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Mountain to be named in honour of Grant MacEwan #1310
Back To Discussion List Written: 2005.06.27 by: David Wasserman

News Release Grant MacEwan Mountain Club June 27, 2005

Application To Name Peak In Bow Valley For Grant MacEwan Announced

The Grant MacEwan Mountain Club announced today that it plans to apply to the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation to have a currently nameless peak in Bow Valley Provincial Park named Grant MacEwan Peak.

According to the policies in effect in Alberta, a geographical feature in the province can only be named after a person who has been dead for five or more years. Historian and professor J. W. Grant MacEwan, who served as mayor of Calgary, Leader of the Opposition in the Alberta Legislature, and lieutenant-governor of Alberta, passed away on June 15, 2000, at the age of 97.

"Our club was named in honour of Dr. MacEwan because of his interest in nature and the environment, and his many other contributions to public life in Alberta," club spokesperson David Wasserman said. "Club members feel it is appropriate for us to lead efforts to create this permanent recognition of this great man."

The peak chosen to take Dr. MacEwan's name is the highest point on a route known as the Heart Mountain Horseshoe, a popular scramble (non-technical climb) in Bow Valley Provincial Park, on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway near Exshaw. "The peak is one of several unnamed high points in a complex set of ridges that has only three named features: Heart Mountain, Mount Lorette, and Mount McGillivray," Wasserman said. "It is not the highest of them, but is the highest one that can be reached by a beaten path. We feel that a peak named after Dr. MacEwan would reflect his personality best if it is accessible to as many people as possible. The point is also visible from Highway 1A, at the foot of the south ridge of Door Jamb Mountain, about 1.5 km east of Exshaw."

"In recognition of Dr. MacEwan's strong connection to the City of Calgary, which he served as member of city council and as mayor, we think it is suitable that the peak is one of the first unnamed peaks encountered on the way to the Rockies from Calgary. It is even possible that Calgary can be seen from the summit under ideal conditions."

The club is requesting that Albertans who wish to support the naming download the signature page that will accompany the application from the club's website at, print it, gather signatures, and mail the completed page to the club to be added to the application.

The club hopes that the process can be completed during Alberta's Centennial Year, and would like to have as many supporting signatures as possible by the end of July.


The following biography of Grant MacEwan is adapted from information on the Alberta Order of Excellence web site at

The Honourable Dr. J. W. Grant MacEwan, O.C., LL.D.

(Born August 12 1902, Died June 15 2000)

John Walter Grant MacEwan was born in 1902. His pioneer parents farmed north of Brandon, Manitoba and later at Melfort, Saskatchewan. He attended the Ontario Agricultural College, graduating in 1926. Later he did post-graduate work in agricultural science at Iowa State University. He received a B.S.A. from the University of Toronto, and a M.S. from Iowa State University.

For some years following, Grant MacEwan held senior positions with the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba. Before taking the post of dean of agriculture at Manitoba, he was professor of animal husbandry and farm superintendent at the University of Saskatchewan. Through these years, he became widely known across western Canada for public service, especially in judging livestock, writing, radio broadcasting, lecturing, and the conduct of fairs and exhibitions.
  After 23 years of university work, he resigned and moved to Calgary, intending to concentrate on writing. However, he became involved in political life and served on the Calgary City Council for 12 years, nine as an alderman and three years as mayor. From 1955 to 1959 he was a member of the provincial legislature and in the last part of that period was leader of the opposition.
  Appointed Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, he took office on January 6, 1966 and retired on July 2, 1974. During these eight and a half years he added a new dimension to this high office, preserving its dignity while at the same time softening some of the traditional formal protocol. With down to earth humour and astounding stamina, Dr. MacEwan fulfilled a staggering number of engagements in every corner of the province, reaching out to touch thousands of Albertans, endearing himself to all.
  As an author, Dr. MacEwan was a regular contributor to various farm magazines and newspapers, and saw more than 20 books published. Of these, four were technical: Canadian Animal Husbandry, General Agriculture, Breeds of Livestock in Canada, and Feeding Farm Animals. The remainder had to do with the history and development of Western Canada, Western biography, and conservation. A partial list of these books includes: Between the Red and the Rockies, Agriculture on Parade, Calgary Calvacade, Hoofprints and Hitching Posts, Tatanga Mani, Harvest of Bread, Sitting Bull - the Years in Canada, The Best of Grant MacEwan and Alberta Landscapes, in collaboration with photographer Rusty MacDonald.

Dr. MacEwan was the recipient of a number of awards and honours including: Honorary degree (LL.D.) University of Alberta, 1966 Honorary degree, Doctor of the University of Calgary, 1967 Honorary degree (LL.D.) University of Brandon, 1969 Honorary degree (LL.D.) University of Guelph, 1972 Honorary degree (LL.D.) University of Saskatchewan, 1974 B'Nai Brith Humanitarian Award 1970 Canadian Brotherhood Council Award 1972 Officer of the Order of Canada, O.C. 1974 Premier's Award for Excellence 1977 Alberta Order of Excellence 1982

Dr. MacEwan married Phyllis Cline in 1935. They had one daughter and two grandchildren.