Shirley Park: Honoring a Strong and Independent Woman
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Mary Cheston
You may have noticed the feminine theme for many of the streets and parks in our community. The final section of New Town continues this trend with Shirley Park, but just who was Shirley?
Shirley (Wong Kit Mui*) Quan was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to Canada as a young bride at the age of 20. First and foremost, she was a wife and young mother but her independence led her to venture into the hospitality and culinary industry. When her husband, William, opened his first restaurant, the Golden Eagle Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta, she would, in its infancy, aid in all facets despite working full-time and maintaining a household. She loved gardening, her daily walks and spending time outdoors, especially in and around Banff and Lake Louise. She also enjoyed being hostess to large gatherings of family and friends and would whip up 8 course meals like it was a breeze. She loved a good conversation and good debate about worldly politics. Above all, she was most proud of being a wife, mother and doting grandmother. According to her granddaughter, Samantha Forsyth, Shirley set an example as a business leader – she encouraged her three daughters (and grandchildren, two being granddaughters) at an early age to be independent, strong and confident. She also urged them to pursue their dreams and to never have to fully rely on a spouse.
Shirley Quan and Samantha Forsyth
Shirley was also the beloved mother-in-law of one of the developers of New Town. Samantha’s father, Jody, and New Town developer Mike Youngblood have become the best of friends and business partners as Mike continues to develop residential phases in New Town, including Shirley Park. Although Shirley was unable to visit New Town, the progress of this venture was part of her family’s daily conversations. When the developers were looking for a strong female presence to memorialize in New Town, honoring Shirley seemed like a good fit. Shirley passed away in 2017 before groundbreaking for the new section occurred. “She would have loved it here,” said Samantha.
*in Chinese culture, surname appears first