Calgary Then and Now: City Hall in 1911

Cars replaced carriages and restoration is underway to keep City Hall looking as good now as it did more than 100 years ago.

Officially opened on June 26, 1911 by federal opposition leader and future Prime Minister Sir Robert L. Borden, Calgary’s historic City Hall originally housed several municipal services and officials, including the Mayor and city council, law courts, prison, police and telephone operators. Until recently, it was still the seat of city council, but the Mayor and councillors were forced out this past summer to make way for extensive repair work.

The oldest surviving city hall in Alberta, the building typifies several monumental civic halls that were built across the Prairies before 1930. Like many Calgary buildings of its time, it was made with local Paskapoo sandstone facades. That sandstone has started to crumble, and pieces have fallen from the walls. Protective scaffolding was put up in 2014, and a $34 million repair project was approved last year. It is expected to take until 2020.

Calgary’s Municipal Building, the heart of the City of Calgary’s daily operations, was built in 1985. Its distinctive and modern tiered glass structure contrasts sharply against the grand Romanesque Revival style of the adjacent City Hall, which features dormer windows on the top floor, an arched entryway and a soaring clock tower.

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