The present day Phillips building was constructed for owners N. W. Purcell and J. G. Kelly during the pre-First World War economic boom, using sand lime brick made by the Alsip Brick and Supply Co. of Edmonton. It originally had a 22 foot wide arcade running through it’s middle, making it a “first of its kind in Edmonton”. This building was intended to be one of the first completely fire-proof structures in Edmonton and used the latest 1912 technology of the time to this end, i.e. the latest fire-proof doors and windows. It was initially leased to the Western and Cartage Company to be used as a storage warehouse.
The building was later purchased in the early 1950′s by James Brody, owner of Brod-Ease Shoe Co. of Edmonton. A complete renovation then took place with its purpose changing from a warehouse to a commercial building. The exterior facade was recladded in 1956 with modern materials. The newly renovated structure was renamed “Phillips” in honour of Mr. Brody’s first grandson. In the late 1960′s, the Brody family sold it to an overseas buyer.
Midco Equities Ltd., owned by Bill Comrie of the Brick Warehouse furniture and appliance change, purchased the Phillips building and adjacent parking lot in 1981 for $6M, intending to erect a 25-storey office tower. The crash of the early 1980′s changed those plans.
In 2002, renovations were completed by Chandos Construction to bring our building back to its original character and convert it to condos. Prior to the renovations, it was saved from demolition by Worthington Properties.
10113-10123 104 Street
Percy Nobbs & George Hyde, Architects;
Cecil S. Burgess, Local Architect, 1929
Henry Birks & Sons, based in Montreal, built this as the local flagship for their expanding jewellery business. Birks had a policy of building medical and dental facilities above their stores as a public service, and this building contained the most up-to-date medical facilities in Edmonton, including a built-in compressed air system. It was originally designed as a two storey building, but after construction began on it the demand for medical-dental space was so great that two extra floors were added. Approximately 5,000 people attended the building’s opening on November 15, 1929, hosted by Henry G. Birks, grandson of the firm’s founder.
The Birks Building presents a beautifully detailed facade. Patterned brickwork, with decorative stone, tile and metal elements, is tightly wrapped around a dramatic curved corner. Two storey limestone surrounds bracket the storefronts, enlivened by coloured marble insets and cast bronze panels. Although the form of the building is contemporary, and points the way towards the later Streamline Modern style, the detailing is conservative and classically-inspired.
Architects Percy Erskine Nobbs and George Taylor Hyde of Montreal were commissioned to design a number of the Birks stores across the country. Percy Nobbs was already locally known for his master plan for the University of Alberta, and the design of several of the University’s landmark buildings. Cecil Burgess, an associate of Nobbs and a lecturer at McGill University, had been chosen in 1912 as Professor of Architecture at the University, and assisted Nobbs & Hyde as associate architect on a number of their local projects.
Canadian Consolidated Rubber
Company Warehouse (Cobogo Lofts)
10249 – 104 Street
Canadian Stewart Company, Designers, 1913
In 1912 David R. Ker of the Brackman-Ker Milling Company built a warehouse on this site, designed by Roland W. Lines, which was destroyed by fire in January of the following year. The Canadian Consolidated Rubber Company then built this structure on the foundations of the Ker Building, opening for business here on December 27th of 1913. The contractor for the new structure was the Canadian Stewart Company of Montreal, who later built the MacDonald Hotel; this building was completed in only two month’s time. The Canadian Consolidated Rubber Company was headquartered in Montreal, and opened a branch in Edmonton in 1911 to serve as a distribution point for its products which were manufactured in Ontario and Quebec. This warehouse served northern Alberta, and supplied rubber belting, packing, hoses, waterproof clothing, felt footwear, automobile and carriage tires, and druggists’ rubber sundries. Red brick walls clad a heavy timber structure, with precast concrete used for decorative accents on the window sills, lintels, copings and date stone. The entry features projecting brick piers and a concrete entablature. An internal staircase is expressed on the front facade through the use of central staggered windows.
10187 -104 Street
Magoon & MacDonald, Architects, 1912
Designed by the prominent local firm Magoon & MacDonald, the McKenney Building was built in 1912 at a cost of $40,000. Utilitarian in form, this three storey brick-faced building features a Classically-inspired pedimented stone entrance. Built with a minimum of ornamentation, the structure was designed to allow the construction of a fourth floor if extra space was required for future expansion. Sited at the corner of 104 Street and 102 Avenue the building relates well to the nearby Metals Limited Building, the Revillon Building and The Boardwalk, functioning as a unifying visual link for the surrounding warehouse buildings and contributing to the heritage character of the area. The original owner, Henry William McKenney, arrived in St. Albert in 1883 from Amhurst, Ontario; he became a prominent businessman and resident of St. Albert, and was elected to the first Legislative Assembly as the representative for Clearwater.
