hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:04:04 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information

Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Doors Open Alberta


The most important public building in Alberta is the familiar Legislative Assembly Building overlooking the banks of the North Saskatchewan River and, formerly, the remains of Fort Edmonton. The juxtaposition of these two important historic sites suggests the transformation of Alberta from a resource hinterland to a modern province. It was a building that suggested a social order and political power to be aspired to.

The architect, A. M. Jeffers, supervised work on the Building from 1907 to 1912. He is also credited with designing a number of Alberta's best known public buildings, including courthouses in Calgary, Fort Saskatchewan, Cardston, Wetaskiwin and the Normal School in Calgary. As Janet Wright notes in "How to Research and Evaluate Government and Commercial Buildings," the classical Beaux-Arts style dominated public buildings in Alberta in the first three decades of the 20th century. The common examples of this style are the Normal School in Calgary (1906–08), now the McDougall Centre, the Macdonald Hotel and Government House in Edmonton. She notes:

The architectural and historical significance of these two buildings, which were intended to serve as imposing landmarks representing important public and commercial institutions, is easy to recognize.
But architectural significance is not associated exclusively with large public buildings. The small commercial and government buildings that can be found in every community are just as important in preserving an image of the past as are those few outstanding architectural monuments generally found only in larger cities. The post office in High River is a typical example of a small federal building designed by the Department of Public Works in Ottawa. Variations of this design can be found in smaller towns and cities across the country. (Wright, "How to Research and Evaluate Government and Commercial Buildings," Heritage Notes (Edmonton: Alberta Comunity Development, 1994), pp. 3-4.)

Building materials and technology developed with the province and very early on the use of reinforced concrete allowed the development of multi-storey buildings that grace Alberta's cities and towns.

The Alberta Online EncyclopediaHeritage Community FoundationTravel Alberta CanadaTravel Alberta Canada