During the early 1900s, Mount Royal was promoted by the C.P.R. as an exclusive neighbourhood for Calgary’s affluent citizens. The neighbourhood was originally known as American Hill, because of the large number of Americans who settled there. Later the area was formally named Mount Royal, after the Montreal community which was home to the then president of the C.P.R, William E. Van Horne. Mount Royal developed rapidly between 1904 and 1914. Restrictive covenants were placed on the titles of properties which restricted development to single family dwellings and set minimum housing construction costs. The exclusive character of the community has been maintained over the years.
The Lower Mount Royal area was annexed to the City in 1907, and was part of the original C.P.R. subdivision of Mount Royal in 1909. Most of the houses in the area were constructed during Calgary’s 1910-1912 building boom, and gained a reputation as an exclusive residential district. It was the home of many of Calgary’s elite, including Colonel James Macleod, and the A.E. Cross family. Unlike the Mount Royal district, however, Lower Mount Royal was subdivided into fifty foot lots; and wood and stucco were the predominant building materials as compared to the brick and sandstone in Mount Royal. Many of the lots were further subdivided into twenty-five foot lots and developed with houses of wood frame construction, similar to those of the Beltline district. The community has experienced dramatic changes in the last twenty years. Much of its residential, and an increasing proportion of its commercial areas have been redeveloped to accommodate Calgary’s rapid growth. The Area Redevelopment Plan encourages the continuation of this trend in a manner which reflects community and city-wide objectives, and fosters medium density residential and commercial development.