The Mission District was founded by French Canadian priests who established a parish in the area in the 1870s. Originally named Rouleauville, it was changed to Mission in 1907 when the area was annexed by the City of Calgary.
The Mission District is home to the Holy Cross Hospital which stands on the site of Calgary's first Catholic hospital. In January of 1891, four Grey Nuns from Montreal started a mission which had room for six patients and one stove. By 1892, they opened a new hospital which housed 35 patients. The hospital went through several enlargements and renovations. In 1969 the Alberta government took over the hospital; in March of 1996, the Holy Cross was closed due to health care funding cutbacks.
The Canadian Northern Railway Station was also in the Mission District. In 1911, the Railway purchased St. Mary's Parish Hall from the Oblate Fathers. The first train arrived in 1913, and the last one left in 1971. In 1979, the City acquired the building, and in 1987, after major renovations, the hall became a dance studio and office space.
Before the First World War and after, the Mission District was home to many of the city's newcomers. Many of them lived in single family wood-frame houses and apartment buildings. It's hard to imagine today, but downtown Calgary was a fair distance away, so 4th Street became the commercial centre.