Shaganappi connects with local residents for Canada 150
By Chelsea Cook Davidson
Interview with long-time Shaganappi resident Mrs. Isora Fraser
After having lived in Shaganappi for over 60 years, 96-year-old, Isora Fraser has seen many changes in the neighbourhood. A former Registered Nurse from Victoria, BC, she met her true love, a construction worker from Calgary, which led to her quitting her job and moving to live in Shaganappi with her husband.
Fraser said, “Shaganappi has been a very good area for years and years. It’s in the middle of town, close to downtown, is so quiet and a great neighbourhood.”
Isora has always found the paths through the gully picturesque. She says, “When I was more mobile I used to love going to the gully because it felt like another world.”
Looking back she said many years ago there was a site offering community garden plots, but as it changed over residents of Shaganappi didn’t know what would come of it. At that time, Alexander Ferguson Elementary School was built on the site, Fraser said, “It became the centre of the community.”
She recounted the days before Alexander Ferguson School existed, students from Shaganappi had to cross Morley Trail and 30th Street (where Crowchild Trail currently sits and close to where Oliver Quarry Park was) to get to Sunalta School using sleds to go down the hill and climb up to get to the school on the hillside.
Bill Oliver’s sandstone quarry, circa 1915
Glenbow Archives NA-3423-1
Initially Morley Trail was just a gravel road and then became paved and later became what is now known as Crowchild Trail.
When Mrs. Fraser first moved into the neighbourhood, she says, “There were only 2-3 houses built along each street except 25A Street was full. The roads were still made of gravel at the time. Surrounding the houses on each street were boulevards and no sidewalks yet. “
She remembers the other on the other side of 17th Ave and 26 Street there being a drugstore, hardware store and bakery. The Maple Leaf convenience store has been there for what it seems like is forever she says.
As well, Mrs. Fraser says “the neighbours in this community have always been there if you need them, but yet they do not interfere.”
Mrs. Fraser recalls the Jackson Ranch house on the 1400 block of 28 Street as having a circle in front to drive close to the entrance of the house. She added that most of the community had bungalows back in the day.
She recalled the building known today as the Good Companions 50+ Club used to be a branch of the Calgary Public Library and was in fact the nearest public library for residents of Shaganappi.
Mrs. Fraser says a neighbour, Barbara Weaver, who at one time lived kiddie corner to her, was so impressed with the neighbourhood that she became an artist in Victoria, British Columbia, because of it. Weaver would be requested to paint neighbourhoods on the island and made a good living at it, said Fraser.
“People started to know each other more since the playground was built,” Isora said. “The greenspace for the playground on the corner of 25A Street & 14 Avenue was willed to the City many years ago from a resident.” This substantial donation of beautiful land preserved this expansive greenspace.
Because of the pleasant affect the trees bring by providing a sound barrier as well as cutting down air pollution, she hates to see people tear down trees.
“I love spending time in my backyard amongst the trees and after going away and coming back to my house I feel so lucky to have a yard like this,” said Fraser.
Golfing at Shaganappi Point, 1923
Glenbow Archives NA-1604-61
On the former ranch site, Jackson’s farm that belonged to him and his family was where the current Jacques Lodges and Shaganappi golf course is. Fraser said “The land was sold to the City of Calgary with the understanding that it would be a seniors’ place and for them to live in the lodges as long as they imagined.”
Interview with new Shaganappi resident Mr. Kelly Black
Kelly Black says both him and his spouse always liked the neighbourhood, having lived previously in Killarney’s Casel condo building. But they ultimately chose to buy a house and live here because they fell in love with a mid-century designed bungalow on a large lot with unobstructed views of downtown.
Black, who is also a co-owner of Una Pizza, located in downtown Calgary off 17th Ave SW, moved into his home a year ago from a neighbouring community. He said, “It is close enough to everything but just far enough way, quiet and private.”
With his new home located in Upper Scarboro, he says he enjoys, “the awesome view of downtown and nearby greenspaces.”
In 2015, Black was recognized in Avenue magazine’s annual Top 40 Under 40 list of up-and-coming Calgarians.