Calgary as you've never heard it

It was a time when Killarney was Prairie, Elbow Drive was a cattle trail and Stephen Avenue was the city’s main drag: Listen to these short audio files and you'll never look at Calgary the same way again.

From our archives: the grandfather of Calgary historians weighs in on our city’s incredible past

An early photo of Jack Peach with CBC (Vancouver) affiliate CBR where he served as station announcer circa 1943. (Seffans-Colmer/

This story was originally published Dec. 26, 2015

Jack Peach was born in Calgary in 1913 and died here in 1993. (

Interested a little historical gold?

Well, we've hit the motherlode.

While digging around in our archives, we here at Calgary at a Crossroads ran across a treasure trove of audio recordings: Jack Peach's Calgary.

The grandfather of Calgary historians made several dozen recordings that ran on CBC's Calgary Eyeopener in the 1970s.

Peach, who was born in Calgary in 1913 and died here in 1993, wrote many historical books on the city and its institutions, as well as a column in the Calgary Herald. 

The home of Harold L. Downey, circa 1910, was one of the first stately homes along what is now Elbow Drive. (Glenbow Museum photo archives)
Early residents in Calgary

What makes these broadcasts so special are Peach's voice and the wealth of personal anecdote, which brings our city's history to life.

To understand who we are as Calgarians today, we need to understand who we were, and how our city developed its unique character. Peach's recordings do just that.

The construction of the Alberta Hotel on Eighth Avenue, better known as Stephen Avenue, circa 1888. (Glenblow Museum photo archives)
A look at Eighth Avenue

Peach had a way about him — a kind of presentation or way of speaking that has itself become history. 

As Calgary expanded in 1911, so did its street car service (all the way to Crescent Heights). (Glenbow Museum photo archives)
Calgary in the '20s

It's the kind of Calgary voice you imagine coming out of an old wooden radio powered by vacuum tubes. When the rumble of street cars was part of our city's symphony.

Calgary at a Crossroads is CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn, a look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads