2015 - Lougheed House

Looking Back at 2015: The 10th Anniversary of the Opening of Lougheed House

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Lougheed House opened to the public as a historic site in April 2005. The long process to restore the House began in 1995 with the formation of the Lougheed House Conservation Society. The House fell into disrepair during the 1980s, and was in need of help to return it to its former condition. 2015 marked two milestones – the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the House to the public and the 20th Anniversary of the Lougheed House Conservation Society.

As we mark the end of 2015, we can look back at a few snapshots of the process that transformed Lougheed House into the Museum and Historic Site we know today! In 2016, we will be celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the construction of the House in 1891. Watch for further details soon on special of events, performances, workshops, talks and more to celebrate the 125th.

2004.6 Anaglypta Painting Sept (crop)All of the paint colours in the House are historically accurate. Many of the House’s details were carefully restored. The second floor’s lincrusta, shown here, has the same colours as the original.

crop 2003.8This photograph shows the House in 2003, just two years away from being ready to open to the public.
gardeners 2004.8Lougheed House’s Garden volunteers are vital to keeping the grounds looking their best. The 2004 Garden team helped plant heritage perennials that were donated by Calgary’s gardeners.
Opening Gala event 1 cropThe House kicked off its opening with a Housewarming Ball, one that aimed to commemorate a ball given by the Lougheeds in 1892.
Opening Gala 3 cropBoard Member Ron Robertson and past Executive Director Trudy Cowan at the Housewarming Ball with two actors portraying Lady Isabella Lougheed and Sir James Lougheed.

Christmas Gala 2015: Music and Festive Cheer Filled the House

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This year’s Lougheed Christmas Gala brought together House supporters, volunteers, community members and a few new faces! The evening’s entertainment was kicked off by local raconteur Steven Methot, who will be performing at the House Dec. 3rd and 9th. Tickets are still available for the Dec. 9th performance. Calgary Opera Emerging Artists Laura McLean and Evan Mounce provided musical entertainment and the Rick Climans Jazz Duo closed the evening. The silent auction was busy with activity and the House is thankful for all of the support received from the community. Take a look at some of the highlights of the evening.

steven methot 2Steven Methot performs a sneak peek of his solo performance of A Christmas Carol.
Michelle Kay_Mary LougheedMichelle Htun-Kay and Mary Lougheed enjoying the evening.
calgary operaCalgary Opera Emerging Artists Evan Mounce and Laura McLean
Mynt Dance Productions
Paula Callihoo, Karen Iwanski and Vanessa De Freitas of Mynt Dance Productions/Dance Through Life.
Pat Cross_Lynn MasonLynn Mason and dedicated Lougheed House volunteer Pat Cross.

Natalie Brierley _Wanda Weston

Calgary Design Group members Natalie Brierley and Wanda Weston. The Calgary Design Group donates their time each year to decorate the House.
KerriThe Restaurant at Lougheed House Proprietor Kerri Murray enjoying the decor. The Restaurant generously provided food and drink for the evening.
Karen Simens_Christie Vanderloh
Karen Simens and Christie Vanderloh in amazing handmade costumes.
Ana Coe_Beau Lark_Beatrice Lark
Lougheed House neighbors Ana Coe, Beau Lark and Beatrice Lark.
rick climans duoThe Rick Climans Jazz Duo filling the House with festive music.
The silent auction included many great items donated from local organizations and businesses. All proceeds go towards supporting Lougheed House School Programs.


New Exhibit “Proudly They Served: Canadian Women’s Army Corps in WWII”

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On October 23rd, we were honoured to perform a flag raising ceremony with Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) Veterans and members of the 15 Field Ambulance of the Canadian Armed Forces. Every year Lougheed House’s Royal Union Flag, a flag symbolic of Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth, needs to be replaced. The flag raising ceremony was an fitting way to start the Opening Reception for our new exhibit, “Proudly They Served: Canadian Women’s Army Corps in WWII”.

_DSC0928CWAC Veteran Rose Wilkinson accepting the Royal Union Flag from Lt. Mary MacDonald of the 15 Field Ambulance.
_DSC0929Lt. Mary MacDonald and Capt. LeAnn Reid of the 15 Field Ambulance of the Canadian Army placing the new Royal Union Flag on the post.

Lougheed House’s ties to CWAC are strong. Lougheed House acted as CWAC barracks from 1942-46. Lougheed House’s new exhibition explores the lives of women who served in WWII in Alberta. The exhibit includes oral histories in the audio tour component of the exhibit from women who served as switchboard operators, cipher decoders, drivers, cooks and clerks. For the first time in Canadian history, women fulfilling non-combatant duties were officially part of the Canadian Army.

_DSC0951Honourable Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, with CWAC Veteran Rose Wilkinson and her daughter, and Lougheed House Curator Trisha Carleton.
_DSC0961Hon. Kathleen Ganley with Lt. Mary MacDonald , Capt. LeAnn Reid,  and Lougheed House Executive Director Kirstin Evenden.
_DSC0968Stop by the House and imagine yourself in the shoes of a CWAC member, like these visitors.

If you missed the Opening Reception, you can still meet a CWAC Veteran. Join us on Nov. 9th from 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm for a Tea and Talk with CWAC Veteran Rose Wilkinson.The talk will be led by Lougheed House Curator Trisha Carleton and light refreshments will be provided. Rose Wilkinson volunteers extensively, performs speaking engagements, and was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation in 2015.

Contact Adrienne Leicht at 403 244-6333 ext. 106 or email aleicht@lougheedhouse.com to purchase tickets.

Sand Painting the House: A Historic Process

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Older buildings require a lot of care and attention, especially here in Calgary with long winters and summer hail storms. This Fall, work is progressing to repair and restore the sand painting on the exterior of Lougheed House as it had become cracked and damaged over time. The Lougheed House is built partly from sandstone and partly from wood coated in “sanded paint”.

Sanded paint is a decorative finish which was used on building from the late 18th Century and through the 19th Century to give the appearance of stone, usually sandstone (Leake, 1991).  For buildings, and parts of buildings, made of wood, this coating would make them look like they were built from stone, and give added durability to the paint.

The technique of sand painting historically involved applying wet paint to the exterior of the building and then throwing sand or blowing it on to the wall with bellows.  Today, air compressors are used.

damage to railings 1


The first stage of this work at Lougheed House involved removing the old sand paint from areas that were damaged, and then filling any cracks in the wood beneath and replacing the old caulking.  In some places on the building, water had got in through the damaged paint and made the wood beneath damp.  This damp wood had to be allowed to dry out before anything new could be applied.  Next the wood was coated in a primer, and when that was dry it was ready to sand paint.

damp wood drying out

The colour of the new paint has been carefully matched to the old paint so any repairs will blend in seamlessly to the older paint. Next time you pass by the House, take a look at this historic technique in action!


Leeke, J.  1991.  “Sanded Paint” in Old House Journal  May/June 1991 p. 32-36.

Daring Deco at the Lougheed House Museum Shop

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Be sure to stop by the Lougheed House Museum Shop to browse some of our beautiful 1920s pieces. Audra Stripling, Lougheed House Costumer and Museum Shop Supervisor, has curated a unique collection of vintage treasures.

Daring Deco Gift Shop

Daring Deco Blog

In the 1920’s images of beautiful young flappers were used to adorn objects such as chocolate boxes. Their images were also featured on promotional calendars for small businesses.

The gift shop also carries fashion accessories and jewelry, as well as art deco home décor items. If you are looking for the perfect accessory to compliment your 1920s outfit for our upcoming Daring Deco 1920s Fashion Show on Sept. 11th, then look no further! In need of vintage apparel for the show? Your ticket includes a 15% discount at A Vintage Affair (638 11 Ave SW). Simply bring in your ticket purchase confirmation email!

2015 AGM and Daring Deco Opening

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It has been a great start to the summer! We announced our 2015 – 2017 Strategic Plan, as well as celebrated the opening of current exhibit, “Daring Deco: 1920s Women’s Fashion”, at the 2015 AGM in June. The Lougheed House Conservation Society honored the 20 years since its formation and the dedication of its volunteers, board members, staff, and the community.

Missed this opportunity to celebrate with us in 1920s style? Join us for a 1920s historic Fashion Show on Sept. 11th! Click here for details. See some of the highlights from the AGM and Opening Reception, and get inspired to don your best 1920s look at the Show!

_DSC0491Gerry Meek, Board Chair, introducing the AGM Agenda.
Christine Pinkney and Alex RangerGuests Christine Pinkney and Alex Ranger dressed to the nines in 1920s clothing.
Natalie Von Raven and Barb SpearsBarb Speers and Natalie Von Raven wore glam accessories to compliment their 1920s look.
_DSC0522We encouraged members of the community to share their thoughts and favorite memories about Lougheed House.


IMG_0741A champagne toast celebrated the 20 year anniversary of the Lougheed House Conservation Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and public enjoyment of Lougheed House.
_DSC0541Trudy Cowan and Ron Robertson reflected on their 20-year involvement at the House; Cowan as a former Executive Director and Robertson as a board member.
Karl and Pat Hansen Evelyn Middleton Chris GrahamDedicated tour guide volunteer Pat Hansen, center, received the Volunteer of the Year Award, pictured here with family and friends.
_DSC0528Cynthia Klaassen, President of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, and Trisha Carleton, Lougheed House Curator.

Behind the Scenes: Daring Deco Exhibit

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Curator Trisha Carleton adjusting a mount.

Our staff has been busy preparing for Daring Deco: 1920s Women’s Fashion, opening to the public on June 24th. On June 25th, join us for the Opening Reception. With the arrival of fashion items from the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Curator Trisha Carleton and summer staff Adrienne Dewsberry and Charlotte Le Gallais have put together mounts and prepped dresses for display. The process requires a delicate touch and concentration to ensure a good fit onto the mount and to protect the artifact from any wear or damage.

_DSC0502Summer staff  Adrienne Dewsberry and Charlotte Le Gallais unpacking a dress.

See our event page for more information about our summer exhibit, Daring Deco: 1920s Women’s Fashion.

_DSC0506The fitting of a 1929 blue silk dress that belonged to Beatrice Parlby.
_DSC0514A green flapper dress in silk crepe and voided velvet being adjusted.

Behind the Scenes: Derek Beaulieu’s Residency

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Derek Beaulieu is now past the half-way mark into the first-ever artistic residency at Lougheed House. Every Friday since the start of May, Derek has been working on his craft of visual poetry and interacting with the public at Lougheed House. You can most often find him in the Senator’s Study, on the main floor. The residency has given Derek a chance to work in a quiet space with a dedicated block of time. Read more about his dry-transfer lettering technique, the benefits of space for artists, and what he would do if he could go back to the time of the Lougheeds!

_DSC0486Derek Beaulieu working in the Senator’s Study.

Q: What inspires you to create visual poetry?

DB: I’m inspired by the street-signs and logos that we all see on our daily commutes – the way that language and letters are being used creatively to make us stop, look and remember. I love the way a good logo provides an “a-ha” moment, a moment of recognition and surprise — and I strive to have that same effect in my writing.

Q: Could you describe your creative process?

DB: The work I have been making at the Lougheed House is made exclusively with dry-transfer lettering (best known under the trademark of “Letraset”), rub-down letters which permanently stick to surfaces. This plastic lettering was made from the 1960s to 1980s and became obsolete with the advent of personal computers. I usually create my work without a plan or a sketch – I place a few letters and consider how adjacent letters will create a visually-intriguing tension or playful moment of juxtaposition. I make it up as I go along, treading a tight-wire as once each letter is placed, it can not be moved or replaced. It prioritizes a sense of poetic instinct.

_DSC0491A page of Letraset letters and a work in progress.

Q: How has Lougheed House or its history inspired your work?

DB: What I find so exciting about working in the Lougheed House is the opportunity to represent Calgary’s vibrant arts community in places where it doesn’t normally reside. There have been a number of conversations that I’ve had with people attending lunch or a tour of the House who have stopped and talked about poetry and poetics, about Calgarian arts and to learn more about the position of Poet Laureate. Its been a great opportunity — not to mention the opportunity to focus on my own craft once a week in a house which has seen so much change over the last 124 years.

Q: Why is it important to have residencies and spaces for local artists?

DB: An arts practice requires time, dedication, inspiration and hard work. It also requires physical space—the room—dedicated to one’s art. Like many artists I wear several hats in order to pay the bills and dedicate time to fostering community and my own practice. And, of course, I am also a husband and dad. All those roles mean that our apartment is an active hub, with teenage homework, with dinner on the go and with growing stacks of books. Across Calgary studio space is at a premium. Rental rates are notoriously high and vacancy rates are oppressively low. One small room is all it took. This residency might not sound like much, but it has made all the difference. I encourage artists and corporations across Calgary to seek out new ways to collaborate, new ways to enable and facilitate the arts in the city. Even the smallest of gestures, the smallest of spaces, creates discussions that we won’t even see coming.

