By James Keller
In the early hours of Saturday, November 7, 1886, fire broke out in Parish & Son’s grocery and provision store on Calgary’s Atlantic Avenue (now 9th Ave, in the downtown core). The blaze quickly spread to adjoining buildings, like Sherman House and Lamount’s Tin Shop. Wind carried the fire further to a building on the opposite corner, where it met a vacant lot and stopped.
Meanwhile, at the fire’s origin, it also spread northward-first to the Union Hotel, then further, only to stop as it reached the Royal Hotel. The fire left a path of destruction that nearly destroyed the city’s downtown core. Many of the city’s wooden buildings were leveled, businesses crippled. The total cost of the disaster reached over $100,000.