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Grande Prairie High School

Grande Prairie

Other Names:
Art Gallery
Central High School
Central Park School
Grande Prairie High School
Montrose School
Old Central High School
Prairie Art Gallery
Central-Park School

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Grande Prairie High School (originally Montrose School) is a two-storey red brick building built in 1929 in a modified collegiate gothic style. It is located on one lot on 99th Street in downtown Grande Prairie and now houses the Prairie Art Gallery.

Heritage Value
Grande Prairie High School exemplifies the growth of Grande Prairie amid the settlement of the South Peace region in the first half of the twentieth century.

Organized in 1911, Grande Prairie School District built three schools before 1929, but Grande Prairie High School was the first exclusively for secondary school education. Its construction signaled the demographic maturity of the settlement and a growing emphasis on advanced education in Alberta. The school contained simple classrooms and basic laboratories to teach academic fundamentals. The Grande Prairie High School contains elements of a simplified Collegiate Gothic Style, a utilitarian style that reflects the conservative educational system of the day, and the move away from the architectural ornamentation that took place in the 1920s.

One of the oldest structures in Grande Prairie, this school is from the settlement period of Alberta's last agricultural frontier before the wave of Depression-era immigration into the Peace District.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 971)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of Grande Prairie High School include:
- rectangular plan;
- the red brick facade and stone masonry, including parapet coping, window, sills and decorative blocks;
- a fenestration pattern of multi-paned (nine-over-nine) windows with wooden sashes on the front facade, and a round arched window in the central front bay;
- wooden double front doors;
- a symmetrical design of solid horizontality interspersed with vertical piers;
- "1929" date stone and "GRANDE PRAIRIE HIGH SCHOOL" name plate above the main door;
- a projecting one-storey front entrance porch with a stepped parapet echoing the steeped parapet of the roofline.


Street Address: 10209 - 99 Street
Community: Grande Prairie
Boundaries: Portion of Lot 3, Plan 7920561
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

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

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


Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
55.173011 -118.790940 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type
6115513 0385927 GPS NAD 83


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1984/05/07

Historical Information

Built: 1929 to 1929
Period of Significance:
Theme(s): Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Education : Composite School
Current Function(s): Leisure : Museum

This building was constructed in 1929 to accommodate the growing need for secondary educational facilities in Grande Prairie which had emerged as the dominant urban centre in the South Peace region. Settlement of this area had begun as early as 1896, but featured few and scattered arrivals before 1916. A new impetus for immigration was provided by completion of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway as far as the Grande Prairie townsite in 1916.

The Grande Prairie School District, originally organized in January 1911, was soon under continuing pressure to expand the school facilities. Prior to 1929 the school board built three schools, the last of which included two classrooms for high school purposes. The Grande Prairie High School was constructed for the exclusive use of high school students. It is a one and one-half storey brick and stone structure featuring large multi-paned wood frame windows and a projecting one storey front entrance.

The school serves as a reminder of the growth in importance of secondary education in the province as well as the development of Grande Prairie as a centre of new settlement even before the wave of depression immigration swept into the Peace River County.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0577
Designation File: DES 0971
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 29988
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 (File: Des. 971)
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