Q: If you could go back in time and live life as one of the Lougheeds (who lived at the House), who would you choose and why? 

DB: I don’t know that I would isolate a single family member, but I would love to have been in the conversations related to the building of the Lougheed Building downtown and the establishment of the Grand Theatre – such a wonderfully evocative space (and now so lovingly transformed) which presented so many exciting musical and theatrical acts, not to mention films and serials. The conversations that have occurred in the rooms of the Lougheed House stretched throughout Calgary’s, Alberta’s and Canada’s history – and the arts have been a part of that conversation since the beginning.


Visit Derek Beaulieu at Lougheed House every Friday from 11 am – 4 pm until the end of June. 


Derek Beaulieu is an instructor at both the Alberta College of Art + Design and Mount Royal University, edits a small press dedicated to experimental poetry and serves on a number of committees and programs that focus on the fostering of Calgary’s arts scene. In addition to all of these roles, he is also Calgary’s Poet Laureate. As Poet Laureate—a position supported by the generous donations of the Calgary Foundation, the Calgary Chamber, First Calgary Financial, FirstEnergy Capital, Transcanada and one anonymous donor—his mandate is to support the growth, exposure and discussion of the literary arts across Calgary. 

Then & Now: 10 Years Open to the Public

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Lougheed House opened to the public fully restored on May 1st, 2005. The Gardens were also beautifully recreated in 2005 by a team of volunteers. A Garden Party celebrated the hard work of restoration workers, volunteers and the Lougheed House Conservation Society. The celebration echoed the garden parties held by Lady Lougheed herself.

Celebrate our 10th Anniversary by joining us for Four Dollar Friday May 1st, 2015! Enjoy $4 admission to the House and $4 wine at The Restaurant. Costumed interpreters will be available from 11:30 a.m. until closing. To make a reservation at The Restaurant, please call (403) 410-9288. Reservations are recommended. The House is open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Untitled design (43)

A garden party at Lougheed House in the early 1900s and the Garden Party opening in 2005.

Ten Interesting Facts About the Restoration of Lougheed House:

1. The House was restored as a teaching tool, with multiple “windows” installed revealing what the old coverings, wiring, plumbing and construction looked like.

2. All of the paint colors are historically accurate, along with the finishes on the woodwork.

3. A forth generation blacksmith originally from France recreated the iron work on the roof.

4. Historical artifacts were found during the restoration process, including an invitation to a 1892 fashion show, a WWII military dance ticket and Red Cross bandages.

5. A time capsule made by restoration workers with signatures and mementos in 2004 was placed in a post on the second level balustrade.

6. Lougheed House Archives were created to give students, scholars and interested visitors access to background information, photographs and documents.

7. Decisions about the flowers and shrubbery in the Gardens was once made by Lady Lougheed, but now it is made by the Society’s head gardener who leads a team of volunteers.

8. Staff and volunteers helped create period-specific garments for the interpreters to wear in order to fully immerse visitors in the building’s past.

9. Many of the Garden’s heritage perennials were donated by Calgary’s gardeners.

10. Some of the original House furnishings were returned from the 1938 auction that sold the contents of the home to the highest bidder. Many of these items came from donors who had enjoyed them for many years, and they required conservation work.



Your Town is Our Town Exhibit Opening

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The Lougheed House Gallery was packed yet again for the Opening Reception of our new exhibit “Your Town is Our Town” on March 27th. We thank everyone for coming out to support the exhibit and The Restaurant team for catering the evening. Take a look at some of the highlights!



Photographers Todd Korol, Brent Mykytyshyn, Heather Saitz joined Exhibit Curator Shelley Youngblut and Exhibit Designer Danae Thompson in celebrating the evening.


Lougheed House Conservation Society Vice Chair Joe Novak opened the evening with his remarks.


Executive Director Kirstin Evenden introduced Exhibit Curator Shelley Youngblut.


Exhibit Curator Shelley Youngblut explained the hard work involved in selecting the photographs.


Guests admiring the exhibit pieces.


Photographer Kerianne Sproule with her exhibit piece.


Thanks to everyone who made it out for giving us another full house!


Trisha and Annette

Lougheed House Curator Trisha Carleton and Gallery Manager Annette Scott were the behind-the-scenes wizards that helped make the exhibit magic happen.


We have year round exhibits and free events.

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