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915 - 18 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2T, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/07/21

John Snow Residence and Studio Provincial Historic Resource, Calgary (February 2006); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2006
North elevation
View of the Maxwell Bates addition (March 2002); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2002
West and south elevations
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Other Name(s)

John Snow Residence
John Snow Residence/Studio

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The John Snow Residence and Studio is a two-storey home located on a portion of a single lot in the Mount Royal district of southern Calgary. The building was constructed in 1912 and features a hipped roof, front verandah, and a later Maxwell Bates designed one-storey wood frame addition at the back of the house.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the John Snow Residence and Studio lies in its association with artist John H. Snow and its connection to the establishment and development of Calgary's Mount Royal district.

John H. Snow is a renowned Alberta artist, famed for his modern, expressionistic oeuvre of paintings, sculptures, and lithographs. A banker by trade, Snow began his artistic career in earnest following his service as a navigator during the Second World War. Between 1946 and 1948, he studied under famed Alberta artist and architect Maxwell Bates at the Provincial Institute of Technology. In 1951, he purchased the house that now bears his name; two years later, he acquired two lithographic presses and some limestone blocks from the Western Lithographic and Printing Company and installed them in the basement. Snow often collaborated in his lithographic works with Bates, a close friend and colleague who designed the studio addition at the rear of Snow's home. Over the decades of his artistic career, Snow developed into a master lithographer, marrying striking, non-naturalistic colours and distorted forms in his work. Though he achieved his greatest renown with his lithographs, Snow also worked in other mediums, including painting and sculpture. He is considered a key figure in the provincial art scene, one of several innovators who introduced Alberta to the impulses and ideals of modern art. His work is represented in public, private, and corporate collections throughout Canada. Snow received the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1996. He passed away in 2004.

The John Snow Residence and Studio was built in 1912 and reflects the development of the Mount Royal district of Calgary. Following the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) into Fort Calgary in 1883, the settlement grew rapidly, being incorporated as a town the next year and as a city in 1893. Much of the early development in Calgary occurred on the vast tracts of land retained by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Initial construction took place north of the tracks; by the turn of the twentieth century, the C.P.R. was beginning to survey the area south of the tracks for residential development. Substantial residential construction occurred in the Mount Royal area during the building boom of the early 1910s and part of the district evolved into a luxury neighbourhood, embellished by the ideals of the "city beautiful" movement, including green spaces, roads contoured to the land, and treed lots. Closer to the railway tracks and the district's working class neighbourhood, the homes were more modest. It was in this humbler section of Mount Royal that the John Snow Residence and Studio was built in 1912.

The John Snow Residence and Studio is not architecturally unique, representing typical building materials and styles of the time and period. The home embodies elements of the Shingle style in its hipped roof, shingle cladding, and reduced ornament. The addition designed by Bates is also unremarkable, incorporating materials and a style common to vernacular architecture around 1960. The home is part of a historic streetscape in the Mount Royal District. The John Snow Residence and Studio now serves a new generation of artists, used to house authors - including Timothy Findley and Robert Kroetsch - from the University of Calgary's Writers in Residence.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2108)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the John Snow Residence and Studio include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- hipped roof;
- upper storey facade of shingle cladding and lower storey facade of horizontal bevelled wood siding, corner boards, and trim;
- central hip dormer flanked by hipped eave returns;
- covered porch with front bay window;
- original entry glazed wood door and original side-entry wood door;
- wood frame (Maxwell Bates) addition with open beam structure, low gable roof and vertical cedar cladding;
- fenestration pattern and style, including original double hung wood windows;
- original interior elements, including maple and fir floorings, crown mouldings, fireplace, door and window trims, hot water radiant units, and stair handrails and balusters;
- artifacts associated with John Snow, including lithographic presses.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

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. 2108)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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