May 3, 2016
Excuse me, is this the way to Thirsk Street?
The next time you find yourself out for a walk take a moment to notice the street you are on. Behind the white letters and metallic green of the sign is a story, and this story starts with 13 individuals who played a significant role in shaping the University of Calgary.
In a city milestone years in the making, and as part of the university’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, creators of the urban northwest community of University District officially unveiled McLaurin Street, Friley Street, Kovitz Avenue, Lebel Crescent, Norford Avenue, Palmer Avenue, Smith Street, McCaig Street, Perraton Avenue, Warren Street, Cuthbertson Street, Dinning Street and Thirsk Street.
These streets will serve as a reminder of the contributions that these 13 current and former chancellors made to the University of Calgary.
Above, current Chancellor Robert Thirsk, left, and James Robertson, president and CEO of West Campus Development Trust, present a street sign to his Honour Doug Mitchell on behalf of C. Campbell McLaurin, the university's first chancellor (1966 – 1970).
Streets a reminder of chancellors' contributions
“I am so pleased to see the contributions of all of our chancellors honoured and celebrated in this very special way,” says President and Vice-chancellor Elizabeth Cannon. “They have been an integral part of this vibrant, energetic city for more than five decades and to see a permanent nod to the university’s rich history makes me proud.”
The street naming concept was received warmly by current and former chancellors including former Canadian Space Agency astronaut and current chancellor Dr. Robert Thirsk.
“It is truly an honour to be recognized along with former university chancellors, and their families,” says Thirsk. "I’m delighted Thirsk Street will intersect with so many names that I’ve looked up to and admired over the years, including Chancellor Muriel Kovitz who presided over my undergraduate convocation ceremony back in 1976."
For former chancellor Ann McCaig, who held the position from 1994 to 1998, the moment was a bit surreal.
“When I first saw my sign I thought ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ That street is going be there forever and I hope I’ve lived up to what that naming of the street means because it means so much to my family.”
Naming part of a unique community design for Calgary
Street names are just one part of the unique community design that will be a first for Calgary.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the occasion, pay tribute to the legacy of the university’s chancellors, and look forward to the exciting future of the community,” says James Robertson, West Campus Development Trust (WCDT) president and CEO. “Each chancellors’ story is an incredible testament to the achievement that is possible with vision, dedication and collaboration."
The chancellors include Dr.C. Campbell McLaurin (1966 – 1970), Dr. William A. Friley (1970 – 1974), Dr. Muriel Kovitz (1974 – 1978), Dr. Louis Lebel (1978 – 1982), Dr.Brian Norford (1982 – 1986), Dr. James S. Palmer (1986 – 1990), Dr. David B. Smith (1990 – 1994), Dr. M. Ann McCaig (1994 – 1998), Dr. J. Jack Perraton (1998 – 2002), Dr. William J. Warren (2002 – 2006), Dr. Joanne Cuthbertson (2006 – 2010), Dr. Jim Dinning (2010 – 2014), and Dr. Robert Thirsk (2014 – present).
The West Campus Development Trust first of its kind in Alberta
The independent WCDT was created by the University of Calgary’s board of governors to lead the planning and development of the west campus lands — about 184 acres immediately west of the University of Calgary campus, bounded by 32nd Avenue, Shaganappi Trail and 16th Avenue N.W. The area incorporates the majority of the land west of the Olympic Oval.
The WCDT is the first real estate development company of its kind in Alberta. It is building a master-planned, landmark community for the University of Calgary that will be sustainable and vibrant with homes, businesses, amenities and open space for Calgarians to enjoy — enhancing the university experience while harmonizing with surrounding communities.
Learn more about the development on the WCDT website