Updated on 2020-11-23 by Adam Hardy
Hugh Archibald White was born and brought up in Calgary, Canada in the 1940s and 50s. He gave me a run-down on their almost universal dependence on coal, illustrated with some great anecdotes about his grandfather, a coal and gas merchant, including:
- the vastness of Canada’s natural resources
- the railways and development
- low prices and infinite availability of fossil fuels
- Canadian winters, minus 20°C for half the year
- why you didn’t insulate your house
Sorry for my sound quality – I used the wrong mic – doh! But Hugh’s quality is good.
Where to Listen to Coal in Calgary
The image of an old postcard below shows a train with 3 locomotives. This was needed to get them up the steep passes. They were enormously long trains – one could wait 20 or 30 minutes for the train to pass a level crossing. They often had 2 huge steam locomotives (later diesels) and then would have more added before the climb.
The next 3 are of Canmore, a coal mining town on the road from Calgary to Banff (and on the railway). The “Opera House” was converted to a cinema.
Coal mining in Canmore started 1887 and ended in 1979. Most of the infrastructure was removed but the Opera House and a couple of other buildings and mine entrances (just doorways in the side of the mountain) remain. Tourism is the business now.