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

3 thoughts on “The McKay sisters return to their 125-year history in Parkdale

  1. The cinema park drive in was not built on the McKay farm, which existed on the site many years before. In the years just before the cinema park opened. On the site was a small horse ranch/riding academy. I boarded my horse there. It was run by a married couple, the Squares. The house and barn were located just north of where the screen was constructed.
    Notice the island in the Bow just south of the cinema park:This is where I spent a lot of time playing in my preteen years.

    1. Interesting you say the Cinema was not on his farm. He owned a 1/4 section.
      Email me and I can send you his land holdings.
      Do you have any old pictures?
      Tks
      Marcel Hebert (I live on 37 street)
      Hebertm@shaw.ca

      1. Hi Marcel,
        I used to live on 34th, and my father was the first owner of Parkdale Food Store. We were one of the first families to move into the new development.
        I suspect that the McKays owned and rented out the plot on which the Squares lived and ran their horse business.
        I recall one photo taken on the site, but it shows little other than my horse and me.
        John Pinel

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