The McKay sisters return to their 125-year history in Parkdale

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Lynne and Jan McKay
Great granddaughters of Alfred Sidney McKay (1860-1940)
Granddaughters of Alfred Edward McKay (1890 -1950)
Daughters of Robert (Mac) Alfred McKay  -Dad-  (1920- 2015)

The Mckay’s – Jan (Chaloner) and Lynne returned to their roots in Parkdale for a short, but rewarding visit last summer. The sisters are the great granddaughters to Alfred Sidney McKay, the founder of Parkdale.

The brick home at 134 – 37 Street has a special meaning for them. The home was grand in its day, with a full 610 square feet on each of 2 floors. Their father Robert (Mac) Alfred McKay was born there on October 26, 1920.

Back then home births were the norm. The road in front of the house was dirt and looked across to Great Granddad’s magnificent sandstone home. Of course the prevailing westerly winds blew dirt into the house. Baths were taken once a week in the same cast iron bathtub that exists today.

The sisters can imagine their dad touching the same bedroom doors and glass doorknobs that are well restored, as well as the hardwood floors he played on. They imagined the outdoor plumbing (outhouse) was cold in the winter.

Times were different back then.  During tea and cookies with the present day owners many stories were discussed and memories came alive. A perfect afternoon, what a feeling…

The current house owners, Darcy and Donna Morgan, renovated the house from top to bottom including an updated addition. They paid the utmost respect to the heritage of the house and kept much of the character. The house continues to have a great presence and peaceful atmosphere that radiates warmth and happiness.

Back in 1912, five brick houses were built on 37 Street as a parade of show homes to introduce Parkdale to Calgary. They were located just up the road from the new Calgary tramline that had a turnaround at 37 Street and Memorial Drive (3rd Ave).

The remaining four homes today are still a showcase that leaves you in awe. It was back in 1891, or 125 years ago, that Alfred Sidney McKay owned the land we now call Parkdale. Point McKay was named after this area pioneer, as his sandstone homestead on 1st Avenue, just west of 37 Street, still exists as part of the Point McKay Townhome complex.

More Parkdale history details can be found  on the Parkdale Timeline on the PCA Website.

Submitted by Parkdale’s Resident Historian – Marcel Hebert

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