alTOURnatives. The day Beltline residents took over Lougheed House
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alTOURnatives. The day Beltline residents took over Lougheed House

I live right next door. It’s in the middle of the city. It’s a beautiful neighbourhood. It’s very rare when I go for a walk and I
don’t run into people that I know. I think it could really be a heart of Calgary
in a lot of ways. Lougheed House is a national-provincial historic
site in the heart of the Beltline community in central Calgary. And today it serves as cultural hub. It’s a real kind of heart of the community. We are always interested in community engagement
at Lougheed House. So we started looking for different opportunities
to kind of connect with our neighbours and connect with people in the Beltline neighbourhood. We had a brainstorming meeting and we came
up with the idea of bringing in community members from the Beltline to develop their
own tours in the Lougheed House and present them to the public. We wanted to connect with people that represented
the neighbourhood. And we also were looking for people who had
stories to tell, so who had a connection to the Beltline. They let me into the Archives, which not a
lot of people get to go to. I think in my research I think I determined
through my grandmother and the Pearce family, chances are I’m less than four degrees of
separation away from Isabella. There was something there. I just felt like that was going to be a key
to me understanding something about my grandmother. It was a good place to start with getting
to know, like, the ladies of Calgary. The community tours were really an opportunity
for members of the Beltline community to access all that Lougheed House has to offer, but
also to respond to the history of the place in their own way, and make it accessible also
for other community members. So, these people came in and they researched
an aspect of the House’s history that related to them personally and delivered really unique
tours to community members. I think there’s a lot that can be strengthened
within the women’s histories. They’re not saying why these women are connected. They talked more about their husbands than
they did about the connections in between the women. I think it feels really good for me because,
while I am a trained art historian, a trained historian, I’m not the “be all and end all,”
I’m not the expert in everything and there’s a lot that I can learn from people and that
I can learn from the community. I know so much more about the Lougheeds than
I did. Their contribution to this province is immeasurable. They invested in this being a place where
you live. Today the House is not only a historic site,
but it really is a central gathering place. It’s a “connector” for the city, from our
past to our future. It’s the ideal opportunity, really, to explore
that legacy and how it relates to us today.

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