Just days after the death of former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, staff at the historic home built by his grandparents are appalled that graffiti was sprayed on the much-loved building.
Lougheed House was targeted sometime late Saturday or early Sunday. One or more vandals managed to climb up to the second storey of the Beltline mansion and tag the sloping metal roof of the secondary tower, a chimney, and an east-facing sandstone wall.
Lougheed House executive director Blane Hogue said he believes it’s just a coincidence the mischief is timed so closely with the former premier’s death, but it’s a hurtful piece of vandalism.
“What terrible desecration of this place, which is so much a part of our history and which is occurring while we’re mourning the death of Mr. Lougheed,” Hogue said.
Lougheed house was not just a place that bore the family name. It was somewhere the former premier often visited, sitting down with his family for lunch in the restaurant.
The graffiti is clearly visible from the grounds and will be expensive to clean up.
Of particular concern is the sandstone. Hogue said the paint seeps into the rock, making it near impossible to completely remove.
“I honestly don’t believe there’s a political message or anything connected with the Lougheeds,” he said.
“But it’s very sad and it’s going to be difficult and expensive to remove.”
Hogue said there have been minor bits of graffiti before, but nothing approaching this scale. There are metal barriers that prevent people from climbing the outdoor stairs to the roof, and security looks in on the grounds every hour overnight. Since Lougheed’s death on Thursday, outpourings of fond memories of the Alberta icon and of his long and storied political career have come in from all corners of the province and across the country.
On Sunday, Lougheed’s body was driven to Edmonton, where it will lie in state for two days at the provincial legislature.
Lougheed House is owned by the province and operated by the Lougheed House Conservation Society. It opened to the public seven years ago, and includes the gardens.
On Sunday, Calgarians strolled through the property and the heritage building. Many couldn’t help but notice the graffiti.
David Spaulding even spotted an empty spray paint can in the grass near a flower bed.
“No respect for the past,” he said. “No respect, period.”
By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald