Visiting Lougheed House, Calgary, Alberta: a National Historic Site of Canada, this sandstone mansion dates from 1891
Witness to Alberta's history
Executed in sandstone, this solid mansion in the Beltline, Calgary, Alberta, dates from 1891 and was enlarged in 1907 and is a National Historic Site of Canada. It is also a Provincial Historic Site of Alberta; this twin designation befits the significance in both Provincial and national life of the career of Senator Sir James Lougheed (1854-1925), for whose family it was home. Married to Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, Sir James served in the Dominion Senate from 1889 until his death and remained at the forefront of national and Provincial life over several decades. A grandson, Peter Lougheed (1928-2012) served as Premier of Alberta (1971-1985) and, like his grandfather, was noted for his efforts to defend natural resources as being in the remit of the Provincial, rather than the Federal, Government (1).
Notable features of Lougheed House include an octagonal tower with a pyramidal roof. A combination of square and rounded windows indicate an eclectic blending of architectural styles. A number of exterior pillars evidence neo-Classical influence, while the rusticated appearance of the sandstone walls and the rounded windows suggest an element of neo-Romanesque style. Of particular note are some stained glass windows, including of scenes from the nearby Rockies.
The interior of the House includes Senator James Lougheed's two studies: one for receiving visitors and, upstairs, his private study.
While Senator James Lougheed resided at Lougheed House (first known as Beaulieu House)(2) was the scene of visits from many distinguished guests. These included:
*HRH Edward, Prince of Wales (1894-1972), later Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor; very much a local landowner with an active interest in ranching, Edward for several decades owned the EP Ranch, situated near High River, Alberta (68.7 kilometers south of Calgary).
*HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942), Governor-General of Canada 1911-1916 and HRH Princess Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught (1860-1917).
*HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught (1886-1974). At Lougheed House, guided tours are available and one of the rooms which may be visited is known as Princess Patricia's bedroom, from the Princess's visit together with the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1912. For Princess Patricia's visit to Calgary, an equestrian event was held which subsequently developed into the annual Calgary Stampede.
During World War Two, the House was used, among others, by the Canadian Women's Army Corps.
For many years the Red Cross used Lougheed House as a local base. The building is currently managed by the Lougheed House Conservation Society.
A gift store in Lougheed House has a large stock of period items recalling the styles in vogue in the late Victorian period.
The House regularly hosts a variety of historical exhibitions. School parties may obtain collective tours; and the premises are regularly hired for private functions.
August 16, 2016
(1) When Alberta achieved Provincial status in 1905, the Dominion Government (as it was then known) retained control of its natural resources, and Senator Lougheed was assiduous in his efforts for this responsibility to pass to the Province. Although this was conceded, yet the spirit of the concession was arguably absent when Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919-2000) in the early 1980s sought to incorporate Alberta's vast energy resources into the National Energy Plan - NEP / Programme énergétique national - PÉN, and it fell to the then Provincial Premier Peter Lougheed to bargain vigorously for a modus vivendi with the Federal Government. Even today in Alberta, memories of the handling of the issue at the different tiers of Canadian government rouse huge controversies. Today also, Senator James Lougheed and Premier Peter Lougheed are remembered as tireless defenders of Albertan free enterprise and identity.
(2) The adjoining gardens are still known as Beaulieu Gardens. The House and adjoining gardens are set in 2.6 acres (approx. 1 hectare) of grounds.
See also: www.lougheedhouse.com
Also worth seeing
The many visitor attractions in Calgary include: the Calgary Tower, Lougheed House National Historic Site and Museum, the annual Stampede, the Glenbow Museum, sporting events at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and Prince's Island Park in the Bow River are just a few of the many visitor attractions in this fast-growing city.
From Calgary, day trips to favourite Rockies destinations such as Banff (distance: 128.7 kilometres) and Lake Louise (distance: 183.6 kilometres) are feasible.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Calgary International Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Airline information at Calgary International Airport may be accessed at: http://www.yyc.com/en-us/travellerinfo/flightinformation/airlineinformation.aspx . See also: http://www.airportshuttleexpress.com/ . Both Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta have booths at the Airport. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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