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Strathcona Public Library


Other Names:
Strathcona Library

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Strathcona Public Library is a two and one-half storey brick building with stone detailing and a projecting front entrance. It occupies three city lots in the Old Strathcona Heritage Area, one block north of the area's main thoroughfare, Whyte Avenue, across from the Knox Presbyterian Church and next to Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park.

Heritage Value
Serving as a library, as well as a cultural centre and meeting place, the Strathcona Public Library is significant as the civic and architectural centrepiece of Old Strathcona.

Important for its continuous service as a public library from 1913 to the present, the Strathcona Public Library was also the focal point for community meetings, cultural events and social functions up to the 1950s. Strathcona's rapid residential growth, from its inception as the terminus of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, led to incorporation as a town in 1899 and as a city in 1907.

The Strathcona Library Society was formed in 1897, although it was not until 1913 that the construction of the Strathcona Public Library was realized. The proposal to build the library was originally a Strathcona initiative, but the project was completed by the City of Edmonton and its administration assumed by the Edmonton Public Library Board following Strathcona's amalgamation with Edmonton in 1912.

The design by Arthur G. Wilson and David E. Herrald, prominent Edmonton architects, in the quiet English Renaissance style, lends a dignity and status to the building befitting its situation in the community. Originally designed as a multi-purpose building, the main floor was used for library services, the upper floor was used as an auditorium, and the basement served as a men's reading room and meeting room.

Strathcona Public Library is a prominent community landmark. It is a familiar building, well used by a large cross-section of Strathcona residents. Its location, adjacent to the open space of Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park, enhances its landmark status by increasing its visibility and strengthening its contribution to the heritage fabric of the historic area.

Source: City of Edmonton (Bylaw: 13467)

Character-Defining Elements
The character defining elements of the Strathcona Public Library are expressed in such features as:

- form, massing and materials;
- the front facade projection with decorative pediment and oculus window;
- the main entrance doors flanked by Ionic columns supporting an entablature with the words 'PUBLIC LIBRARY' carved into it;
- the curved pediment above the entablature;
- the front entrance wooden panelled doors;
- the stone and brick staircase to the front door;
- the stone detailing such as stone lintels and sills and the horizontal stone banding at the floor and window levels;
- the metal cornice with low stone parapet;
- the two cast decorative metal lights with glass globes;
- the original coal chutes;
- the patterns of fenestration and window styles;
- the projecting exterior wall chimneys;
- the cedar shingle roof;
- the cupola.

- the two fireplaces;
- the decorative arches in the centre of the main room;
- the original wood mouldings, brackets and trims throughout;
- the front entrance vestibule wooden staircase.


Street Address: 8331 - 104 Street NW
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lots 22 to 24, Block 79, Plan I
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
11 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.519814 -113.497019 Secondary Source NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2004/07/27

Historical Information

Built: 1912 To 1913
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Historic Function(s): Education : Library
Current Function(s): Education : Library
Architect: Wilson and Herrald
Builder: William Deitz

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0136
Designation File:
Related Listing(s): 4665-0678
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/planning_development/historic-resources.aspx
Data Source: City of Edmonton, Planning and Development Department, 10250 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3P4 (Digital File: 659457-003)
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