London in Calgary, Alberta – Challenge 3

Lesson learned. Today I was going to upload some photos of The Geffreye Museum I’d taken a few years ago.  I’d stored them ‘safely’ onto an external hard-drive on my return from London in 2011, but when I went to retrieve them this afternoon for this blog posting…? Wouldn’t load. Looks like the cable’s wrecked.  Moral of the story – store digital photos on both CDs AND external drive!

So you’ll just have to trust me that The Geffreye Museum is a fascinating and beautiful place to visit if London. A former almshouse built in 1714, it is dedicated to the history of the home, specifically the living rooms of the English middle class, over a four hundred year period. One room follows on from the other, each depicting a different era, and the same is true of the gardens.

The reason I’d wanted to revisit it this trip back to London is because in December the rooms are decorated for Christmas. So could I find a comparison in Calgary?

Heritage Park, which celebrates prairie history from the 1860s to 1913, comes very close.

STREET1STREET2I visit the park every summer, but come Christmastime, like The Geffreye Museum, many of the homes are decorated in a time appropriate fashion.


The first house we visited belonged to Peter Prince, a wealthy lumber merchant from Calgary’s late 19th Century. It’s a beautiful, well appointed home, and its formal decor reflects his affluence.


Then there’s the Thorpe House.  Home to a family of Norwegian immigrants, it is warm, welcoming and cosy. Apparently it’s traditional for Norwegians to drape their tree garlands from top to bottom rather than side to side as we do in North America.


The Ranch House is my favourite home in the whole park.  I worked there many years ago, baking cookies for visitors to enjoy as they toured the house, and trust me, when it’s +30C outside and you have an old wood oven going, it’s hot work. Today, stepping into the warmth and smelling the freshly baked gingerbread was sheer heaven. And although the tree was rather spindly and all its decorations home made, I thought it was the most beautiful of all the trees we saw.


As well as being able to view the decorated homes, there are shops enticing you with holiday goodies, a bakery selling delicious breads and gingerbread men, and carollers singing in the church.  There’s even a special shop just for kids (adults forbidden) where they can buy that special something for their parents.

Heritage Park is open on weekends for the Christmas season until December 22nd.