Why Are They Called The Calgary Flames?

Seen In Calgary #2: The C Of Red

One of my favourite things about Calgary is the Olympic torch. Unlike that goofy looking 5 headed hydra in Vancouver, the main flame in Calgary stands atop of the Calgary Tower and can be seen from as far as 25km away.

The Olympic torch carried by the runners in the 1988 Olympic relay was a replica of the tower that, back in 1968 when it was built, was the tallest structure in the city. Now, every now and again, the torch on the Calgary Tower gets re-lit.

When the Olympic relay came to town in 2010, a match was lit. When Canada struck gold in the 2010 Olympics, the flame went up. And this weekend, when the Heritage Classic rolled in to town, the spark went up again over the city.

Calgary Tower

Image via Colby Stopa on Flickr

It’s a fabulous symbol of the legacy of the games and the spirit of Calgary. It is a bat-signal sort of reminder for all who can see that this is a world class city that knows how to throw a party.

So why are they called the Calgary Flames?

The Calgary Flames were given that name because that was the name of the franchise when it moved here from Atlanta. The team’s name originated from the burning of Atlanta led by U.S. Army general William Sherman during the American Civil War.

Calgary was awarded the 1988 Olympics just a few months after the Calgary Flames came to town and based on the spirit in the city it would be easy to argue the team is named after that flame.

**UPDATE** Another reason to light the torch? on March 21, 2011 The Calgary Tower was lit to celebrate Shell’s 100th Anniversary in Canada.

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