Title and statement of responsibility area
Christina Olsen fonds
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- Textual record
- Graphic material
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- Source of title proper: The title is based on content of fonds.
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Dates of creation area
- Olsen, Christina Sharon
Physical description area
0.01m textual. -- 63 photographs. -- 38 negatives.
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Name of creator
Christina Sharon Olsen was born in Claresholm, Alberta in 1947. Until her transition in July 2004, Christina was known as Christian Harvey Olsen. She was the eldest of five children born to father Lewis E. Olsen (born Calgary 1921, deceased 1991) and mother Fleurette R. Olsen (born 1924 in Jonquiere Quebec). Christina had one brother, Harvey (born 1948), and three sisters: Jacqueline (born 1952), Linda (born 1958), and Brenda (born 1960).
After graduating Claresholm high school in 1965, Christina attended the University of Calgary, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1975). Chris married in 1976, later ending the marriage in 1981.
Upon graduation, Christina worked as an engineer both overseas and in Canada, primarily in Angola and Algeria between 1977 and 2002. A few of the several companies she worked for over her career included Cariboo Pulp & Paper in Quesnel, BC (Project Engineer, 1976), CJL Calgary (Project and Maintenance Engineer, 1976), Belgian oil company Petrofina (1978), and finally, PetroCanada.
Christina kept a home base in Canada while working overseas, initially rooming with a sister and brother-in-law on their Bearspaw acreage in the late 70s and early 80s, and then later purchasing a quarter section of land in Bragg Creek around 1985. Upon returning home to Bragg Creek in 1999, Christina broached the subject of undergoing gender reassignment surgery with her doctor.
In February 2001, Christina was accepted into the University of Calgary’s Health Sciences Centre gender program. Acceptance to this program was the first step for Christina to qualify for provincial government funding for her gender reassignment surgery. At this time, Christina changed her name to Christina Sharon Olsen.
In August 2003, Christina received notice that the Government of Alberta had approved her funding for the surgery. In July 2004, Christina traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona to undergo her gender reassignment surgery. As a Type-1 diabetic, Christina had limited options for surgeons who could carry out the procedure, with Scottsdale having the nearest viable facility.
After her surgery, Christina sold her Bragg Creek property and relocated to an acreage west of Calgary. She passed away on November 1, 2010.
Records were donated to the Provincial Archives of Alberta by Christina’s sister, Jacqueline (Jackie) Olsen in 2013.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records relating to the life and work of Christina Sharon Olsen. The records include a news article from the Calgary Herald published in 2009 detailing Christina’s childhood and experience as a preoperative trans woman living and working in Alberta and overseas; report cards and photographs from Christina’s schooling in Claresholm, Alberta between 1953 and 1965; photographs documenting Christina’s work as a drilling engineer in Africa and Alberta between 1977 and 2000; and photographs of Christina’s cats and visiting wildlife to her acreage west of Calgary taken in the years after her gender reassignment surgery in 2004.
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Material arranged according to original order.
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Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.
File list is available.
Further accruals are expected.
The information in the administrative history was sourced from the fonds.
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Provincial Archives of Alberta