January 16, 2017 4 min read

Hello YYC, happy Monday! Another week another guest blog, this week from Sebastian and Emilie from Tom's House of PizzaPlease read and enjoy!


Everyone has a story to tell. We like telling ours because we love being one of those things that makes Calgary unique. Our story began in June of 1963 at the south end of Macleod Trail. At the time, this part of Macleod Trail was not the bustling, busy area it is today. The bourgeoning communities of Acadia and Kelvin Grove were just beginning to be developed, while the more established communities of Fairview, Kingsland, Meadowlark Park, and Chinook Park were barely more than a decade old. A few blocks north, the recently completedChinook Centre had just opened its doors three years prior and on the east side of the far end of Macleod Trail was aJB’s Big Boy; the last stop on the Trail wasTom’s House of Pizza. Established by the eponymous Tom,Tom’s became an integral part of the surrounding communities, and Calgary as a whole. Indeed, our sign on Macleod Trail was the first to greet Calgarians coming back into town from the south, and the last to say goodbye. Since then, we’ve watched as other restaurants and businesses have established themselves around us, and seen the communities grow and expand; all the while we’ve maintained our traditions and kept our little part of Macleod Trail just as it was in the early days.

Photo by: Amber Dunleavy

But the story ofTom’s is not really about a sign that welcomed back and waved goodbye; it is not the story of a little pizzeria that managed to ingratiate itself to the residents of a newly developing part of town; nor is it the story of how that restaurant weathered the peaks and valleys of Alberta’s boom and bust economy for over 50 years. Rather, it is a story about people: those who worked here and those who came to eat here. And, most importantly, how they became a part of the fabric of our story, and Calgary’s as a whole.


Photo by: Amber Dunleavy

Every week it seems, someone comes up to me and recounts his or her ownTom’s story. So many of our customers have them, and it is precisely what makes this business so much fun. For instance, there’s the story of the employee who met his future wife while working his way through university. His soon-to-be wife was hanging out atTom’s, the place to be for many teens and twenty-somethings on Friday and Saturday nights. They hit it off and within a few years a young daughter was enjoying a little pizza from her dad’s workplace. Since then he has moved on to a new career in oil & gas in another part of Alberta, but recently came to Calgary and stopped byTom’s with his family to tell us about his career, to reminisce about his years here, and to introduce his other daughters and his grand-daughter to the best pizza around –Tom’sis really a multi-generational affair!


Photo by: Amber Dunleavy

There’s also the story of one of our most loyal  customers. This hard-working Calgary native  discoveredTom’s about 40 years ago and,  without fail, would come toTom’sweekly for a  pepperoni pizza and cup of coffee – until one day  he didn’t.  His absence prompted nervous phone  calls. “What happened?” we wondered. “It’s not  like him.” Our fears were soon eased when he  returned a few weeks later and everything turned  out to be fine. Since then he continues to come in  every Wednesday, at 10:45 AM. Sharp! It’s always  a pleasure to chat with him about his life in  Calgary while we wait for his pizza to cook.


Photo by: Amber Dunleavy

There is also the story of John, who hitchhiked  and rode boxcars out to Calgary in the mid-60s to  see what everyone was talking about. After  working at thePalliser Hotel, he eventually came  to work for Tom in 1967. Falling in love with it right away, he vowed to one day own a Tom’s location. After a few years atTom’s, John left to pursue a career in the medical industry. And, after stops in Ottawa & Vancouver, he returned to Calgary and fulfilled his dream. Today he not only owns the original location on Macleod Trail, but also the franchise itself. His story leads to our own!

Photo by: Amber Dunleavy

Because our parents ownedTom’s, my sister and I grew up around the restaurant; when we were teenagers, we were expected to work for them!Tom’s is where we worked while in school, and where we gathered with family and friends to enjoy a great meal. Though we would leaveTom’sfor a time, whether to travel or to pursue a different career, my sister and I would eventually come back. There is something unique and special that drew us back here: perhaps it’s the history of the place or the special place it holds for us all; maybe it’s the promise of working with family and the joy of having your co-workers feel like a family. Either way, we hope that, if you have the chance, you will add your story to our own and help to make our family a little bigger.



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