Virtually Explore Calgary’s Literary Scene

Hi there, it’s been a while!

I have been a bit behind with my posting because (1) I’ve been very busy with work; and (2) it’s super nice outside, which you have to take advantage of in this city where it could blizzard at any second!

I needed to take time out of my sunny weather schedule to highlight a very cool new digital literary map made by Shaun Hunter, 2020 Historian in Residence for Heritage Calgary.

This map is so easy to use and fun to explore! Hunter explains that “each pin [on the map] tells the story of a literary connection to a specific site in the city”. There are more than 500 pins. Who knew Calgary had so many literary sites?

Exploring these pins has given me lots of new ideas for my TBR list and inspired me to go check out some of these sites in person. Here is a very brief list of some of my favourite sites. Leave me your favourite sites in the comments so I can continue to explore!

1. Weeds Café

Weeds Café is in my neck of the woods, so it seemed like a great place to start. I learned from the map that it was featured in Rae Spoon’s 2012 autobiographical novel First Spring Fire Water.

2. Anderson Apartments

Image from Calgary’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources

This is one of my favourite historical landmarks in Calgary. It is used all the time for filming movies. Including Fargo!

Apparently, in 1912 the apartment block made a cameo in Eileen Coughlan’s Calgary mystery novel Dying by Degrees.

You can read more about the Anderson Apartments on the City of Calgary’s Heritage Planning website.

3. Norman Block

Image from City’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources (see link below)

The Norman Block was built in 1904 and was once the Lyric Theatre, a vaudeville stage. Marina Endicott features the Vaudeville era in her 2012 novel The Little Shadows.

I loved The Little Shadows when it came out but the entry in the literary map was unclear about whether the theatre is specifically featured in the book or just the vaudeville era generally. Since it has been a while I can’t remember either! I may need to do a re-read and find out.

More on the Norman Block can be found here.

4. Central Memorial Park Library

Central Memorial Park Library (1910), c1930-37 photo, Glenbow Archives nd-24-88

This is my favourite library in the city for many reasons. It’s beautiful, tends to be a bit quieter than other libraries and Wordfest events take place on the second floor!

The map uses stars to show significant places (or so I gather) and the Central Memorial Park Library has 6 stars!!! I’ll leave it to you to figure out what each star says.

For more on the building see here.

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