Pictures from a literary Jane's Walk

by Shaun Hunter


Here are a few photos from Writing the City, the literary Jane's Walk I led in Calgary on May 1, 2015. Thanks to Blair Carbert and Jane's Walk organizer Julie Black for the photographs.

Central Memorial Park: important literary ground. Calgary painter, architect and poet Maxwell Bates (1906-1980) grew up a few blocks from here and spent hours in this park and what we now call the Memorial Park Library. His family friend, the poet P. K. Page (1916-2010) also haunted the stacks at this library as a young girl. 

Central Memorial Park: important literary ground. Calgary painter, architect and poet Maxwell Bates (1906-1980) grew up a few blocks from here and spent hours in this park and what we now call the Memorial Park Library. His family friend, the poet P. K. Page (1916-2010) also haunted the stacks at this library as a young girl. 

Calgary writers Joan Dixon, Barb Howard and Aritha van Herk

Calgary writers Joan Dixon, Barb Howard and Aritha van Herk

Central Memorial Park: the crowd listens to the Calgary poems of Maxwell Bates and Lisa L. Moore, a Calgary native now living and teaching in Austin TX. One of Moore's Calgary poems is called "Cold Garden," the Old Norse words for Calgary Bay on Colonel James Macleod's ancestral homeland on the Isle of Mull.

Central Memorial Park: the crowd listens to the Calgary poems of Maxwell Bates and Lisa L. Moore, a Calgary native now living and teaching in Austin TX. One of Moore's Calgary poems is called "Cold Garden," the Old Norse words for Calgary Bay on Colonel James Macleod's ancestral homeland on the Isle of Mull.

On the 5th Street underpass: John Snow's "Near Bragg Creek." Snow's house in Lower Mt. Royal (915-18th Ave SW) is part of Calgary's literary history. Several U of C writers-in-residence have lived at the Snow House, including Timothy Findley, Michael Ondaatje and Alberta's own, Robert Kroetsch (1927-2011).

On the 5th Street underpass: John Snow's "Near Bragg Creek." Snow's house in Lower Mt. Royal (915-18th Ave SW) is part of Calgary's literary history. Several U of C writers-in-residence have lived at the Snow House, including Timothy Findley, Michael Ondaatje and Alberta's own, Robert Kroetsch (1927-2011).

Beside the old Glenbow Museum: Robert Kroetsch's 1983 novel, Alibi has a deep connection to the city. Glenbow founder Eric Harvie was the inspiration for Kroetsch's millionaire oilman collector, Jack Deemer. Both men had the reputation for collecting "anything that was loose."

Beside the old Glenbow Museum: Robert Kroetsch's 1983 novel, Alibi has a deep connection to the city. Glenbow founder Eric Harvie was the inspiration for Kroetsch's millionaire oilman collector, Jack Deemer. Both men had the reputation for collecting "anything that was loose."

Barb Howard talks about the origins of her novel, Whipstock: The Story of an Oilfield Pregnancy (2001). The protagonist Nellie Mannville works at an oil company cafeteria inspired by Barb's long-ago job working the steam tables at the Bay Buffeteria. The cafeteria in Whipstock is based on what was then the Amoco building (240 - 4th Avenue SW) where Barb worked as a lawyer in the 80s and 90s.

Barb Howard talks about the origins of her novel, Whipstock: The Story of an Oilfield Pregnancy (2001). The protagonist Nellie Mannville works at an oil company cafeteria inspired by Barb's long-ago job working the steam tables at the Bay Buffeteria. The cafeteria in Whipstock is based on what was then the Amoco building (240 - 4th Avenue SW) where Barb worked as a lawyer in the 80s and 90s.

Across from the facade of the old Eaton's store on Stephen Avenue: Lori Hahnel talks about her novel  Love Minus Zero (2008). Her protagonist, Kate Brandt plays guitar in an all-female punk band in 1980 and works part-time at Eaton's. The Calgary locales in Lori's book are precise and specific, thanks in part to her editor, Mark Jarman, a one-time Calgarian.

Across from the facade of the old Eaton's store on Stephen Avenue: Lori Hahnel talks about her novel  Love Minus Zero (2008). Her protagonist, Kate Brandt plays guitar in an all-female punk band in 1980 and works part-time at Eaton's. The Calgary locales in Lori's book are precise and specific, thanks in part to her editor, Mark Jarman, a one-time Calgarian.

Beside the Hudson's Bay arcade: Katherine Govier joins us from Toronto by video to talk about her Calgary novel, Between Men (1987). Govier's story explores the 1889 murder of a young Cree woman that occurred near the intersection of Stephen Avenue and 1st Street West. Photo: Julie Black

Beside the Hudson's Bay arcade: Katherine Govier joins us from Toronto by video to talk about her Calgary novel, Between Men (1987). Govier's story explores the 1889 murder of a young Cree woman that occurred near the intersection of Stephen Avenue and 1st Street West. Photo: Julie Black

One of the Calgary Herald gargoyles on the historic Alberta Hotel building: a medieval feature with a contemporary twist. Figures depict newspaper staff members, including the stenographer and the cleaning lady.

One of the Calgary Herald gargoyles on the historic Alberta Hotel building: a medieval feature with a contemporary twist. Figures depict newspaper staff members, including the stenographer and the cleaning lady.

The Palliser Hotel: an evocative setting for writers over the decades, including Edna Alford, Rudy Wiebe, Caroline Russell-King and Aritha van Herk.

The Palliser Hotel: an evocative setting for writers over the decades, including Edna Alford, Rudy Wiebe, Caroline Russell-King and Aritha van Herk.

Aritha van Herk speaks about her novel, Restlessness (1998), set in the Palliser Hotel. The novel also features its own walking tour. "There are warm spaces," the protagonist tells her companion about Calgary, "if you know how to find them."

Aritha van Herk speaks about her novel, Restlessness (1998), set in the Palliser Hotel. The novel also features its own walking tour. "There are warm spaces," the protagonist tells her companion about Calgary, "if you know how to find them."

The Memorial Park Library: an architectural and cultural jewel in the city's crown. As the walk concludes, we pay homage to literary pioneers, Annie Davidson (founder of the first literary book club in 1906 and campaigner for the city's first library) and Alexander Calhoun (the city's first chief librarian). 

The Memorial Park Library: an architectural and cultural jewel in the city's crown. As the walk concludes, we pay homage to literary pioneers, Annie Davidson (founder of the first literary book club in 1906 and campaigner for the city's first library) and Alexander Calhoun (the city's first chief librarian). 

Shelf Life Books: a display of a few of our guest authors' books. The walk wraps up at this lively, hospitable independent bookstore. Check it out the next time you're in the Beltline. 

Shelf Life Books: a display of a few of our guest authors' books. The walk wraps up at this lively, hospitable independent bookstore. Check it out the next time you're in the Beltline. 

Thanks for taking a look, and thanks to everyone who came out for the walk. Check out the  list of works I talked about on the walk here, as well as a few suggestions for further reading. This is only a sampling: in the weeks to come, I'll be exploring more Calgary literary landscapes. I'll let you know what I find.