(403) 258-0800 Contact Us Putting a Face on Calgary's Past

The Calgary Sun
Editorial/Opinion Section
Copyright 2007, Sun Media Corporation
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BY PAUL JACKSON

My great, great friend Gordon Hoffman is always up to some new endeavor — and he always pulls it off in admirable fashion.

As I’ve said in the past, if Gordy spent as much time on his legal practice as he does on charitable and community work he’d be a fabulously rich man.

Now Gord is helping to spearhead a project that will shine and shimmer throughout our city, and will be the envy of many other communities coast-to-coast.

Imagine clusters of metallic wheatsheaves, 14 to 16 ft. high, dotting our landscape and seemingly rustling in the wind, gently swaying back and forth, and illuminated at night. This is Gord’s “Fields of Fame” concept.

Each wheatsheaf will be dedicated to one of our city’s pioneers and stalwart residents going back to Confederation right up to, as you might say, present day.
“The wheatsheaves will be inscribed with details of what the individuals accomplished and contributed to Calgary, a photograph of them, their signatures, and the name of the donor who made the particular sheaf possible.”

Under the umbrella of the Alberta Champions Society in Recognition of Community Enrichment, the individuals to be honored in this sterling manner can hail from just about any field of endeavor. It could be business, sports, the arts, community service, the advancement of a particular profession, politics, the labor movement, or any other sphere you can name. This is all about recognizing men and women who have had vision and drive and enhanced our community.

When Gord talks about Alberta Champions it’s impossible not to get personally excited. “The wheatsheaves will be esthetically pleasing and will be solar-powered. They will add beauty to Calgary’s landscape.”

I’ll bet they will.

Some clusters will be in the foyers of buildings, others outside in city focal points.
Gord, of the law firm, Hoffman Dorchik LLP, says the society envisages some 40 Fields of Fame scattered throughout Calgary within the next five years or so.
After that, who knows how many more.

Calgary — well, Alberta — has surely produced a range of individuals to match any in the world. They have built our city — and our province — from the ground up.
Our history is as glamorous as any.

To many, the challenges over the past 150 years must have seemed daunting.
Yet those with vision and tenacity were undaunted. They just plowed ahead. As rugged as the times may have been nothing stopped them. They came through the economic collapse of the late 19th century, the boom that followed, the First World War, and the boom that followed that in the 1920s, and then the Great Depression, and the Second World War, and from the big find at Leduc.

Indeed, Ted Byfield captured much of it in his magnificent series “Alberta in the 20th Century”. Skim through Mel Hurtig’s The Canadian Encyclopedia and you’ll find nuggets there, too.

Hoffman expects the wheatsheaves to grab the attention of younger Calgarians — and Albertans — and inspire them to emulate those who have given so much to our past and who built the foundation for our future.

Anyway, Gord and his society are looking for nominations — and donors — and he can be contacted at his Calgary law firm at 403-258-0800 or at [email protected]
Believe me, when this project takes shape, other cities really will pause in admiration.

Copyright 2007, The Calgary Sun Unauthorized reproduction or Web posting prohibited.