Toole Peet 1897 - 1997

An Enduring Partnership

Barney Toole and George Peet arrived in Canada from Ireland in the late 1800’s with virtually no possessions. They both, however, had an unanswerable sense of honesty and an unending belief in the value of work. They built their business in the frontier farming and ranching town of Calgary upon that reputation and it has endured. Four generations later, the city and its commerce have changed. But the Toole Peet style hasn’t. Enjoy reading about the first 100 years of Toole Peet and in turn a History of the beautiful City of Calgary.

The Galt Coal Contract

Group of millarville-priddis ranchers

And, like the Toole Peet partnership that would survive through many eras of prosperity and hard times by carefully maintaining one secure source of income while nurturing new sources, George Peet obtained the agency for the sale of Galt Coal. This fuel, which burned more cleanly than most coals then generally available, was transported from the Lethbridge area by barge to Medicine Hat and from there to Calgary by rail.

It enjoyed a high reputation and was sold by the Galt family to users across Canada and the western United States. It was a lucrative contract for Peet as it gave his agency control of the market in Calgary for the best and most practical source of heat in the often bitter winters. The houses of the era had little insulation, were drafty and their furnaces were constantly hungry.

As he developed his business, George Peet also developed his reputation in the town as a bachelor, an honest businessman, a solid drinker and a ‘great favorite with the opposite sex’. All in all, George Peet settled happily into western life and enjoyed it immensely.

Sandstone Replaces Shacks

Calgary, while not exactly up to the style of the Eastern establishment, was a far cry from the wild west show that many imagined. Substantial sandstone homes and commercial blocks were replacing the board shacks and false fronted stores built in the rush following the completion of the CPR tracks to the town. By-laws were passed to keep cattle off the street – although enforcement was not always speedy. The streets weren’t paved but there were board sidewalks, and traffic followed an orderly pattern along streets and avenues laid out in a grid by the pragmatic railway engineers. There were schools, rudimentary healthcare and dentistry (for those to whom the pain of the cure could be justified).

George Peet, Eric Harvie, Chester De La Vergne & H. Sibbald

Calgarians were a robust crowd. They were just as eager to earn a dollar at hard work as they were eager to test their strengths and skills after work at sports and roaming the countryside.

For sportsmen like George, the hunting and fishing were probably beyond the imagination of us today: the prairie, the coulees, the mountain slopes, and the river valleys were waiting.

For those who preferred organized, competitive sports, the traditions brought from the Old Country by the settlers continued on with particular enthusiasm. There were tennis clubs, polo grounds, curling rinks, and cricket pitches. The golfers had a course just south of the CPR railway station. The halls of the town were regularly jammed to watch prize fights.

Connect With Us

Local Touch. National Strength

how can We Help?

You are in the right place.