“Calgary propagates its own greatest myth: that it is a city without history.” – Harry Sanders


We know Calgary today as a prairie boomtown that loves hockey and rodeo, but how did this all come to be? At the heart of the city are the places within it that tell its story. The city is full of sites, built and natural, that provide us with a window into its past. From its early beginnings as a gathering place for Indigenous people, to the arrival of the North West Mounted Police in 1875, to its present state as a cosmopolitan city, there are many stories to explore. These places are special, unique, and offer engaging experiences to residents and visitors alike.


Be inspired to explore Calgary’s many historic buildings, landscapes, and neighbourhoods. Let’s dispel the myth that our city is without history!

New Uses for Old Buildings

The best way to keep our heritage sites alive is by adapting how they are used. This can mean empowering them with modern technology and energy efficiency and creating interesting spaces for  live, work and play. Here are some great examples from our city. 

Take a video tour to see how an old school, a church, a factory and homes have been adapted for today’s new uses.

Did you know that the Calgary Heritage Initiative publishes a list of local Heritage Trades and promotes a Heritage Homes Salvage and Exchange Facebook group to encourage materials reuse?


Think of a place that is important to you. When you picture it, is it a natural landscape? Is it something built by humans? Is it some place that has both natural and built elements? Has something important happened there? Is something important located there?


UNESCO defines cultural landscapes as:


…the combined works of nature and of man that are illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic and cultural forces, both external and internal.


Let’s explore more about the cultural landscapes that contribute to Calgary’s heritage:



Calgary is a rich tapestry of communities. Around the city, there are neighbourhoods with hundreds of heritage sites that help us trace how our city came to be. These places give us roots, a meaningful connection to the past, and a sense of cultural identity. To learn more about the histories of these communities, click on the tiles.

The Calgary Heritage Initiative Society/Calgarians for Heritage Districts publishes “New Uses for Old Buildings” and “Community Histories” on the Heritage Inspires YYC website or social media posts as an information service and is not responsible for errors, omissions, or outdated information. Inclusion of the name, address or website of a business or service provider in examples of  “New Uses for Old Buildings” does not constitute an endorsement of that business or service provider. We thank the many community volunteers for contributing histories, resources, and photographs. 


Don’t see your favorite community or repurposed building featured? Send us your pictures suggestions for additions to contact@HeritageInspiresYYC.org