A Calgary man is giving new life to a piece of city history that was destined for the dumpster. The long-lost piece of the past is now going back to its old home.
John McDermid had an oil painting of the old Crescent Heights library hanging in his garage for the past 20 years.
McDermid was part of a volunteer crew that came across the painting while cleaning out a storage room in the nearby Crescent Heights Community Hall two decades ago.
“I said ‘No, that can’t go in the bin,’” McDermid said.
After saving the painting from the trash, McDermid hung it on the wall inside his garage.
“It accumulated some dirt over the years,” he said.
McDermid recently got out a brush and cloth, and cleaned the dust off the painting, readying it to donate to a dentist near his home.
The family of Dr. Gilbert Ng had converted the old library to a dental clinic after purchasing the building shortly after the Calgary Public Library closed the Crescent Heights branch in 1994.
The library had been operating since it opened in 1943.
“The building was originally a restaurant and dance place,” McDermid said. “It opened in 1939.”
When McDermid presented the restored painting to Ng, the dentist was impressed.
“Wow, this is incredible!” Ng said.
Ng plans to hang the painting in his waiting room, providing a bit of a fun history lesson for his patients.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see a piece of history like this, immortalized in an oil painting,” Ng said. “It’s very well-restored – looks like it’s professionally done.”