Kate's Lion

On August 1, East Village Ambassador and historian extraordinare Kate Reeves will receive a coveted Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Calgary Heritage Authority. And boy, does she deserve it.

The Calgary Heritage Lions honour citizens who undertake initiatives in support of heritage conservation, and Kate Reeves has been a veritable bundle of initiative since arriving in Calgary at the tender age of 18 from upstate New York. Reeves says she made sense of her booming new city by digging into its past, and she has done so with unflagging devotion and enthusiasm for four decades.

Her contributions are many, varied and wholehearted. A few to note: She nurtured the start and has been a long time supporter of Historic Calgary Week, which this year runs from July 27 to August 6 all over the city. It’s a combination of tours and talks, concerts and lectures that vary from a walk of the Five Bridges of Mission to the Reader Rock Garden Tour and the so-called “Ghost Tour.” (August 5 at 7 p.m. Sounds promising.) Check out more events here

Reeves has been president of the Calgary Historical Society, which her husband once referred to, in a moment of high drama, as the ‘Calgary Hysterical Society.’ For six years, she focused on the McDougall Stoney Mission Site and its charming 1875 church on the Bow River in Morley, Alberta, which she helped attain national historic site status. Churches, in fact, have become something of a specialty. “If anyone has a question about a church, they come to me,” she says. She’s also been on the Heritage Advisory Board, has given countless public tours of the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer across from Olympic Plaza, has an illustrious ongoing career as a volunteer, and is the author of a large handful of guides and articles. Among much else.

These days, along with her ambassador duties, she leads what she calls the Calgary His-torical Roving Book Group, which meets in a different historic site every month. “The roving is the fun part,” she says. “No agenda, no dues, no minutes.”

Reeves has written a neighbourhood history of Rosedale, where she now lives, and where she’ll stay until she moves into the condo she bought in East Village. (Of course a historian would be attracted to the oldest neighbourhood in the city.) “I love downtown, and I love my bike,” she says, citing affection for theatre, museums and First Thursdays. “I see myself becoming the eccentric old lady on RiverWalk with my beloved bicycle.”

Clearly, she’s going to fit right in.