Author Topic: Jack's Alley Plaque possible in billion-dollar Calgary redevelopment project!  (Read 42355 times)

Offline PST

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Ramsay Exchange (previously known as Ramsay Crossing), expected to cost more than $1.1 billion at build-out, is projected to contain more than 2,000 residential units (townhouses, lofts, and mid- and high-rise apartments), 600,000 square feet of office and commercial space, and 225,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.  It will preserve and adaptively reuse the historic Dominion Bridge buildings, with walls that frame Jack's Alley.  The Riverside Iron Works built a large steel foundry here in the 1920’s and in 1929 sold it to the Dominion Bridge Company.

Actually, I’m getting ahead of my story.  It all began when I took the bus from Canmore to Calgary the Monday after the July Alberta Full Moon Gathering, the final event of the week-long Alberta Pilgramage, organized by several Brokies on the Bettermost Board. It was a wonderful week of renewing old Brokie friendships and seein' many of the BBM film locations in the Rockies and in small towns east and south of Calgary with about 25 Brokies.  I spent several days sightseein' and seein' all the BBM Calgary film sites that remain.

Since one of my interests – besides BBM – is history, I was delighted when I discovered it was “Historic Calgary Week 2007,” featuring free walking tours and talks.  One tour was of the Dominion Bridge Historic Industrial Site, lead by a Ramsay Exchange architect.  Checking my map, I discovered that this was in the same neighborhood as Jack's Alley. I went on the tour and then would try to find Jack's Alley.  How convenient, I thought, since I was traveling on public transportation.

I joined this large group to tour the old buildings’ interiors



Then we went outside and while standing in between two buildings, the architect casually mentioned that several movies were filmed here.



I didn’t think anything of it, since the large red building across from Jack’s Alley, that is shown on www.findingbrokeback.com was nowhere to be seen – so I thought this couldn’t be Jack’s Alley.


Only after the tour, when I looked at the address of Jack’s Alley, did I realize that I had been standing right there and the large red building has since been demolished! 

After returning home, I researched the Ramsay Exchange Project and sent the E-mail copied below to the:
Ramsay Exchange developer;
Ramsay Exchange project architect;
Ramsay Community Association;
City of Calgary senior heritage planner for this project;
City of Calgary re-zoning file manager for the project application;
Calgary Heritage Initiative Society; and
University of Calgary urban design professor.

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Re: Land use re-designation (re-zoning) for Ramsay Exchange Project
I have been following the progress of the Ramsay Exchange Project and recently participated in a tour of the site (Dominion Bridge Historic Industrial Site) during Historic Calgary Week 2007.  I support this mixed-use development and its adaptive re-use of several historic buildings.  The Calgary Heritage Initiative Society suggested that I contact you.
I understand that the Project will retain the alley between the two Dominion Bridge buildings, which will be adaptively re-used. Since the Project has an Historical Interpretive Program - highlighting the social and industrial history of the site – and a scene in the movie Brokeback Mountain was filmed in this alley, this filming should be mentioned on a plaque in the alley.  This would fit in well with one of the Project’s goals of emphasizing the arts and building a project that has a lot of arts and cultural components to it.
Recognizing the filming of Brokeback Mountain has occurred at other Alberta sites, such as the one in the attached photograph in Fort Macleod (This plaque is much bigger and more detailed than what I am suggesting.)



Fort Macleod’s Main Street Tour also highlights Brokeback Mountain shooting locations, as shown in the attached poster.


I have mentioned this idea to a member of the Urban Design Program at the University of Calgary and they agree that calling attention to the Brokeback Mountain filming at this location would be a good idea.

Calgary Economic Development has stated that, “The depiction of Calgary in films – and the success of the Oscar-winning “Brokeback Mountain” and the Emmy-nominated “Into the West” have raised Calgary’s profile.” (http://www.calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com/AboutCED/CEDInitiatives/BehindTheScenes.cfm)   

There is still a lot of interest in Brokeback Mountain and the Travel Alberta web site still has a “Brokeback Mountain Revisited” page: (http://www1.travelalberta.com/en-outh/index.cfm?PageID=460&FeatureId=751).

Thank you for your consideration of this suggestion.

Yours truly,

Peter Tannen

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So far, I received two replies, both positive:

The Development Manager of Torode Commercial, the Project developer, replied

“Your suggestions for acknowledging the site as a popular filming location is a good one and we will definitely keep the idea in mind as we move forward in the redevelopment of this site.”

The University of Calgary urban design professor replied

“Yes, they would be wise to consider highlighting the filming - I have also been following how the tourist development has been going re: the film [Brokeback Mountain].”

 &**)


This is a concept sketch of the project.  Jack’s alley is between the two wings of the horseshoe-shaped brick building, to the left of the new highrise at the upper right.


Stay tuned for any updates.  I will be following this development project (not yet approved) and will continue to push for a Jack’s Alley plaque.

Pete

« Last Edit: Aug 27, 2007, 11:52 AM by PST »
I didn't know we was goin a get into this again -- yeah, I did. Redlined it all the way, couldn't get here fast enough.

Offline PST

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Latest update from developer:

Update
Over the summer months, construction crews have been working full force on renovations to the Dominion Bridge building. Headplay and Conversion Works, two local entertainment companies, will begin fixturing of the 34,000 sq ft of renovated space September 1, 2007 and commence their lease December 1, 2007. For a glimpse of this progress, interior photos of the Dominion Bridge building taken August 16 are now posted on

http://www.ramsayexchange.com/news.php
I didn't know we was goin a get into this again -- yeah, I did. Redlined it all the way, couldn't get here fast enough.

Offline chameau

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Wow! (t)

Many thanks PST for your involvement in this project and sharing your story with us.  I can't wait for more news about this. :) 
La dictature c'est ''ferme ta geule'', la démocratie c'est ''cause toujours''
 Jean-Louis Barrault

Offline LuvJackNasty

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Thanks for sharing that PST!  <^( and welcome to EnnisJack.  :c)
“What Jack remembered and craved in a way he could neither help nor understand was the time that distant summer on Brokeback when Ennis had come up behind him and pulled him close, the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger."

You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one ~ Imagine- J. Lennon

Offline PST

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Latest response from my E-mail campaign:    :)

Thanks for this suggesting and information.  Interpretation is an integral component of our preservation program and I will pass on this information to the restoration architect and the developer.  It could add an additional, interesting layer of information.
 
Darryl Cariou
Senior Heritage Planner
Centre City Planning and Design
Land Use Planning and Policy
I didn't know we was goin a get into this again -- yeah, I did. Redlined it all the way, couldn't get here fast enough.

Offline PST

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Jim Bond (www.findingbrokeback.com) E-mailed me that  he heard from a German who is in Calgary this week that she was not able to get to the alley because the construction is in full swing now.  Jim thinks I may have been one of the last to see Jack’s Alley “as it was!”
I didn't know we was goin a get into this again -- yeah, I did. Redlined it all the way, couldn't get here fast enough.