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From Gauntlet archives. An aerial image of the MacEwan Hall when it first opened in 1967.

This Week in Gauntlet History, November 3rd to 9th

By Nikayla Goddard, November 5 2019 —

Within the pages of the Gauntlet, history has shown itself to be a pattern. Recurring issues surrounding politics, economy, equal rights and more cycle each year — some things have changed, but a lot also hasn’t. This Week in Gauntlet History recounts a handful of published stories from the past that are either interesting or relevant to today’s events. Stretching from our first issue in September of 1960 through to the turn of the 21st century, the Gauntlet is packed full of historical events and wild campus tales. 

This week brings the opening of MacKimmie Block library and MacEwan Hall, sword fights from the Society for Creative Anachronism, porn Bill C-54 under attack and the university being declared a World Tourism Education and Research Centre.


November 8th 1963: “Library To Open Doors Officially.” 

The three million dollar MacKimmie Block library opened officially on Nov. 8 at 2:30 p.m. with both press and TV coverage. President of the University Dr. W. H. Johns chaired the program and open house, Rev. Dr. C. H. Bentall read the invocation, and Deputy Minister of Public Works A. Arnold conducted a presentation.

Exhibits were shown and librarians were introduced, followed by Principal Malcolm Taylor’s concluding speech.

The building was described as an “arresting structure of trim, wood and solar-glass screens, began in the summer of 1962 and was ready for use this term. The building itself has a seating capacity of six hundred, and a circulation capacity of 175,000 volumes.”

The Tower wasn’t built until nine years later in 1972. 

“Library Block” photo from MacKimmie Library Block Built History album of the Archives and Special Collections.


November 8th 1967: “A Dream Realized – MacEwan Hall Opens.”

See featured photo at top of article for aerial.

MacEwan Hall construction was completed in Nov. of 1967, marked by three days of celebratory activities. Highlighting the opening was the gathering of students and faculty, as well as a “psychedelic light show” that was “reputed to be the best that has ever hit or ever will hit Calgary for a long time.”

Lieutenant-Governor Grant MacEwan officially cut the ribbon on Nov. 17, granting “students the official use of the hall every day of the week, including Sundays.” 

The permanent university art collection was displayed in the Reading Room that was located on the second floor of MacEwan Hall, located just off of the fire-pit lounge. In addition, “hostesses in bright U of C blazers” gave “guided tours during opening week.” 


November 5th, 1980: “Sword fighting.”


The caption reads as follows: 

Bjorn Isenkammenhandter (foreground) moves in for the kill with broadsword and shield as his opponent, Alasdair MacAuley, defends off-handed, having already lost his sword-arm.

It all took place last Friday in front of MacEwan Hall as members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) put on a short series of mock battles to advertise their group. Steven Johnson, SCA Herald, described the society as an “educational charity devoted to reviving the Middle Ages. Not as they were, but as they should have been.”

The local branch of the SCA, known as the “Shire of Montengarede,” meets every fourth Saturday at apartment 308, 728 3rd Avenue N.W. If you’re interested, call Johnson. As for Friday’s battles, Isenkammenhandler came out the clear winner, victorious in four out of five contests, including a face-off against two opponents at once, and pulling a draw in the fifth contest.


November 5th, 1987: “New porn bill under attack”

“Bill C-54, which covers anti-pornography legislation has come under attack from virtually every group imaginable.” The main problem people had with the proposal of Bill C-54 is that the broad wording of the law leaves too much power and discretion to the police, and the definition of pornography also extends to sexuality and general sexual behaviour, banning topics or even muted portrayals of sex and masturbation across all mediums. The general consensus is that the bill is one of censorship rather than anti-pornography. 

A case is recalled where a seizure of what was deemed pornographic material had to be legally proved in court that the material was for educational purposes warning of the dangers of pornography. Had it not been proved, the offenders would have been sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison. 

Alberta Coalition Against Pornography spokesperson Janet Lavoie said that she is “pleased that it tries to clarify the existing bill, that there is heavy emphasis on violence, and that there are different penalties being proposed for child pornography,” however, even those against pornography are displeased with Bill C-54’s definition. 


November 9th 1989: “University named world tourism centre.” 

The University of Calgary was named a World Tourism Education and Research Centre by the World Tourism Organization in November of 1989. 

The fifth of seven worldwide centres to be named, the U of C and George Washington University in D.C. were the only two locations in North America. 

The centre was established “to create greater understanding of tourism and its role in global economic, social, and cultural development. The centre will provide basic and advanced management education programs for managers working in tourism in the public and private sectors. It will be located in the management faculty, but will not be limited to that discipline. The centre will work to improve the effectiveness of those responsible for managing the human, physical, and human resources of tourism regions, and to use tourism to improve international understanding and goodwill in an environmentally responsible manner.” 

‘This Week in Gauntlet History’ is a news feature that will be published every week, recounting the history from yesteryear that took place that week.

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