Researcher: Kevin Allen
Artist: Mark Clintberg
Design collaborator: Jeff Kulak
Graphic design: Glenn Mielke
The pilot map, A Queer Map: Gay and Lesbian Calgary, documents Calgary’s rich LGBTQ2S+ history, drawing on the historical research of the Calgary Gay History Project with research by Kevin Allen and artwork by Mark Clintberg. Its exploration of the places and faces of Calgary’s LGBTQ+ history beautifully documents the scenes and bars where these communities thrived as well as the people and organisations whose activism and initiatives raised much needed awareness and support. The map reveals the strong sense of resistance, collaboration and pride of these communities in the face of an often inhospitable city over the years.
A Queer Map is a retelling of an old story. Lovingly curated, the history of Calgary’s LGBTQ+ community is relayed on the footprint of our city. From Club Carousel through to modern ephemera, this tour through history covers a broad swath of Calgary’s under-documented LGBTQ+ community hubs and sources of resistance in a sometimes-inhospitable Sandstone city. Drawing on the historical research of the Calgary Gay History Project of Kevin Allen and Mark Clintberg, this map explores the places and faces of Calgary’s LGBTQ+ history, its scenes, bars, community, and organisations, and the efforts made by LGBTQ+ activists to raise awareness through initiatives like Blue Jeans Day. The histories told are uniquely Calgarian, but also paradigmatic of many similar cities across western Canada. The strong sense of community, resistance, collaboration and pride which emerges from this trip down memory lane, continues to characterize Calgary’s LGBTQ+ community to this day.
About the Calgary Atlas Project
The Calgary Atlas Project seeks to recover crucial stories about Calgary’s past and present, stories that illuminate in surprising ways the character and diversity of the city. Forgotten or overlooked stories from Calgary’s history are mapped onto the city’s geography, highlighting significant sites, events, and people in Calgary’s past. Ultimately the project will produce eighteen to twenty maps, spanning the earliest moments of habitation and settlement to the latest re-developments in the East Village.
The first two maps produced showcased Calgary’s LGBTQ2S+ history and First Nations participation with the Calgary Stampede. Newly completed maps explore the history of alternative art movements, labour activism and Calgary’s lost cinemas. Upcoming maps will illustrate immigration waves (as reflected in ethnic groceries and restaurants), Calgary’s architectural heritage, our connections with animals and the notable faces and places of Stampede Wrestling.
Each map has text written by local historians and images specially commissioned from Calgary artists, in most cases artists who have a relation to the history they are interpreting. The Atlas aims to bring a new vision of Calgary to Calgary; to show us how we got to where we are, and who we came to be.
The Calgary Atlas Project is an initiative of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities at the University of Calgary, and is generously supported by the Calgary Foundation. Individual maps are available from Calgary’s fine independent bookstores including Shelf Life Books, The Next Page, Pages Kensington, Owl’s Nest Books, as well as Map Town and Lougheed House. The project is steered by a group of five professors at the University of Calgary: George Colpitts (History), Jim Ellis (English; CIH), Nancy Janovicek (History), Graham Livesey (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape), and Charles Tepperman (Communications, Media and Film).
In Summer 2020, the Atlas Project was the recipient of a Calgary Foundation Grant. We are enormously grateful for this grant as it has allowed us to hire a project manager to oversee the production of the forthcoming maps and to work on effective distribution schemes for the maps, making sure that they are read by the communities that would benefit from them the most.