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If it’s one of your first visits to our city of Calgary, hopefully it won’t be your last!

Calgary is a city located in the province of Alberta in Canada, has an interesting history behind its name. The name “Calgary” has origins in Scotland, and it has a fascinating story of how it became the name for this bustling city in Canada. In this blog post, I will delve into the history and origins of the name “Calgary” and how it came to be.

The name “Calgary” is believed to have originated from a town in Scotland called “Calgary,” which is located on the Isle of Mull. The name “Calgary” is said to have come from the Gaelic words “calpa” and “ruaidh,” which mean “beach” and “red,” respectively. The town of Calgary in Scotland was known for its red sandstone cliffs that overlooked a beautiful beach, which is why the name “Calgary” was given to it.

So how did the name “Calgary” end up being used for a city in Canada? The story goes back to the mid-19th century when the area that is now Calgary was inhabited by Indigenous peoples, including the Blackfoot, Cree, and Stoney tribes. The first recorded European to visit the area was a Scottish explorer named John Palliser in 1857. He was so struck by the beauty of the area that he named it “Pile of Bones” due to the large number of animal bones he saw scattered around the area.

In 1873, a detachment of the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) arrived in the area to establish a fort to maintain law and order in the region. The fort was initially called Fort Brisebois, after the officer in charge, but was later renamed Fort Calgary in 1876. The reason for the name change is unclear, but it is believed that the name was chosen by Colonel James Macleod, who was the commanding officer of the NWMP at the time. It is said that Macleod chose the name Calgary as a nod to his Scottish heritage and to honor the town of Calgary in Scotland.

Over time, the area around Fort Calgary grew and developed into a town, which eventually became the city of Calgary. The name “Calgary” has become synonymous with the city and is a source of pride for the residents of the area. It is also a testament to the strong ties between Canada and Scotland, as well as a reminder of the rich history and culture of the Indigenous peoples who have called the area home for centuries.

The name “Calgary” has its origins in Scotland, specifically in the town of Calgary on the Isle of Mull. The name was brought to Canada by Colonel James Macleod, who named the fort he established in the area after the Scottish town. Over time, the name became associated with the city that grew around the fort, and it has become an integral part of the city’s identity and history.

It’s pretty awesome to see that the name “Calgary” is a reminder of the strong ties between Canada and Scotland and the rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited the area for centuries.

Hope you all enjoyed the read as we dive deep into this history and heritage of our beautiful city, Calgary!


Shane Wenzel

Shane is the President & CEO of the Shane Homes Group of Companies and the namesake. Shane's responsibilities include strategic direction for the companies, policy advice for the building industry through BILD Calgary, and political involvement through the Alberta Enterprise Group on the economy, making him an industry leader in his field. Shane's sales and marketing background comes from growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, Cal and Edith, and participating in a business advisory group. On the personal side, Shane considers himself a bit of a "tech junky" and social media influencer on various platforms. He's also proudly apart of the LGBTQ community.