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Lethbridge Manual Training School


Other Names:
Bowman Arts Centre
Bowman School
Lethbridge High School
Old Lethbridge Manual Training School

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Located on 5th Avenue South in Lethbridge, Alberta, the Lethbridge Manual Training School is a two-storey, stone and wood frame building occupying nine city lots next to the original commercial core of the city.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Lethbridge Manual Training School lies in its representation of institutional architecture from the pre-World War One era, and the important role it has played in the history of education in the province.

The Lethbridge Manual Training School is built in a distinctive style that combines the classical detailing popular in Alberta with a style known as "Collegiate Gothic," popular for educational institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This school, however, was built on a reduced scale (only two stories rather than three) perhaps because as a technical school it had a limited enrollment and fewer space requirements than the regular environment of public schools.

The building is also significant for its role in the province's educational history. It was built in 1912 as the first school in Alberta to be built for vocational training (teaching such subjects as woodwork, metalwork, and machine shop to boys, household science to girls). Funds and staff were drained by the contingencies of World War One, however, and the vocational school operated only until 1915. Subsequently it was used as a high school, an elementary school, and a community arts center.

Source: Alberta Culture, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1083)

Character-Defining Elements
Character-defining elements of the Lethbridge Manual Training School include elements of the Collegiate Gothic style and classical detailing such as:

- the rectangular form, scale and massing;
- slightly bell cast hipped roof with cedar shingle and ridge trim;
- the use of locally manufactured bricks and quarried sandstone;
- contrasting colours of red brick facade and sandstone detailing (including partial base of rock faced sandstone, continuous linking stone sills, and stone banding at corners);
- symmetrical fenestration pattern;
- a projecting entrance portico with parapet extension;
- sandstone Ionic columns supporting an entablature with modillioned cornice;
- the unobstructed view of all four building elevations;
- sandstone retaining wall details.

Original remaining elements and fittings of the interior of the Bowman Arts Centre such as:
- the main staircase and entrance foyer wall, floor and ceiling details;
- wood doors and frames;
- existing floorplan of rooms off central corridor;
- extant hardwood flooring, baseboard and trim.


Street Address: 811 - 5 Avenue South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Lots 1 to 9, Block 42, Plan 4353S
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

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

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S
4353 S

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.693256 -112.836162 Secondary Source NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type
5506148 367967 Digital Maps NAD 83


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1982/03/19

Historical Information

Built: 1912/01/01 To 1912/01/01
Significant Date(s) 1912 To 1915
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Historic Function(s): Education : Primary or Secondary School
Education : Special or Training School
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Studio
Architect: H.M. and W.A. Whiddington

This building opened originally as the Lethbridge Manual Training School. It was constructed in 1912, at a cost of $40,000 to serve as a regional center for the teaching of domestic science and manual arts. It was the first school in Alberta to be built specifically for this purpose but continued as a Manual Training School only until 1915. It was reduced to an elementary school and renamed in honour of Charles B. Bowman, a prominent Lethbridge businessman. The School continued to occupy the building until 1963 when it was purchased by the City of Lethbridge. At this time, the Allied Arts Council moved into the building and it became known as the "Bowman Arts Centre". It continues to be used as a community arts center.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0485
Designation File: DES 0256
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 14430
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 256)
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