in the area. He soon was placed in charge of 500 men in his position of manager for the North Western Lumber Company.
At the request of what became known as the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company, Prince arrived in Calgary to build and manage a sawmill. He served as manager of the mill from 1885 to 1916. Prince blasted a channel in order to float logs directly to the sawmill, creating what is now Prince’s Island (and is currently a park.) The Eau Claire sawmill was the city’s main source of lumber until the First World War, and was in operation until 1945.
Prince became known as the lumber king of Calgary, whose interests did not stop at his sawmill. He owned one of the first cars in the city, built a flour-mill and elevator (later the Robin Hood Mill), operated a large ranching operation at Brooks, Alberta, was president of the Calgary Iron Works and the Calgary Milling Company.
Prince also contracted with the city to provide a consistent stream of electricity. This position originated largely because one night, while strolling down one of Calgary’s unlit streets on a plank sidewalk, Prince fell off and vowed to develop Canada’s firth community with electric power. Beginning in 1889, Prince contracted with the city to become the only provider of electricity through hydro-electric power until his death in 1925. The company changed hands several times since then, and is now Transalta Utilities Corp.
Prince married Marguerite Corogan in 1857, and they had two children. After her death, he married Marie Struelens in 1909, who lived in Calgary until her death in 19. Emily (Marie) was very active in community life, and lived over 92 years.