Calgary is often noted for its spirit — entrepreneurial, adventurous, community-minded. And it springs directly from our city’s founders. Naming a new, innovative community for one of the brightest among them seemed obvious to us — we chose to honour Sam Livingston for his contribution to our city, which lives on in big and small ways, even today.
- He embodied the pioneering spirit. Livingston came to Calgary by way of California, Fort Edmonton, and Jumping Pound, where he prospected for gold, ran a fur-trade post, and travelled. Along with John Glenn, he founded one of the first farms in the Calgary area in 1876. But he never gave up on prospecting, and in 1894, he struck gold near Medicine Hat.
He was an innovator. As a successful farmer, Livingston brought new breeds, crops, and technology to the Calgary area. He was the first to bring mechanized farm equipment to the area. He imported fruit trees from Minnesota and established one of the first orchards. Perhaps most significantly, some credit him with being the first to raise cattle.
He understood community. Once he settled in Calgary, Livingston became a fixture in the burgeoning community. His bright kerchief, untamed beard and fringed buckskin jacket were well known to everyone. His thriving farm was held up as an example by the federal government, who wanted to inspire settlers to move to the area.
He brought people together. Livingston was a founding member of the Alberta Settler’s Rights Association, which worked to give local settlers (who were technically squatters) legal title to their land. He and his wife founded a school on their farm, Glenmore School, primarily to educate their 14 children, and Livingston served as one of the first school trustees. When he died suddenly in 1897, his funeral procession was 40 carriages long.
Today, part of the Livingston house stands at Heritage Park Historical Village, and his legacy lives on in various ways — the Glenmore Reservoir, for instance, is named after the school that stood on his farm. The new community of Livingston is just one more way we keep his memory — and community spirit — with us.