Original parlour at Twin Gables

Three Cheers for Historic B&B owners!


Original parlour at Twin Gables
Original parlour at Twin Gables

Most of us travel away from our own back yards when we take a holiday. If you are reading this there is a good chance that you like old houses and antiques. Perhaps you have stayed in a historic B&B on one or more occasions. So when you find such places in your own back yard (Alberta) it’s even more important to support them.

Quite honestly, if it wasn’t for B& B owners there would be fewer surviving historic houses. They have the courage to undertake some pretty big restoration projects because they believe in what they are doing. Like many other old house owners they love to share the history and ambiance of their home with like minded individuals. Of course the breakfasts are a nice touch… (there I am thinking of my stomach again!)

Twin Gables B&B is located in Calgary, Alberta. In the late 19thcentury the area in Calgary that is now known as Mount Royal belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railway. Between 1905 and 1911 the CPR subdivided the land into lots with the intention of creating an elite neighbourhood for Calgary’s nouveau riche. By 1906 so many Americans built their homes in this area that the vicinity became known locally as “American Hill”. Concerned with this state of affairs the CPR registered the street names based on British and Upper Canada ruling families. 20th Avenue became Royal Avenue.


Enclosed porch with a view towards downtown
Enclosed porch with a view towards downtown

Twin Gables was built in 1915, after the real estate crash of 1913. Its first occupant was a lawyer, Albert E Millican, one of the principals in the law firm he started with his brother, William. In 1930, another entrepreneur and local colourful personality, Wellington Walker, bought the house and named it “Twin Gables” after the prominent pair of gables that faced the street.

The home changed hands several times over the years until it was sold to a couple in 1979. The new owners spent the next 25 years updating the mechanical systems, the plumbing, the heating, and insulation of the walls. They also set the wheels in motion to have the home historically recognized by the province.

The previous owners had been very sensitive to the original character of the home as they worked to restore it. The main floor is especially authentic. The solid oak mill work in the entrance, throughout the main floor, and up the stairs is original.

The wallpaper in the dining room is based on Art Nouveau designs is still as brilliant as the day it was hung. Even the 3 dimensional fan-shaped corners on the ceiling are original.

The den off the main parlour (picture above) consists of wainscoted walls topped by a deep frieze. The frieze is decorated with wallpaper featuring a streetscape of London, England that has been hand painted to show exquisite detail.


Original stained glass windows in the bathroom

The home is filled with the owners’ own collection of antique furniture and accessories, some of which were left behind by the previous owner. The ambiance is one of warmth and genteel hospitality which the owners love to share with their guests.
So, if you ever get a chance to visit Calgary and want to stay in a well located, five star Canada Select historic bed and breakfast look no further than this home. If you want more info check out their web site: http://www.twingables.ca/. When you talk to Diedre tell her I said hello!”People need to take interest in preserving these beautiful old homes – or soon they will all be gone” – Dierdre, owner of Twin GablesSo, three cheers for you owners of Bed and Breakfasts!

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