Richardson, Ernie L.
• 1103 - 7th Street SW
Earnest (Ernie) Richardson was born at Wicklow, Ontario in 1876. He grew up on a farm and, after a short time as a jouneyman printer, decided that a career in farming was more to his liking. After two years at the Ontario Agricultural college located in Guelph, he became manager of a dairy plant.
The year 1901 saw Richardson travel west to Regina, where he joined the Department of Agriculture for the Northwest Territories. Shortly after beginning his new duties, he was appointed assistant to the Minister of Agriculture.
Richardson then moved to Calgary in 1903 to accept the position of assistant manager for the Calgary Exhibition and also worked as the assistant secretary of the Calgary Board of Trade; he spent the majority of his time working for the exhibition, and became manager of this organization in 1907. Soon after his appointment, he demonstrated his managerial ability by organizing a very successful Dominion Exhibition during the summer of 1908. Called the "Inter-Western Pacific Exhibition" at this time, the name of the show changed twice before becoming the "Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd" in 1910.
During the 33 years Richardson served as manager of the Stampede, he constantly worked for, and largely achieved, variety, excitement and substance to Calgary’s biggest attraction. In the beginning years, attendance at the Stampede was a few thousand – by the time he retired in 1940 the attendance had almost reached a quarter of a million. Richardson realized that more was needed than the original draw of livestock; he scoured the country for barn-stormers, hot-air balloons, and trapeze acts until the stampede (consisting primarily of rodeo events) became the main attraction, starting in 1923. The slogan "The Whole World Wants to Come" was first formulated by Richardson, and has been copied internationally. Despite all of the international flash of the Stampede, Richardson never forgot the agricultural roots of the show, and worked for the representation of the stockmen throughout his career as manager.
He retired at 65 with his wife to North Vancouver, where he lived, passionately gardening, until his death in 1952.