“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared July 16, 2002.
• The 85-room Queen's Hotel was built in 1893 on the site of the former Castle Mountain Billiard Hall and Saloon, home of Calgary's first town council meeting in 1884. Both were owned by prominent local politician and retired North West Mounted Police officer Simon J. Clarke, who later served as alderman from 1905 to 1907, city commissioner from 1909 to 1913 and superintendent of Banff National Park in 1913. Named for Queen Victoria, the hotel was a favourite watering hole for cowboys and cattleman, and by the 1950s a mecca for city employees due to its proximity to City Hall.
• The demolition of the Queen's Hotel and the closure of 8th Avenue eastbound at Macleod Trail, were part of Mayor Ross Alger's $234-million civic centre plan to redevelop the city's east end. The public defeated Alger's scheme in a 1979 plebiscite, but one year later, voted to build a new civic administration building.
The city expropriated the Queen's in 1980 and two years later demolished it to make way for construction of the Municipal Building and underground parkade. Mayor Ralph Klein officially opened the new City Hall extension on Oct. 18, 1985. A time capsule, buried in the atrium floor, is scheduled for reopening during the 200th anniversary of the city in 2084.