Logged in as user  [Login]  |
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Key Number: HS 25024
Site Name: Bank of Nova Scotia Building
Other Names:
Site Type: 0402 - Mercantile/Commercial: Bank


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
23 1 5

Address: 125 - 8 Avenue SW
Number: 25
Street: 1 SW
Avenue: 8 SW
Town: Calgary
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Style: Art Deco or Moderne
Plan Shape: Rectangular
Storeys: Storeys: 3
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Flat
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Number of Bays - Facade: Second Floor, 3 Bays
Number of Bays - Facade: Third Floor, 3 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Column or Engaged Column
Wall Design and Detail: Entablature
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Parapet
Wall Design and Detail: Balconet
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Flat
Exterior: The facade has a grand presence on the 8th Avenue Mall. The ground floor has a large square portal flanked by two unframed deepset square-framed, grilled windows. The second and third floors are fronted by three bays composed of four giant order columns and three large windows with balconets. A heavy cornice and parapet surmounts the facade. Decorations are stylized in the Art Deco Style, and though they resemble classical decorative elements, they are actually drawn from Western Canadian life.
Interior: The interior features a 100 ft. vaulted ceiling and murals depicting Canadian themes.
Environment: The bank is located on Calgary's historic Stephen Avenue Mall.
Condition: 1979 - Structurally in excellent condition. The heat was turned off in 1977, and some of the interior marble is cracked. There has also been some minor vandalism. The owners are considering demolishing the building.
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:
Usage: Usage Date:
Owner: Owner Date:
United Management
Architect: John M. Lyle
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: The bank is of little significance historically, apart from the fact that it is an integral part of Calgary's historic 8th Avenue Mall.
Architecturally, however, it is unique in Alberta and one of very few buildings in Canada which exhibit a blend of classical design and Canadian ornament and theme.

Historical Significance:
There is no significant connection between the bank and important people or events in Alberta's history. However, the bank is an integral part of Calgary's historic 8th Avenue Mall, which forms one of the last intact architectural streetscapes dating from the early years of this century.

Architectural Significance:
The Bank of Nova Scotia Building was designed by John M. Lyle, a distinguished Canadian architect and for many years the Chief Designer for the Bank of Nova Scotia. It is the only example of his work in Alberta. Although designed in the classical 'Roman Bath' style (standard for banks for the period), it is notable for its exterior facade, which features panels depicting Canadian agricultural, commercial and ranching themes. Lyle did much of the carving himself.
The interior features a 100 ft. vaulted ceiling and murals depicting Canadian themes. Lyle was the only architect to incorporate Canadian carvings and murals into otherwise classically designed buildings, and this makes the Bank of Nova Scotia Building unique in Alberta.
* * *
1930 Bank Building Broke Tradition
The Albertan, February 13, 1978.

The Old Bank of Nova Scotia on the mall between Centre and 1 Streets S.W. is a link in Calgary's transition from a sandstone city to a more modern era.
In 1930, when the building was constructed, it was heralded as one of Calgary's first structures to display a modern style yet recognize the region's traditions.
It was designed by John M. Lyle, Canadian architect who is also believed to have designed Central Station in Toronto.

Two periods in Western Canadian history are symbolized on the building's decorative facade, representing the days before and after the white man's arrival.
For example, one richly-carved panel on a ground floor window jamb features a buffalo head, an Indian head, and implements of the Indian, while another displays a gorse's head, guns, a cowboy hat and a vase of grain.

The building's main entrance is framed by Canadian floral emblems, interspersed with the Indian emblem of progress, an inverted triangle.
Prominent panels above top-floor windows convey themes of agriculture, oil and western ranching.

The blend of symbols associated with the Indian culture and the white man's lifestyle are continued throughout the building's interior.
Although the building now stands empty, it did house a regional crafts fair at Christmas, making it a temporary focal point for Calgarians once more in its history.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List
Provincial Historic Resource

Register: 01-131
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/06/02


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0451
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.

Home    Contact Us    Login   Library Search

© 1995 - 2021 Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility