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Ian Tyson monument unveiled south of Calgary

Ian Tyson monument unveiled south of Calgary
Ian Tyson monument unveiled south of Calgary

The memory of a Canadian music legend will live on at a Foothills location he knew so well.

Famed singer and songwriter Ian Tyson has wowed audiences for years. Now, the music legend’s memory will live on in one of his favorite places to perform.

East Longview Hall in Foothills County was chosen as the site for a permanent memorial in Tyson’s honor. It was unveiled during a private ceremony on July 4, with members of Tyson’s family and about 100 friends and colleagues from the music industry in attendance.

The memorial, on the north side of the building, includes a plaque and a mural of Tyson strumming a guitar. Tyson died Dec. 29, 2022, at his ranch in Longview at age 89.

Adelita Tyson Bell, Tyson’s daughter, said the hall is a fitting location for the tribute.

“Dad performed here for over 20 years,” Tyson Bell said. “It was his favorite place to perform and if you ever went to one of the concerts, you know how special they were.”

The mural was created by Longview artist Matts Zoumer, who also incorporated some of Ian Tyson’s trademarks into the painting.

“We had to make sure he had his purple shirt on and his wild rag, and then he also had his buddy, the magpie, with him,” Tyson Bell said.

Veteran musicians present at the ceremony included Corb Lund, Jeff Bradshaw, Myran Szott and Julian Kerr, all of whom have played with Tyson over the years.

After the unveiling, Tyson’s old friends John Scott, Neil MacGonigill and Delilah Miller gave speeches.

MacGonigill became Tyson’s manager after the two met in 1977.

“I think he was the best songwriter this country has ever produced,” he said.

Miller said she met Tyson through concerts at East Longview Hall.

People came from far and wide to see Tyson play in the hall, Miller said.

“People came from all over the world because of his personal interaction and this picturesque location,” she said.

During his fifty-year career, Tyson has received dozens of awards and honors, including induction into the Western Music Hall of Fame in 2008, an Alberta Order of Excellence and the first CM Russell Heritage Award in 2010.

In 1987 he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2005 Four strong winds was voted the greatest Canadian song of all time by CBC Radio One listeners on the series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version.

“He took pride in what he did,” MacGonigill said. “We were lucky to have him.”

The memorial is open to the public and is located in the hills where the late singer lived.

“We hope that everyone here, and everyone in the community, will enjoy this mural for years to come,” said Tyson Bell.