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  • Fort Calgary Historic ParkFort Calgary Historic Park Calgary, Canada
    Fort Calgary was started on April 10, 1875, by a federal order to force out whiskey traders that roamed the region and was originally called Fort Brisebois by the North-West Mounted Police, and it was built at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers in what has grown into Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was commanded by Ephrem A. Brisebois, F troop, which had come north from Fort Macleod to search out a place to erect a fort on the Bow River. When they came to the area, they built a makeshift boat with a wagon box and tarps to go across the Bow, and Corporal George Clift King became the first man to come ashore at the locale, which is perhaps why he had been called the first citizen of the city of Calgary. They started building the fort in August or September, and had it finished by Christmas so that they had Christmas dinner for those that were around in the area. The fort was made of spruce and pine logs, cut upstream and floated down to the site, with buildings for a guard room, stables and storage places, and men's quarters. Just a short time after the fort was finished, two businesses set up shop, the Hudson's Bay Company and the I.G. Baker Company. The fort was called the "Elbow" or "Bow Fort", but Captain Brisebois wanted to change it to be named after him, although he was very unpopular with his men and in 1876, was renamed Fort Calgary by James Macleod, after Calgary House, a castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland on Calgary Bay. Most of the fort would be torn down in 1882, and new barracks were built, but in the next year, the railroad came and changed the landscape so quickly that there wasn't much reason for a post any longer. A two story building was constructed that could hold 100 men in 1888, after a fire in 1884 had burned down one of the barracks. Near the fort, the Deane House was constructed in 1906, for the superintendent of Fort Calgary, Captain Richard Deane, although there had been one already built facing the barracks, but Deane felt that house was not good enough for his wife, Martha. The house cost $6200, but had been estimated at $5000, and in 1914, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway purchased the land to use as a rail terminal and destroyed all the buildings except the Deane house, which was moved to the southeast and bought in 1929 by C. L. Jacques, who moved it across the river, where it sits today.  In 1969-1970, a University of Calgary archaeological group came here to look for the fort by the site of McCosham's warehouse, and finally found it underneath a storage yard behind the building. They discovered wooden beams used in the fort, as well as a great number of historical relics. In 1974, the city reclaimed the land and made it a provincial and National Historic Site that was reopened in 1978, and a new copy of the 1888 barracks was finished in 2000 and then the walls or palisades were built. It is run by the Fort Calgary Preservation Society.  There is an interpretive center with numerous exhibits that show the city's growth from 1875 to the 1940s, where you can hear and view life as a mountie in the cold lonely location and try on one of their uniforms. You can ride in a virtual streetcar that takes you back in time to the age when whiskey traders and Mounties traded more than just stories, where you can walk through a 1930s drug store, a newspaper publishing office, radio station and auto repair shop. The Deane House now has a new restaurant and 40 acre riverside park that will help you get through the day and fill your stomach while you are exploring this wonderful park.

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  • Calgary ZooCalgary Zoo Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    The Calgary Zoo in Calgary, Alberta, Canada lies east of downtown and parts of it are located on St. George's Island in the Bow River. It is the second biggest zoo in the country, and houses more than 1000 animals in 290 species, without counting the fish or insects. The exhibits have been arranged in geographic regions, that are South America, Destination Africa, Canadian Wilds, Eurasia, Australia, Prehistoric Park and the Botanical Gardens. The zoological society began in 1929, with recent changes being made in the Destination Africa zone that added two more sub-regions, the African Savannah and the TransAlta Rain Forest, with the most recent opening being the Project Discovery region that opened in 2007 with twice the indoor and triple the outdoor space of the old exhibit, with wide open spaces and vaulted ceilings. In 2004, a new baby Asian elephant was born, but was rejected by the mother and died within three weeks, despite great efforts by the zoo keepers and vets. In 2007, a new giraffe arrived and was named Richard, who is doing quite well, and a new Siberian tiger called Vitali. That same year, another baby elephant was born but contracted a rare disease and died shortly. In May, 2008, 40 cow-nosed rays died of low blood oxygen levels, while three survivors were quarantined in smaller pools, but soon developed the signs that occur before dying. An error by the contractor's design was found to be the main problem and was rectified. A baby gorilla was born in 2008, and after searching through 1400 names, came up with Yewande, Nigerian name that was given girls after an elder in the family had passed. In 2009, a two year old male Turkmenian Markhor died from a fall that occurred while he was entangled in part of an exhibit, and in February of 2009, a Colobus monkey had a baby, which was the first for this species to be born at the zoo.

January 11, 2011