10125-10127 104 Street
David Hardie, Architect, 1912
Built as a speculative venture by the Armstrong brothers, Reginald and Herbert, this prominent and imposing structure reinforces the line of historic commercial buildings on 104 Street between Jasper Avenue and the railway tracks. Unlike the other early buildings in the area, the Armstrong Block was unique in having offices and apartments on its upper floors rather than warehouse space. The facade is sophisticated in its use of materials and details, with a pressed red brick cladding, relieved by vertical pilasters capped with escutcheons that support a projecting cornice.
Horne & Pitfield Building
10301 – 104 Street
Edward Collis Hopkins, Architect, 1911
J.H.G. Russell of Winnipeg, Architect;
Magoon & MacDonald, Local Architects, Additions in 1923
Additions in 1947
This landmark corner warehouse structure was built for Foley Brothers, Larson & Company at a cost of $50,000. Having moved their wholesale grocery business west from Winnipeg in 1905, this new warehouse was seen as a ‘visible example of the faith they have in Edmonton, the gateway City and distributing centre of the last great west.’ Ownership passed in 1913 to Campbell, Wilson & Horne, and in 1943 the firm was reorganized as Horne & Pitfield.
Using elements of the Chicago School, but with fewer decorative details, Hopkins’ design was remarkably clean and modern for the time. Hopkins was the son of well known Montreal architect John W. Hopkins; he trained with his father, and they later went into partnership together. By 1905, however, Edward was in Calgary as Chief Provincial Architect, and moved to Edmonton the following year. Hopkins submitted a plan for the new Legislature Building, which was rejected, and after a second attempt, he resigned his post and went into private practice.
The original five bay structure was expanded in 1923 to the designs of a Winnipeg architect, which included five new bays to the north, just two storeys high. It was enlarged again in 1947 when two more storeys were added to the addition, completing the ten bay four storey structure. In each addition, the existing massing and detailing was replicated, resulting in the consistent composition that we see today. The corner siting, height, materials and fenestration make this an important visual link to the rest of the historic structures in the area.
Revillon Building & Annex
10201-10247 104 Street
James McDiarmid, Architect, Winnipeg, 1912
Annex, James McDiarmid, Architect, Winnipeg, 1920
At the time of its construction, the Revillon Building was described as the ‘latest and most modern exclusively wholesale warehouse’ and the ‘word in reinforced concrete construction.’ Designed by Winnipeg architect James McDiarmid, and built by his brother John McDiarmid, this was the largest warehouse structure in Western Canada. McDiarmid also designed the Annex in 1920 in such a way that several more stories could be added at a later date. The Revillon Building marked a significant point in the evolution of Edmonton’s warehouse district. Seen for the first time were such modern devices as an automatic telephone exchange, pneumatic tubes, and spiral shipping chutes. In 1902, Revillon Frères, who represented a Paris based fur trading establishment, selected Edmonton as the distribution centre for what was to become an empire of wholesale and fur trade stores. By 1912, expanding trade requirements resulted in the construction of the present building. This is a good example of the straightforward, clean and functional styling of utilitarian buildings of the pre-World War I era. Red brick walls rise above a stone base, with a unique twinned corner entrance. Ornamentation is confined to the corbelled brick parapet, while visual relief is provided by emphasizing the vertical brick piers and the use of recessed inset spandrel panels. The Revillon Building dominates the intersection of 104 Street and 102 Avenue, and is a landmark in the warehouse district.
Great West Saddlery Building
10137 – 104 Street
Edward Collis Hopkins, Architect, 1911
E.F. Hutchings of Winnipeg opened a harness shop in Edmonton in 1889, and five years later formed the Edmonton Saddlery Company. In 1900, after various changes in management, it was amalgamated with Carson & Shore to form the Great West Saddlery Company, which constructed this building to house its wholesale and retail activities. Surprisingly, despite the advent of automobile traffic, the company was able to stay in business, and retained ownership of this building until 1958. This five bay structure remains essentially intact, and has been adapted for use as artists’ work space and gallery exhibition areas. It is one of a number of landmark warehouse structures that front onto 104 Street.
Metals Limited Building
10184 – 10190 104 Street
Magoon & MacDonald, Architects, 1914;
Richard Palin Blakey, Architect, 1927
Metals Limited was organized in 1910, with headquarters in Calgary, to handle wholesale plumbing and heating supplies. Ownership changed in 1948 when the company was sold to the Empire Brothers Manufacturing Company Limited. The building was later sold, and converted for use as retail and office space in 1975. Prominently sited at a corner location, the Metals Building is designed in a utilitarian style, but the deft hand of the architects is revealed in their handling of the angled corner entry, and the decorative name plaque of precast concrete.