What’s in a name? Unique monikers help us distinguish one person, place, or thing from another – but a lot of the time we don’t put too much thought into where they came from. These stories can pretty cool, so we decided to look into a title that we’re all familiar with; one that should mean a lot to most, if not, all of you – Calgary! What does it mean, who came up with it and why did it stick? The answer might surprise you.
Originally called Fort Brisebois after NWMP officer Éphrem-A. Brisebois, a politician and soldier, the story of the Calgary we know today, is actually one of romance.
It all begins in 1876 when Alberta officer Colonel James McLeod travelled to the beach Isle of Mull in Scotland.
Here, he would stay in a stunning castle (seen below) overlooking the ocean – its name? Calgary – which is is actually Gaelic for ‘beach of the meadow.’
Now, if you’re anything like us then you’re wondering how in the heck does typically pretty cold, dry place like southern Alberta end up with a tag like that – and the answer is quite simple! Not only did McLeod find peace on this vacation, but he also found love.
Though nothing ever came of it, he was enamoured with the housemaster’s daughter – so much so that upon his return to Alberta, he suggested they rename Brisebois ‘Fort Calgary’ and you know something? We’re glad he did because not only is that a much cooler story, it’s also just a little easier to spell.
Anyway – there you have it, folks.
From a fort to a town and then a town to a city, Calgary has since grown to the bustling metropolis that we all know and love now a vibrant nightlife, an insane pathway system and a name that doesn’t necessarily describe its geography – but captures its spirit, and that’s really what it’s all about.