In April 1976, six people had the idea to start a court in Calgary, Alberta. They got together and organized a committee and started to work. They held meetings to set the ground work on what needed to be done to start a new EMPIRE. After several of these meetings, an application was made to the Mother Court of Canada, (Vancouver, BC), for a charter in Calgary. The charter was granted. It was not an easy task to choose the name of Calgary’s court as our capital city of Edmonton had already chosen the Wild Rose, our provincial flower as part of their court name. Instead, we looked to a weather phenomenon that occurs frequently throughout our winters. Thus The Imperial Court of the Chinook Arch was born. Chinook arch is the Cree Indian term for “warm winds or warm breath” from folklore in this region. In the middle of winter the temperature can be as low as -30 degrees Celsius and in a matter of a few hours rise to a balmy +10 degrees, which is like the coming of spring in the middle of winter.
Until Calgary received its charter in June of 1976, it operated under the charter of the Scarth Street Society. Once our own charter was received, plans were put into motion for Calgary’s first Coronation in January 1977. Coronation held at the downtown Holiday Inn, in front of a sold out crowd. Calgary saw the election of its first Emperor and Empress, Jack and Veronica Dawn. HMIM the Empress of Canada, Ted Northe presided over the evening’s events. It was also at this time that Brian Sargent was elevated to be the Empress of Canada’s official representative for the province of Alberta. With the assistance of the first Emperor and Empress, the position of CzarI Ultima of Alberta was created.
We are now celebrating our 43st year and reign serving the community and people of Calgary. Many changes have occurred. We are the oldest gay organization still operating in the city of Calgary. Our Empire runs from the 403 area code (as well as the 587 area code ) Red Deer south to the US border. We have an elected Board of Directors consisting of eleven positions; President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and four other directors that are elected at the Annual General Meeting in June. We also have the Head of the Trustees on the board. The Trustees ensure that the objectives of the Court are maintained. Finally, the Emperor and Empress sit on the board until the time their step down the following year.
The Court has operated as a not for profit (as we raise money for non-profit organizations) to ensure the maximum amount of money is raised and given out to local organizations and charities, throughout Calgary both gay and straight, at the Annual Charity Ball, the name given the Coronation Ball during the 16th Reign with Emperor XVI Little John and Empress XVI Syreeta Santana, as this is what it really is.
Now as we continue into our 43st year, we look forward to serving the people and communities of Calgary and look forward to meeting new people and old friends into the future!!