Our History

Where Two Rivers Meet

Calgary is located on the traditional territories of the people of Treaty 7, including: the Blackfoot Confederacy, made up of the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations; the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, comprised of the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations; and the Tsuut’ina First Nation. The city of Calgary is also homeland to the historic Northwest Métis and to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. Many Indigenous names for the place we now call Calgary highlight the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers, where the two meet to flow as one. These names refer to the “elbow” shape of the confluence: the Blackfoot call Calgary Moh’kintstiss, the Stoney Nakoda use Wichispa, and the Tsuut’ina say Gut sis tsi. 

For thousands of years the confluence has been a hub of activity where cultures converge like the two rivers, a gathering place for healing ceremonies and trading among nations. Indigenous peoples have been the stewards of this place since time immemorial. The confluence was chosen by the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) as the site for a new fort, which opened in 1875. Though the NWMP post was originally called “Fort Brisebois” after its captain, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 after Calgary House, a castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. Calgary was incorporated as a town in 1884 and as a city in 1894. 


Today's Forest Lawn

The community of Forest Lawn is located in the southeast quadrant of Calgary, approximately 6 km east of downtown Calgary. It is close to the Bow River, the Western Irrigation District Canal, Elliston Park and major roadways like Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail. 

The 17 Avenue S.E. commercial district, known as International Avenue, is partially located within Forest Lawn. There are many businesses, shops and restaurants along International Avenue. Many of them sell goods and foods from around the world.

A look back in time

The line traced by 17 Avenue SE originated as a section line when this area was surveyed in 1883. Farmers acquired land in the plan area as homesteads or by purchase from the CPR. 

1910 - 1951
In the early 1900’s homesteaders settled in the area, establishing a community in the area. 

In 1911, the Chestermere Calgary Suburban Railway Co. proposed building an inter-urban railway line, presumably through the plan area. The project advanced as far as placement of trolley poles and stockpiling of railway ties, but the line was never built.

In 1913, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway line was constructed. Passenger service to Hubalta and Calgary stations began in 1914. 

Over the years, the hamlet of Forest Lawn developed and grew. It was located within and was administered by the Municipal District of Shepard No. 220. In 1934, the hamlets in the area were reorganized into the villages of Albert Park and Forest Lawn. 

In 1935, the villages of Albert Park and Forest Lawn were reorganized into the Village of Forest Lawn. 

1952 - 1960
To support the residents of Forest Lawn, the Forest Lawn Community Association was established in 1952. 

In 1953, Forest Lawn had grown even more and was incorporated as The Town of Forest Lawn. At the time of incorporation, the boundaries of the town were 26 Street S.E. to the west, 8 Avenue S.E. to the north, 52 Street S.E. to the east and 26 Avenue S.E. to the south.

Around 1960, the community hall was built. The lounge, large hall and small hall were spaces that were (and still are) rented for private events and community gatherings. There was also an outdoor skating rink that was enjoyed by residents in the winter. 

Over the years, the population of Forest Lawn grew. This attracted residents, businesses and industries alike. In December 1961, the Town of Forest Lawn officially became a part of the City of Calgary through annexation.