May 112015
Hillhurst Baptist Church Calgary

This then and now uses a pair of old images supplied by two different sources and shows the Hillhurst Baptist Church, today a bike/cross country ski shop, in 1965 and earlier in the late 1950s. One shows an overall view of the building, the second, a group of people comprised mostly of children, seen standing at the back of the structure. We visit this site to document how things look today.

Built in 1908, Hillhurst Baptist was originally known, for a couple of years anyway, as Morleyville Road Baptist (perhaps the old name of the street it fronts upon?). In the 1950s an auditorium/hall type structure was added to the back of the church. Its plain form contrasts with the the architectural design of the church itself, which reflects a rather simplified Gothic Revival style. The building is painted in a bright blue colour, a garish shade for sure, which to some might be seen as unbefitting.

↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Scroll down for photos or to comment ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

Hillhurst Baptist continued to serve the community until the early 1970s, when its congregation disbanded. Afterwards the building was used by various businesses, including a bridal shop and today that sports store mentioned. A martial arts studio occupies the addition out back.

The community in which the church (or former church) is located, Hillhurst, dates from the early part of the twentieth century. It’s one of Calgary’s older communities, located across the Bow River from downtown, and is home to a great many old historic structures.

As you can be see the church has not changed a great deal between the time the old photos were shot and now. Sure it’s been repainted but outside that the only difference of note is the small arched roof overhangs once located over each door. All are gone now but ghost outlines of their shape can still be seen on the walls if one looks closely.

The 1965 photo was supplied by our friends at the Calgary Public Library and comes from the Allison Jackson Collection. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Allison documented most of Calgary’s historic structures and her work has provided us lots of fodder for these sorts of posts. The library is the curator of her work.

The other photo is from the James Tworow Collection, Taken by his father, who traveled Western Canada visiting various congregations under employ of the church diocese. It’s not known exactly who the people in the photo are. If you recognize someone, please let us know! We’re crazy curious to know more.

This is the first then and now where we used photos from two contributors that showed the same overall subject. Interesting!

Don’t forget to LIKE or SHARE this post.

If you’re in possession of an old photo like the ones seen here, showing a street scene, historic building, or something else interesting like that, captured way back when, that you’d like us to use in a trademark BIGDoer then and now report, simply drop us a line. The image must be yours or can be in the public domain. We can accept scans or the original photo, which will get returned.

We’re often asked how we line up our shots, so they closely match the angle and composition of the old photos we use. It’s rather simple in concept but requires a great deal of patience and practice. We use a proprietary grid system which we’ve developed over the years, and line up everything in camera. We don’t crop or use any post production trickery. That would be too easy. We like a challenge and can’t do it any other way.

More posts like this…
Calgary themed: Calgary then and now – those 70s condos
Train themed: Crowsnest railyards then and now
Movie themed: Legends of the Fall – then and now

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: April, 2015.
Location: Calgary, AB.
Article sources: Harry Sanders: Calgary historian, Baptist Church of Canada records, City of Calgary.
The building can be viewed and photographed from public property.

Hillhurst Baptist Church

Hillhurst Baptist Church in 1965.

Hillhurst Baptist Church Calgary

Today it’s a bike shop.


Hillhurst Baptist

Who these people are is unknown – late 1950s.

Hillhurst Baptist Calgary

The same view today at the back of the building.


Join the discussion...

6 Comments on "Calgary then and now – Hillhurst Baptist Church"

newest oldest
Subscribe only
Lifesport Calgary
Lifesport Calgary

Thanks for sending that – great article.
Neil (@ Lifesport)

Adele Simpson
Adele Simpson

Great pictures, Chris. And I love when old buildings are repurposed.

Lisa Jones
Lisa Jones

(via Facebook)
Phenomenal post. Love the memories!