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McDougall School

Calgary

Other Names:
Calgary Normal School
McDougall School (Southern Government Offices)
Provincial Normal School
Southern Gov't Offices

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Calgary's McDougall School building is an early twentieth-century, three-storey sandstone building with an attic storey. The designation covers an entire block in downtown Calgary. Constructed in the Beaux-Arts style, McDougall School features a symmetrical sandstone facade with columns, ornate window trim, carved decorative finishings, and an entablature bearing the building's name.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the McDougall School building lies in its association with the development of Alberta's educational institutions, particularly normal schools and other post-secondary institutions, and its architectural significance as a substantial and elegant public building embodying the influence of the Beaux-Arts style.

Completed in 1908, McDougall School was the location of Alberta's first normal school. Normal schools were used for the training of teachers until 1945. It is believed that the normal school was located in Calgary to compensate that city for the naming of Edmonton as the provincial capital and the awarding of the provincial university to Strathcona (a community which amalgamated with Edmonton in 1913). The school was one of the earliest major public buildings constructed in Alberta. It was also the only normal school in Alberta until a second such institution was built at Camrose in 1912. Many of the teachers in the fledgling province of Alberta were trained at the normal school in Calgary. In 1922, the building was purchased by the Calgary Board of Education and renamed McDougall School in honour of Methodist missionary George McDougal and his sons John, also a missionary, and David, a trader and rancher. It operated as a junior high and an elementary school until 1981. In 1981, the school was decommissioned due to falling enrollment caused by demographic changes in Calgary. The Government of Alberta purchased the building and converted it to office space and a centre for government events in Southern Alberta.

McDougall School is also of architectural importance. It was designed by Provincial Architect Allan Merrick Jeffers and was one of the first major public building to be constructed in the new province. As such, McDougall School was intended to make a significant statement about Alberta's future. The building embodies the influence of the Beaux-Arts style in its symmetrical facade, large cornice, and four giant order Ionic columns flanked by two pilasters on the central portion of the upper stories. McDougall School was one of the many early public and commercial buildings constructed of sandstone in Calgary, a building trend that earned the community the title of the "Sandstone City."

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 837)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements that define the McDougall School include such features as:
- heavy use of sandstone on exterior facade;
- elements embodying the Beaux-Arts style, such as its symmetrical facade, cornice, four giant order composite columns flanked by two pilasters, horizontal stone banding between the first and second stories, fenestration pattern and style, ornate stone window trim with some variation on each storey, rusticated masonry on the first floor, arched recessed doorways on main floor;
- entablature bearing the words "McDOUGALL SCHOOL";
- circular tablets bearing the numerals "1", "9", "0", and "7";
- original interior space configuration;
- original interior elements such as monumental staircases, elaborate wood work on doorways, window frames and trim of the first and second floors.


Location



Street Address: 412 - 7 Street SW
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: Lots 1 to 40, Block 18, Plan A1
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
1
24
16
16 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
SA1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
N/A
9
8
7
6
5
40
4
39
38
37
36
35
34
33
32
31
30
3
29
28
27
26
25
24
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22
21
20
2
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
1
Whole of Lane









































Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.049272 -114.077315 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1982/09/10

Historical Information

Built: 1906/01/01 To 1908/01/01
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Education : Post-Secondary Institution
Education : Primary or Secondary School
Current Function(s):
Architect: Allan M. Jeffers
Builder:
Context: HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

This building was the first Normal School built in Alberta and, like the University of Alberta in Edmonton, was established immediately upon the formation of the province. Normal Schools were solely responsible for teacher training in Alberta until 1945, thus fulfilling a need not supplied by the universities.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

This building is important architecturally because it is the only building of its scale in the province to be built of Calgary sandstone in the "Renaissance Revival" style.

(Site Information Summary)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0462
Designation File: DES 0837
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 32521
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (Des. 837)
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