In June of 1962, the Canadian Pacific Railway announced a proposal toredevelop part of its reserved land in the heart of downtown Calgary.In an effort to bolster its waning revenues and to redefine its urbanpresence, the CPR proposed a multimillion dollar development projectthat included retail, office, and convention facilities, along with amajor transportation centre. With visions of enhanced tax revenues,increased land values, and new investment opportunities,Calgaryâ??s political and business leaders greeted the proposalwith excitement. Over the following year, the scope of the projectexpanded, growing to a scale never before seen in Canada. The plan tookofficial form through an agreement between the City of Calgary and therailway company to develop a much larger area of land and to reroute orremove the railway tracks from the downtown areaâ??a grand designfor reshaping Calgaryâ??s urban core. In 1964, amid bickering and afailed negotiating process, the project came to an abrupt end. Whatcaused this promising partnership between the nationâ??s leadingcorporation and the burgeoning city of Calgary to collapse?
Max Foran is a Professor in the Faculty ofCommunication and History at the University of Calgary. He has writtenextensively on various western Canadian urban, rural, and culturaltopics, most recently on ranching, urban growth, and sustainability.