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Historic stories and images

 

We will refresh this page on an ongoing basis with new stories and fascinating photos of our history! Please visit this page back often to see what’s new.

 

The City Hall Clock Tower- A Landmark in Downtown Calgary

One of City Hall’s most defining features is its five-story sandstone clock tower. The Seth Thomas clock has kept a steady time since it was installed in January 1911, with few repairs beyond regular maintenance and a weekly winding. The tower clock today remains a beloved public timepiece and a symbol of Calgary’s municipal administration.

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The making of Historic City Hall

Constructed from locally sourced Paskapoo sandstone, the four-storey structure was built for $300,000. While this price is nominal today, it was approximately double its original budget and cost the architect his job. The building originally housed jail holding cells, the police department and the court room.

 

 


Where should we build City Hall?

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Calgary was a promising young city which many officials and residents believed was destined for greatness. Although citizens widely agreed that Calgary needed a worthy city hall, a heated public argument raged over its ideal location. This debate was carried out in council chambers and newspapers, and numerous proposals were voted down by public plebiscite. Finally, in 1907 the matter was settled: City Hall would be built on the same site donated for the purpose in 1885.

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The character defining elements of Historic City Hall

What features define Historic City Hall as a heritage landmark? Its materials, forms, location, and cultural associations are just a few of the character defining elements that contribute to its heritage value.

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Annie Gale, the first female alderman in Calgary and Canada

A "very conservative woman, not particularly interested in women’s suffrage," Annie Gale was an unlikely politician. The conditions that she found on moving to boomtown Calgary with her family in 1912 spurred her to action, and she went on to become the first female alderman in Calgary and in Canada.

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Historic City Hall is foremost a public building

From architect William M. Dodd’s earliest plans, Historic City Hall was built first and foremost as a public building—a place for the people. The extent to which City Hall has functioned as a public space up until today has changed, but what does remain is the fact that it has always been the home of Calgary’s municipal government. As such, every citizen of Calgary has a connection to the building. The site itself has witnessed a variety of public celebrations and protests, and has become one of the primary spaces for public engagement of all kinds.

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