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Heritage Community FoundationAlberta's Political History - The Making of a Province
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Political Institutions

Legislature Grounds

Lawn bowling greensIn 1906 the Rutherford Government purchased 21 acres from the Hudson's Bay Company at $4000 an acre as a site for the Legislative Assembly.  This enabled the Assembly to be surrounded by lawns and gardens, particularly to the south between the river and the new building.  Later governments made other improvements including a bandstand and the popular lawn bowling greens which are still in use.  A skating rink was added in 1986.

To the north, houses, businesses and a street railway line crowded almost up to the front steps of the building.  Aerial view of Legislature grounds, 1940sBeginning in 1928, governments gradually bought up properties between 107th and 109th Streets, and a distinctive government office district emerged including the Federal Public Building and the Bowker and Haultain buildings.

In 1974 the Lougheed government introduced plans to redevelop the north side of the Legislature grounds.  The architectural firm of McIntosh Workun and Cherneko won the design competition with a proposal that included an underground pedway, a reflecting pool and fountain, and a 97th Avenue underpass.  The project turned out to be a controversial one, with Albertans divided on both the aesthetics and the cost.  In the end, $62 million went into the project, about 15 times the cost of the building itself! Although the grounds were costly, they are widely used by Albertans, especially during the summer months.

    

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