110 18 Avenue SW

Photo courtesy of City of Calgary.

Mission-Cliff Bungalow Francophone Century Homes

The area currently known as Mission, was first settled by the Oblate missionaries who were also the first non-natives to live permanently in Calgary. It was the vision of Father Lacombe to create a permanent French-Canadian settlement, complete with church, school, convent, community hall and hospital “surrounded by the homes of the French speaking faithful” (his description of the residential subdivision). Some families moved from Québec, and “Cheminots”, railway labourers from Québec, came west in 1883-84 to work on the westward construction of the C.P.R. line. Most of the French-speaking immigrants settled here, in what was later to become Rouleauville, and is now known as Mission.

Many of the residents who settled in the community founded, fostered or lobbied for francophone cultural and economic services for the citizens of Southern Alberta. In 1884, almost immediately after Father Lacombe obtained their land grant, the Oblate fathers had their land surveyed into residential streets and lots, and sold the lots for $60, $100 for corner lots. They began recruiting colonists in 1887, often from Quebec. The street names depicted the French and Catholic origins of the area (Notre Dame, Doucet, Rouleau, St. Joseph, etc.). A small residential community developed along Seventeenth and Eighteenth Avenues by the 1890s and a few blocks of land which were acquired by speculators.

McHugh House                  110 18 Ave. SW                    1896

New residents included John Joseph (J.J.) McHugh and his wife Frances who moved west from Ottawa to reside at 110 – 18 Avenue SW (now known as the J.J. McHugh House ca. 1896). He became an important businessman and rancher in western Canada. Frances was active in the Mission district and served on the Holy Cross Hospital auxiliary, the Catholic Women’s League and the Catholic Ladies’ Aid Society. In 1881 J.J. McHugh and Mrs. William Scollen sponsored a bell, which was first used in St. Patrick’s chapel in 1883, later served the FCJ Convent. In 1932 the bell was donated by the sisters to the St. Famille Church in Cliff Bungalow, and named Maria-Jean Baptiste-Pie XI at that time. The bell is still in the sanctuary and used at Sunday services. The Congregation of the Brothers of Our Lady of Lourdes purchased the home in 1960 and it became one of the city’s first group homes for troubled youth. Since 1969 it has been owned by the Diocese of Calgary for a variety of uses.