The Sentinels: On Guard for Thee

The newly-unveiled Sentinels proudly standing guard over the corner of 9 Avenue and 6 Street SE between East Village and Fort Calgary wear the Red Serge proudly.

The five red glass towers on the edge of the original North West Mounted Police headquarters of Fort Calgary serve as a highly visible (and patriotic) landscape gateway to Calgary’s birthplace and delineate the urban space of East Village from the historic fort. They also commemorate historical figures who were instrumental to the area – and they connect the parklands of Fort Calgary to the homes of East Village. These are clever, hardworking Sentinels.

East Village has tipped its Mountie hat in respect to our historical neighbour by adding touches of RCMP red all along the section of East Village bordering Fort Calgary. Throughout RiverWalk™, by the bridges, and following the thin red line of the 6th Street Edges project, jolts of crimson pay homage to our celebrated neighbour. On the Sentinels site itself, the towers are all decked out in full dress uniform.  

The precise shade of red is such a crucial part of the Mountie uniform that the five glass towers forming the Sentinels installation are programmed with internal lighting, just to keep them that exact iconic shade. The tallest tower, which stands an impressive 28 feet tall, is flanked by four smaller ones, each of which honours a historical character who has left a lasting legacy on the city and the community.

The first tower pays respect to Chief Crowfoot, chief of the Siksika Nation, whose vibrant culture was well established at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers long before the arrival of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP). Colonel MacLeod, the second Commissioner of the NWMP, is commemorated on the second tower for giving Calgary its name. The third tower honours Captain Deane, who was the last serving superintendent of Fort Calgary before it was decommissioned. The final tower thanks Alderman John Ayer, whose ten year struggle to rescue Fort Calgary from obscurity resulted in the City of Calgary purchasing the property in 1974, returning the city’s birthplace to the public realm.

With Fort Calgary right at the doorstep, East Villagers can venture back into our city’s history anytime, in just a few easy steps. And with 40 acres of green space in which to stretch out and relax, you couldn’t ask for a better backyard.

Learn more about the Sentinels of Fort Calgary here: The Sentinels: Stand on Guard for Thee, then come take a look at them for yourself!