FAMILY - Norman Luxton

Norman Luxton

Norman K. Luxton (1876-1962) was known as “Mr. Banff.” He published the Banff Crag and Canyon newspaper, built the King Edward Hotel and the Lux Theatre in Banff, and founded the Sign of the Goat Curio Shop, which led to the development of the Luxton Museum of Plains Indians, now the Buffalo Nations Museum.

He was one of the organizers of Banff Indian Days and the Banff Winter Carnival. Norman was also made an honorary chief of the Stoney tribe and given the name Chief White Shield.

Norman was the son of Manitoba (now Winnipeg) Free Press co-founder, William Luxton. After working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Norman Luxton travelled, and then joined the Calgary Herald newspaper for eight years.

In 1901, he journeyed 10,000 miles on the Pacific Ocean in the dug-out canoe Tilikum (meaning “friend”) with Captain Jack Voss. Luxton endured five months and thousands of kilometres of travel before abandoning the trip for medical attention in Australia. He saw the Pacific in its mildest and wildest moods, but as Luxton noted, the vicious storms were “as nothing compared to the clash of personalities” between the two men stuck with each other’s company in small quarters for many weeks.

After becoming ill, Luxton abandoned the trip in Fiji and came to Banff to recuperate. (His sailing partner, Capt. John Voss completed the around-the-world trip.) Luxton kept notes of the voyage; his Tilikum Journal, edited by his daughter Eleanor, was published in 1971. Not surprisingly, Captain Voss wrote his own account of the voyage. The Tilikum now resides in the B.C. Maritime Museum in Victoria.

Luxton bought the Banff Crag and Canyon newspaper in 1902 and remained as publisher until 1951. Also in 1902, he established the Sign of the Goat Curio store, which specialized in Stoney Indian handicrafts and taxidermy specimens. Other significant Luxton businesses were the King Edward Hotel and Livery, Luxton Bros. insurance (with brother Louis Luxton) and the Lux Block, which included the Lux Theatre and retail stores.

In 1904, Norman Luxton married Georgina (Georgie) Elizabeth McDougall, 1872-1965, of the pioneer missionary McDougall family of Morley, Alberta. Norman and Georgie Luxton had one child, Eleanor Georgina, born in Banff in 1908.

The Luxtons were important Banff "boosters" with involvement in numerous local organizations and events. Norman Luxton managed the Banff Indian Days from 1909 to 1950, was a founder of Banff Winter Carnival and was involved with native events at the Calgary Stampede for 25 years. In 1953, Norman established a museum to house his native artifacts. The Luxton Museum of the Plains Indians was built in co-operation with Eric Harvie of the Glenbow Foundation of Calgary.