News / Calgary

Shamrock Hotel dies, sign lives on in Calgary community

The City of Calgary has helped Inglewood and Ramsay save a neon sign for future use

The Shamrock Hotel sign is ready for a new home.

Courtesy / Jenny Jensen

The Shamrock Hotel sign is ready for a new home.

Out of the rubble of the Shamrock Hotel is a sign of what's to come for the community.

Last week, the City of Calgary began bulldozing the hotel to make way for the future Green Line plans in the southeast neighbourhood. But as the walls came down, one integral part of the landmark will live on thanks to a community member's efforts.

"It's funny, I have driven by the Shamrock for probably a good 18 to 20 years, and I always thought that sign said Shamrock Hotel - that sign only says hotel," said Jenny Jensen, the executive director of the Alexandra Centre Society. "That's what we were killing ourselves laughing over."

She said the hotel had a sentimental existence for her because back in the day she had her wedding brunch at the Chinese restaurant buffet upstairs.

She asked Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra if the sign could be saved, which he thought was a great idea, as the city acquired the hotel.

Originally built in 1914 by the Burns Meat Company, the hotel was meant to serve workers at the Burns meat plant and CP Rail. In 2012, a fire took a chunk out of two rooms, forcing a renovation.

"Now we're just wondering what to do with it," said Carra. "In my imagination, the first boutique hotel that emerges surrounding one of the Green Line stations will take it on as an interesting kitschy piece of flare, or something."

Jensen said she's seen a number of interesting suggestions from the community. One of the ideas was to plant the sign upsidedown where the upsidedown church was.

"I thought that was hysterical," she said.

For now, the sign, which she'd hoped would fit inside of the Alexandra Centre, is a few feet too big. So, it will be stored in a warehouse space until there's a consensus about where the sign will rest.

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