Glacier Holdings Ltd. was incorporated in May 1969 by long-time Banff resident Leagh Kendal. The company was established to acquire, develop and lease commercial and residential property.
Prior to Glacier’s establishment, Leagh, at the young age of 20, purchased a commercial lot on 16th Avenue in Calgary for $2,500 from a Banff neighbour. In 1957, during a particularly cold winter, a three story retail/office building was erected on the lot.
During the early 1960s, Leagh was involved in a number of construction projects in Banff including constructing Phil’s Pancake House on Spray Avenue, building an addition onto the Luxton Museum and erecting the Banff Scout Hall on Lynx Street.
During the latter 1960s, Leagh focused on residential properties within Banff. He employed a small crew to improve these various buildings, including the installation of additional suites.
In 1973, Glacier acquired a commercial building on three downtown commercial lots in the middle of the 200 block of Banff Avenue. The existing building was razed in 1974 so construction of Sundance Mall could begin. Leagh could often be seen digging by hand in the large 14,000 square foot hole which would eventually become Glacier’s biggest achievement. In 1988, Glacier completed a second commercial building appropriately named Bear Street Mall, on Bear Street behind Sundance Mall.
By the early 1980s, Glacier looked to Canmore for further investment opportunities since Canmore was less developed, less expensive and less encumbered than Banff. With the help of Leagh’s oldest son, Don, an accountant who joined Glacier as Managing Director in mid 1988, Glacier erected several buildings in the downtown area, eventually becoming the largest owner of property on Canmore’s Main Street.
Glacier’s long list of tenants, past and present, is a veritable Who’s Who of Banff-Canmore history over the past 25 years. The downtown streetscapes of both Banff and Canmore will continue to show the company’s success for many years to come.