Building Community: An online tour of Historic Jewish Calgary

*** Please note, this page is brand new, and is still in beta-testing. Please contact us with any feedback***

Welcome to our Building Community Tour. This is a multi-faceted project honouring Canada’s sesquicentennial. Its creation was made possible by support from a Calgary Foundation and Government of Canada grant, and the hard work of volunteers and staff. Particular thanks go to Harry Sanders and Agi Romer Segal.

The online portion of this project includes PDF versions of our tours (coming soon) and the expanded Google maps tour below. This map includes a short walking tour, a long walking tour, and supplementary sites. Please explore this journey through our history by clicking on map pins to read the illustrated stories of the various sites. You may use this resource as a virtual tour on your computer,  load it on your phone/device and treat yourself to a self-guided walking tour, or refer to it if you happen to be in the area of one of our featured sites. If you would like to view the larger version of the map, please click on the icon of four corners in the upper right hand corner of the map below.

Introduction – Building the Calgary Jewish Community
Calgary’s Jewish community was founded and built in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. The first Jewish family to settle permanently in Calgary arrived in 1889. By 1951, the city had 2151 Jewish residents, or 1.6 per cent of the overall population. In the 1921 and 1941 census years, one in every 50 Calgarians was Jewish. During this period, all of the institutions and requirements of Jewish community life were established—synagogues, schools, a cemetery and burial society, cultural organizations, a community council, and the provision of kosher food. Like Calgary itself, the community was small and for the most part geographically concentrated before 1950. Jews engaged as fully as possible with the broader community through business, arts and culture, military service, politics, public school, and membership in service organizations. Like other Calgarians of diverse backgrounds, Jews have made notable contributions to city life. This tour focuses on buildings (and the sites of demolished or relocated buildings) that were important in Jewish community life or had memorable associations for Jewish people.

This project focuses on our history prior to 1950, and endeavors to be representative, rather than exhaustive. If you have corrections, or additional information, please contact us.

FAQ section – coming soon, please contact us with your questions.

Bibliography – Building Community Tour 1

Bibliography – Building Community Tour 2, Peripheral Sites and Excursions