Freeze, Isaac Sanford
• 118 - 4th Avenue SE
Isaac Freeze was born in 1847 in Penobsquis, New Brunswick. Originally trained as a teacher, he was soon involved in business, and in 1883 left behind his wife, Evelyn, and two children to follow the lure of the West. A prolific writer of letters home to his wife, Freeze described in detail the adventures that he experienced on his way to the western frontier.
On his arrival at the tent city of Calgary, Freeze and a partner decided to build a store, I. S Freeze & Co.: "each investing $1,000, we will build on as cheap a scale as possible. It is hard to tell how I will succeed out here but I have hopes." Supplies for the store had to be shipped the long distance by rail from Winnipeg, and new challenges had to be faced: the North West Territories had a far different climate than New Brunswick. Freeze wrote: "It will cost me about $70 to fix up [the store] comfortably. This is now Sunday evening and the thermometer says 28 below zero. I will not get to church tonight – have to keep putting wood in the stove every few minutes."
The following spring, Evelyn and the children joined Freeze. The local entrepreneurs drew lots to see where they would build their businesses in the frontier town of Calgary. Freeze drew the 50th lot out of 60 draws, but soon moved his store to a more prosperous Stephen Avenue location. In 1889, he journeyed north to the Klondike to prospect for gold, and stayed for five years, eventually returning to Calgary and his prospering general store.
Freeze served as a member of Calgary’s first town council and developed national fame as one of the best shots in the West. He died in 1936.