Oliver Bowen

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Oliver Bowen
Born (1942-12-21)December 21, 1942
Amber Valley, Alberta, Canada
Died January 1, 2000(2000-01-01) (aged 57)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Monuments Oliver Bowen LRT Maintenance Facility
Occupation Civil engineer

Oliver Bowen (December 21, 1942 – January 1, 2000) was a Canadian engineer who managed the design and construction of the first line of Calgary's light rail transit system: the CTrain.[1] The City of Calgary acknowledged his engineering work by naming a Light Rail Transit (LRT) maintenance facility in his honour.


Oliver Bowen was the grandson of Willis Reese Bowen and the son of Obadiah Bowen, who were among the first black settlers and civic leaders in Amber Valley.[2] Following Clifford Sifton's 1910 Canadian immigration campaign to lure settlers from Southern US states as part of the Great Migration (African American), many black settlers came to Alberta. The Canadian government tried to bar black people from settling in Canada and hired agents to dissuade them, but was only successful in barring future settlers.[2]


Bowen started working on Calgary's street construction crews and rose to manage the design and construction of Calgary’s first LRT line.[3][4] The Calgary C-Train started service May 25, 1981.[5] In 1984 he was named the City of Calgary's Director of Transportation, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.


In 2009, the City of Calgary named its largest maintenance facility after Bowen to honour his work.[6] The Oliver Bowen LRT Maintenance Facility (OBMF) in northeast Calgary is a $6.5 million rail facility.[7]

Bowen and his brother grew up with Cheryl Foggo, who profiled Bowen in a documentary.[3] In May 2014, the play The Real McCoy was performed in tribute to Bowen, alongside a play by Cheryl Foggo.[3]


  1. ^ Bell, David. "Hidden history explored in new doc as Alberta celebrates Black History Month". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Brennan, Brian. "John Ware wasn't the only black settler in Alberta at the turn of the 20th century". Brian Brennan. Brian Brennan. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Hunt, Stephen (3/5/2014). "Thanks to The Real McCoy, Andrew Moodie found a way to celebrate our black heroes". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2017.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "Calgary Opens Up". Calgary Real Estate Board. Calgary Real Estate Board. 19 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Annalise, Klingbeil (17 November 2016). "Calgary's very first CTrain car retires after 2.5 million km career". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  6. ^ "Route Ahead: A Strategic Plan for Transit in Calgary (2013)" (PDF). Calgary Transit. City of Calgary. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017. 
  7. ^ "Calgary Oliver Bowen LRT Maintenance Facility". PNR Railworks. PNR Railworks. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017.