Lemonade, 5 Cents a Glass

A family friend, Andrew Nielsen aged 92, lives near Eckville, Alberta, but often comes to Calgary for medical treatment. As we drive by the Stampede grounds enroute to his appointment, he tells the story of how “Calgary Hospitality” started at the first Stampede.

In 1912, his Grandparents, John and Marie Nielsen, and their 5 children came to the first Stampede.  They drove their team and wagon twenty five miles from their farm in the Kneehill district to Innisfail, where they boarded the train for Calgary. They arrived at the CPR station and walked across the sandy soil toward the Stampede grounds. It had been a long trip, and they were hot, tired and thirsty when they came upon a lemonade stand near the grandstand with a sign “Lemonade 5 cents a glass”. When the man running the stand saw them, and realized that they could not afford 7 glasses, he quickly said “5 cents for the whole family”…. And a legend was born. The story has been passed down through the generations for 100 years. The legend of Calgary hospitality was born….

Submitted by
Charlotte Murray