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STRATHCONA COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE

Edmonton

Other Names:
Old Scona
Old Scona Academic
Old Scona Academic High School
Old Strathcona High School

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Strathcona Collegiate Institute is a two-and-one-half-storey building situated on eighteen lots in Edmonton's historic Strathcona district. The school embodies the Edwardian Classical Free style of architecture and features a red-brick exterior, projecting front entrance bay, and dormer windows. There are fields located to the east and west of the school.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Strathcona Collegiate Institute lies its long and distinguished history as an educational institution, including its early service as one of the original institutional hosts of the University of Alberta. It is also significant as an excellent example of a major western Canadian high school of the early twentieth century.

Opened in 1908, Strathcona Collegiate Institute was one of the first high schools in the province. The building was a sophisticated construction designed to accommodate the teaching of the liberal arts and the sciences. Its elegant architecture and well-appointed interior embodied the community's prosperity and spirit of optimism. These characteristics were also well-suited to the school's role as one of the original hosts of the University of Alberta, which moved into the Strathcona Collegiate Institute in 1909 while the campus was being planned and constructed. During its first two years of operation, the Strathcona Collegiate Institute's main floor housed four high school classrooms while the second floor contained four university classrooms, University President Henry Marshall Tory's office, and the university library. The basement included gymnasia for boys and girls and the upper level contained an auditorium with a stage. The first University of Alberta convocation took place in the Strathcona Collegiate Institute in 1909 when an honourary Doctor of Laws degree was bestowed on Lord Strathcona. The building continued to serve both high school and university students until 1911, when the University of Alberta moved west to its current location. In addition to its academic use, the school also had a significant role in the local community. The Assembly Hall served for many years as a meeting place for local organizations and a venue for community gatherings. Strathcona Collegiate Institute (now known as Old Scona Academic High School) has been in continuous use as an educational institution since its founding and boasts numerous distinguished alumni. It is the oldest active secondary school in Edmonton and continues to be a vital part of the city's historic Strathcona community.

The cornerstone of the Strathcona Collegiate Institute was laid by Premier Alexander Rutherford in 1907, the same year that the community of Strathcona was incorporated as a city. The scale and elegant design of the school reflected the optimism and civic confidence of the community. Designed by prominent local architect Roland Lines, the Strathcona Collegiate Institute was created to be one of the largest and most sophisticated high schools in the province. Its up-to-date design shows the influence of contemporary English architects such as Edwin Lutyens. They pioneered a new kind of architecture which, while it was clearly connected with historical antecedents, avoided both the slavish reproduction of classical designs and the theatrical adaptations characteristic of Victorian architecture. Described as the Edwardian Classical Free style, this architecture blended elements from Greek, Roman, and Renaissance architecture in a totally new way, creating a pleasing and modern style. In the Strathcona Collegiate Institute, these elements included volutes, quoins, a dome, bracketed eaves, arched hoods above the doorways and gables, rusticated stonework, and oculus windows with oversize voussoirs. The interior featured state-of-the-art science labs, spacious common areas, and classrooms with exterior and interior windows.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2252).


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Strathcona Collegiate Institute include such features as:
- location in Edmonton's historic Strathcona district;
- exterior features embodying the Edwardian Classical Free Style, including building symmetry, projecting arched entryway, volutes, quoins, a dome, bracketed eaves, arched hoods above the doorways and gables, rusticated stonework, and oculus windows with oversize voussoirs;
- elements of the building that express its historic function as an educational facility, including "STRATHCONA HIGH SCHOOL" engraving and "SC" (Strathcona Collegiate) relief above the front door, fields on both the east and west sides of the building, interior design, and historic classroom spaces;
- elements of the building suggestive of its historic character, including original interior features like stairs, mouldings, trims, flooring, windows, transoms, doors, hardware.


