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Prince Philip and Calgary Modern

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort to the Queen of Canada, died on 9 April 2021, two months short of his 100th birthday. The Prince lived an extraordinary life and witnessed many of the 20th century's monumental events.

Much has been and will continue to be written about grander aspects of his biography. However, in this space I would like to draw attention to a minute facet of Philip's life: his interaction with modern architecture in Calgary. Philip visited Calgary for the first time on 18 October 1951 when his wife was still Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. Over the rest of his life he visited another five times. During his second trip to Calgary, in 1959, he visited at least one and possibly two houses featured on Calgary Modern.

On their 1959 royal tour, Elizabeth and Philip spent the day of 9 July in Calgary. After attending a special rodeo at the Stampede Grounds in the afternoon, the couple set out by car to attend an evening barbecue. On the way they stopped in the new neighbourhood Britannia, one of the city's best mid-century areas. It's possible they had tea in the Samuel Switzer House. The Herald described the stop in Britannia, saying, "the side trip was arranged so they would have a chance to see something of Calgary's more modern residential areas."

After leaving Britannia they headed south past city limits to the Marshall M. Porter House, where the barbecue was held. For a full description of the evening, visit the link above and see the newspaper clippings.

Undoubtedly the visit to Britannia and the barbecue at the Porters' were but two of millions of episodes in the Prince's public life. The fact that he came into contact at all with the obscure subject matter of this site shows just how wide-ranging his travels were.