Here's where to see Irish history in Calgary this St. Patrick's Day

Elveden Centre, a three-tower office complex, was one of Calgary’s early skyscrapers. One of its towers is named Guinness House.  (Tom Ross/CBC - image credit)
Elveden Centre, a three-tower office complex, was one of Calgary’s early skyscrapers. One of its towers is named Guinness House. (Tom Ross/CBC - image credit)

St. Patrick's Day is being celebrated Friday in Calgary — as what started as a celebration of Ireland's foremost patron saint has turned into a universal party.

To celebrate, check out these historic Irish spots in Calgary.

Submitted by Heritage Park
Submitted by Heritage Park

Livingston House and Glenmore Reservoir 

The home of Sam Livingston, who came to Canada from Ireland and is considered one of Calgary's earliest settlers, can be found at Heritage Park in the city's southwest.

Heritage Park's website says Livingston was a farmer who was once contracted to supply fresh meat to the North West Mounted Police at Fort Calgary.

Livingston died in 1897 and his land was eventually bought in 1930 by the City of Calgary, according to Heritage Park.

Mount Royal University associate professor Michele Holmgren, who teaches Canadian and Irish literature and is the past-president of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies, said Livingston also inspired the name of the Glenmore Reservoir.

The name Glenmore comes from an area in Ireland near where Livingston lived.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Elveden Centre

This three-tower office building was one of Calgary's early skyscrapers, in the 1960s, and it's still considered an architectural treasure, Holmgren said.

A subsidiary company owned by the Guinness family — the family who started the Guinness Brewery — founded that building.

"You don't go broke selling beer to people.… They were able to expand and have this huge business empire and have economic interests all over the world, including investment in skyscrapers for Calgary during one of their early business booms," Holmgren said.

The first two towers, Elveden and Iveagh, are still named after properties associated with the Guinness family. The third tower is called Guinness House.

Tom Ross/CBC
Tom Ross/CBC

Nellie McClung statue 

Nellie McClung, one of the Famous Five, has a statue dedicated to her at Olympic Plaza.

Before 1929, women were not considered persons in the eyes of the Canadian government. It took the Privy Council of Great Britain to expand the definition, against the will of the Canadian government at the time.

And it was five women, including McClung, representing many more people in the struggle for gender quality, who pushed it forward.

"She's a hyphenated Canadian, Irish-Canadian, and I think very proud of her Irish heritage," Holmgren said.

McClung wrote about the women's suffrage movement to help women get the right to vote.

However, Indigenous people did not get the right to vote federally until 1960.

Submitted by Paul Worby
Submitted by Paul Worby

The Unicorn 

Paul Worby, general manager of The Unicorn pub, said the downtown establishment was originally owned by the Irish Rovers and named after their most famou song, The Unicorn.

The Irish Rovers opened The Unicorn in Calgary in 1979, Worby said.

"We took our first dollars in on June 19th, 1979. They sold it sometime in the early '90s," he said.

The pub remained in its original location at the Lancaster Building until La Maison Simons department store took over in 2015.

The pub moved across the street and is now at 223 Eighth Ave. S.W.