Calgary Tower Playing "Peek A Boo"

By Richard White, 

While the Calgary Tower is no longer the tallest building in Calgary or the tallest in Western Canada, which it once was, it is still a part of the Calgary psyche and is very much a part of our urban sense of place.  

However, if you take into account that Calgary is 1,048 meter above sea level, the Calgary Tower has the highest 360 degree observation deck above sea level in the WORLD! Don't believe me check out their website: Calgary Tower

Peek A Boo

While searching for a specific  photo in my hopelessly organized collection of over 15,000 images, I began to notice I had a lot of photos of the Calgary Tower.  I began to move them to my desktop to see what they might look like as a collection.  After studying them for awhile, I thought this collection of glimpses of the Tower from the streets of downtown to be the most interesting. 


Calgary Tower History

The Calgary Tower was originally conceived by Marathon Realty to celebrate Canada's Centennial in 1967.  The original cost was $3.5 million (approximately $24 million in today dollars) and at 191 m it was the tallest structure west of Toronto.  It was the tallest structure of its type in North America and was the first observation tower in Canada - CN Tower wasn't built until 1976.

The tower was designed by Calgary based architects  W.G. Milne and A. Dale and Associates. The concrete base was an "amazing feat of technology and physical workmanship at the time" as it required a 24 day continual pour of concrete i.e.24 hours a day for 24 days. 

Originally it as named the Husky Tower, after one of Marathon Realty's sister companies which were all part of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)  conglomeration. CPR once owned all the land along the CPR tracks in Calgary as part of the 25,000,000 acres of land they were granted by the government of Canada to build a trans-continental railway for Canada. 

It was sold and renamed the Calgary Tower in 1971.


Calgary Tower Carillon

In 1975, the Calgary Dutch community donated a carillon to be installed in the Calgary Tower to celebrate the City of Calgary's Centennial. 

A carillon is a unique keyboard instrument that, when played, sends bell voices soaring from the tops of towers. Every day at noon, the electronic carillon in the Calgary Tower plays music that can be heard throughout downtown Calgary.

Did you know?

The original cost to ride the elevator up the Calgary Tower was $1 for adults and 50 cents for children.

That it takes 762 steps to climb the Calgary Tower.

That the restaurant revolves every 45 minutes during the day and 60 minutes at night

That the natural-gas cauldron on the top of the tower was donated by Canada Western Natural Gas as a gift to the 1988 Winter Olympics.

That the Calgary Tower weighs 10,900 tons.

In 2005, a glass floor was added so you can look down on the downtown, as well as out to the Rockies and prairies. 


I hope that you have enjoyed this Calgary Tower photography exhibition as much as I have putting it together. 

I love the way the tower interacts with the early 21st century office tower architecture (Palliser South and Bow Tower), the mid-20th century architecture (Palliser Parkade and PanCanadian office tower) and the early 20th century architecture of the Palliser Hotel, the Hudson Bay Company department store, Memorial Park Library and the churches. 

Everybody loves to see the Calgary Tower poking its head out amongst the other towers.