In 1912, Thomas Mawson traveled to Canada on a lecture tour beginning in Halifax and ending in Victoria. While here, the internationally famous town planner made a brief stop in Calgary and gave the speech, The City on the Plain and How to Make It Beautiful, to the Canadian Club of Calgary.
An entertaining and gifted speaker, Mawson charmed his audience by appealing its pride, business sense, and desire to impress the rest of the world. On February 4, 1913, Mawson was hired for $6, 000 to provide a plan to transform Calgary into a city for one million people.
When Mawson’s report, The City of Calgary Past, Present, and Future: A Preliminary Scheme for Controlling the Economic Growth of the City, was delivered in April 1914, it was publically displayed in the Hudson’s Bay Store’s Elizabethan room for everyone to see.
The plans and drawings included in the report showed a lot of thought and detail, giving viewers a good idea of what was planned. One thousand copies of the report were also available for public sale.
Mawson was concerned with how people lived and heavily influenced by the international Garden City Movement and the City Beautiful Movement which believed that space, light, and greenery were needed for mental and physical health.
Since Calgary had less than ideal living conditions, the Report emphasized these two movements and how they would solve Calgary’s problems. Mawson urged Calgary to recreate itself as an ideal city as an example to the rest of the West.