Monday, January 23, 2012

Three sites recognized with Calgary Heritage Authority plaques

The Calgary Heritage Authority (CHA) presented plaques to three of Calgary’s historically significant sites at today’s Council Meeting.  The plaques are presented biennially to sites of historical significance to Calgary’s development. Evaluations are based on the significance of the architecture, history and context of the sites.

“The plaque program allows us to recognize important heritage sites throughout Calgary and share the stories of special places in our neighbourhoods,"  says Scott Jolliffe, Chairman of the CHA.  “When people know about places in their communities, they often feel more connected to them and recognize their value and importance in making their communities unique.”

The three sites that received plaques are:

Earl Grey Elementary School
Address:  854 Hillcrest Avenue S.W.
Earl Grey Elementary School opened in 1968 along with five other schools in Calgary due to growing enrolment in the post-war, baby boom era. The school was designed by the well-known Calgary architect Bill Boucock, who also designed the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. The exterior designed was modern design utilized innovative techniques and materials for its time. The interior incorporated an open-area classroom layout, a novel philosophy for elementary schools during the 1960s and 1970s. Originally, half of the classrooms were arranged in a large flexible space that surrounded a library in the centre.

While the present building dates to 1968, the original Earl Grey School was built in 1912. The present facility replaced the original two-storey sandstone building.

Cliff Bungalow School
Address:  2201 Cliff Street S.W.
Built in 1920, Cliff Bungalow School is one of several bungalow-style schools that were constructed between 1913 and 1920. The modest design was adopted as a cost-effective alternative to the earlier sandstone schools. This rough-textured brick building originally had four symmetrical classrooms, a teachers’ office in the attic and play areas in the basement.

The school is situated along the base of Mount Royal in an area that was part of a large Tsuu T’ina (Sarcee) encampment at the turn of the 20th century. Initially called the 22nd Avenue Bungalow School, it was renamed Cliff Bungalow School in 1927 and the surrounding neighbourhood took its name from the school. By 1988, the school was surplus to the needs of the Calgary Board of Education and the facility became home to the Montessori School of Calgary and the Cliff
Bungalow-Mission Community Association.

King Edward School
Address:  1720 – 30 Avenue S.W.
This large three-storey sandstone building was constructed in 1912 during Calgary’s pre-First World War economic boom. It was built along with three other sandstone schools in Calgary that year.

The school has served a variety of community functions throughout its history, including cadet training during the First World War and as a venue for community social events such as card games and dances. Notably, the school’s first principal, William Aberhart, later served as Alberta’s first Social Credit premier from 1935 to 1943.

King Edward School was constructed using rock-faced sandstone originally included 19 classrooms, a large ground-floor auditorium and separate entrances for the boys and girls. Given structural cracking and safety concerns, the west wing of the school was partially dismantled in 1978, using much of the original sandstone in the reconstruction. The school was closed to students in 2001 due to declining enrolment in the area.

 For more information about the heritage planning and the Calgary Heritage Authority, visit

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