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Deerfoot Trail Calgary – Where did the name come from?

  • February 16, 2013
  • By Cody Battershill

Deerfoot Trail Calgary – Where did the name come from?

Deerfoot Trail Calgary - Calgaryism Fact 13

Calgaryism Fact #13

Deerfoot Trail is named after the legendary long-distance runner, API-KAI-EES, aka DEERFOOT, who couriered messages on foot between forts in Southern Alberta.


Api-kai-ees was a Blackfoot Indian Runner in Canada’s western plains during the late 1800’s. Back in the day, professional running was a very popular form of entertainment, where local and foreign professionals would pit themselves against each other in fierce competition.

Api-kai-ees developed a reputation on his reserve as a natural at long-distance running. From 1884 to 1886 he participated in minor races held at an indoor track in the recently established City of Calgary.

He completed a staggering 84 miles and 6 laps in a race against two other professionals in 1886, during a time allotment of 16 hours. He won and thereafter was known as Deerfoot, a popular term used by a world-record setting Seneca Indian named Ha-ga-sa-do-ni, who participated in races all the way over in London at the Crystal Palace itself!

In the 1970’s, Calgary built a major highway from north to south, as well as a large shopping centre and industrial area and named them all after Deerfoot, the proclaimed long-distance runner of the western prairies.

*Sourced from

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