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5005 - 50 Avenue, Lacombe, Alberta, T4L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/01/16

Flat Iron Building Provincial Historic Resource (date unknown); Glenbow Archives, NA-3026-42
Main elevation
Flat Iron Building Provincial Historic Resource (October 2002); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2002
Main elevation
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Other Name(s)

Merchant's Bank
Flatiron Building
Flatiron Block
Former Merchant's Bank
Merchant's Bank (Former)

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1903/01/01 to 1904/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/06/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Flat Iron Building is an early twentieth century Edwardian Classical Revival style, three-storey triangular-shaped brick and sandstone building situated at a prominent corner location on a triangular block in downtown Lacombe.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Flat Iron Building lies in its distinctive architectural style and design and its association with two financial institutions, the Merchant's Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal that played an important role in the development of Lacombe and many other communities throughout Alberta in the early part of the twentieth century.

The Flat Iron Building is a rare example of a commercial building following the style of the 1902 Fuller Building in New York. While buildings of this shape were constructed in North America in the late nineteenth century, the Fuller, more commonly referred to as the Flatiron Building, is considered by many as the prototype of buildings of this type, so named for their distinctive triangular shape that resembled a flat iron. Flat Iron Buildings were fashionable throughout North American at the turn of the twentieth century, however few remain. Constructed in 1903-4 by the Merchant's Bank of Canada, Lacombe's Flat Iron Building is one of two remaining in Alberta and is the oldest known building of this type in Western Canada. The basic design of the building is typical of the dominant architecture preferred by financial institutions of the time, to convey a sense of power, security and reliability to customer's and competitors alike.

The building was occupied by the Merchant's Bank of Canada from 1904 until its purchase by the Bank of Montreal in 1922. The Bank of Montreal continued to occupy the building until 1967. Through the provision of financial services, both the Merchant's Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal played a significant role in the early development of not only the Town of Lacombe, but many other communities throughout the province.

The Flat Iron Building is the most prominent building in Lacombe and is a well-known landmark throughout central Alberta.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (Des. File: 1715)

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Flat Iron Building's distinctive shape, Edwardian Classical style and landmark value include:
- the prominent corner location;
- the form, scale, massing of a triangular, "flat iron" building;
- the exterior masonry: a rusticated sandstone base, brick walls with horizontal relief bands on the first floor, and sandstone pilasters through the second and third storeys;
- the denticulated wood cornices with ornamental brackets;
- the fenestration and door patterns, with original wooden windows where they remain, sandstone sills, two palladian windows with voussoirs and one round window;
- a scallop-shaped hood with decorative brackets over the main entrance on the corner;
- a decorated frieze;
- traces of the original banking hall on the main floor; and
- hardwood floors.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1922/01/01 to 1967/01/01
1904/01/01 to 1922/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1715)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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