Location



Street Address: 10523 - 84 Avenue
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Plan I3, Block 81, Lot 19-36
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
24
52
29
10

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
I3
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
81
36
35
34
33
32
31
30
29
28
27
26
25
24
23
22
21
20
19



















Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.519775 -113.501920 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2008/09/15

Historical Information

Built: 1907 to 1908
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 : Primary or Secondary School
Education : Primary or Secondary School
Current Function(s): Education : Primary or Secondary School
Education : Primary or Secondary School
Architect: Roland Lines
Builder:
Context: When the Calgary & Edmonton Railway arrived at the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River in 1891, the C & E immediately subdivided a townsite which it named South Edmonton. Being at the end of steel, the community steadily grew throughout the decade until, in 1899, it was incorporated as the Town of Strathcona with a population exceeding 1,000. As with Edmonton to the north, Strathcona grew rapidly in the wake of the Klondike gold rush, and, in 1907, it was incorporated as a city with an estimated population of 3,500. Edmonton, however, was destined to grow at an even greater pace when the Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific Railways arrived there in 1905 and 1908 respectively, giving this city a direct rail link to eastern Canada. With most major industries concentrating their operations in Edmonton, Strathcona became more of a residential district, a phenomenon encouraged by the decision of the provincial government, in 1908, to locate a provincial university just to the west of this city. From this point on, Strathcona would be billed as the University City.

In the spring of 1908, the buildings of the new University of Alberta had yet to be designed let alone constructed. There were, however, a growing number of high school graduates who wanted to attend university right away. As a result, the University's Board of Governors approached the Strathcona Public School Board for the use of a portion of a new high school which was then nearing completion on Lumsden (84th) Avenue and Duggan (105th) Street. The new 125' x 77' school had been designed by the architectural firm of Johnson & Lines to become the largest and most sophisticated high school in Alberta. It was being built by the firm of Thomas Richards at what would turn out to be a cost of about $100,000. This was on the site of the earlier Duggan Street School, with additional land acquired by the School Board to the west to accommodate the larger facility.

The cornerstone of the new facility had been laid by Premier Rutherford himself on 18 October, 1907. Rutherford, from Strathcona, was also the Minister of Education for Alberta. When it was officially opened by Lieutenant-Governor Bulyea on 17 February 1909, at a ceremony attended by about 600 people, the institution was officially designated the Strathcona Collegiate Institute, in recognition of its initial post-secondary role. The main floor was to house 71 high school students in four classrooms, while the 2nd floor was taken over by the University. This included four classrooms to accommodate 47 undergraduate students, the office of President Henry M. Tory, and the University Library. The third floor was made over into an auditorium with a stage, while the basement provided room for both a boys and a girls gymnasium.

The first convocation of the University of Alberta took place in the Strathcona Collegiate Institute in the fall of 1909, when an honorary doctorate of laws degree was conferred on Lord Strathcona. The Institute continued to serve as a high school and a university until the fall of 1911, when the University of Alberta moved over to its new campus. The facility was then re-named the Strathcona High School. With more room in the building, kindergarten was conducted in the basement from 1912 to 1921, and, during World War I, part of the basement also served as a rifle range for Company 199. The high school population continued to grow however, and, in 1927, it was found necessary to set up an annex of the school in the old Garneau School on 84th Avenue and 112 Street, the new Garneau School just having been opened on 88th Ave. and 109 Street.

In 1953, with Edmonton experiencing another population boom, a new Strathcona Composite High School was opened. Shortly thereafter, to avoid confusion, the old Strathcona High School was re-named Old Scona. Partly because of its proximity to the University, it began to encourage students who were determined to go on to university after graduation. In 1976, a Baccalaureate Program was begun for such students under the direction of Principal Leif Stolee. Three years later, in recognition of this, the school was re-named Old Scona Academic High School. With its dedication to academic excellence, the school has been ranked by the Fraser Institute as the best high school in Alberta for the past six years.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1342
Designation File: Des. 2252
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 5846
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. 2252)
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