McKay Avenue School
has played a very significant role in the educational and political
history of Edmonton and of Alberta.
oldest brick school bears Dr. William Morrison MacKay's name, albeit
incorrectly spelled, on the sandstone tablet above the 1904 entrance
doors. Born in Scotland, Dr. MacKay joined the Hudson's Bay Company
in 1864 and served as the firm's doctor until 1898 when he retired
of the school commenced in 1904, when Governor General Lord Minto
laid the school's cornerstone. Designed by architect H.G. Johnson,
the eight-room structure was completed by contractor Robert Manson
in the summer of 1905, the year Alberta became a province.
rooms were added to the school in 1912 at a cost of $68,000 and
enrolments continued to grow, reaching a high of 456 pupils in 1916.
A number of prominent individuals are recorded in the classroom
registers of the historic school. Among the illustrious alumni are
such names as Ronald Martland, a Justice of the Supreme Court of
Canada; Leslie Nielsen of Hollywood fame; Clarence Campbell of the
National Hockey League; author Lotta Dempsey, and famed bush pilot
after 78 years of operation, McKay Avenue School was closed because
of declining enrolments. A trustee committee established that it
would be best to restore the school to its original grandeur so that
it would reflect the educational and parliamentary history of
Alberta through displays and interpretive programs.
1976, McKay Avenue School was designated a registered historic
resource by Cultural Minister Horst Schmid. On September 18, 1987
Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé participated in a
cornerstone ceremony to re-dedicate the school to another century of
now enhance their knowledge of our educational and political past
within the historic school wherein so much of our history