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Port Alberni City Hall

4850 Argyle Street, Port Alberni, British Columbia, v9y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/10/30

4850 Argyle Street, Port Alberni City Hall; City of Port Alberni, 2009
Front facade
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Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2011/05/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Port Alberni City Hall is a rectangular wood, steel and glass building built in the International style of the 1950's. Located at the edge of the commercial district now known as South Port, the City Hall faces Argyle Street, the main east-west thoroughfare in Port Alberni, and is surrounded by attractive landscaped gardens.

Heritage Value

Port Alberni City Hall was officially opened on May 20th, 1959. Along with the Federal Building located opposite City Hall, it represented a new civic core for Port Alberni. This new civic core was created at the height of the city's economic boom, which reached a peak in 1958. After the amalgamation of the twin cities of Alberni and Port Alberni in 1967, the building became the offices for the combined municipality and was one of the symbols of the newly-integrated community.

The building is valued because it maintains continuity with Alberni Valley's past. It stands adjacent to the site of the previous municipal hall, constructed in 1928, which was demolished when the new City Hall was built.

In keeping with the City Hall's role as a monument to local government and civic pride, the landscaped lawns and gardens around the building have been chosen to display items of civic heritage value including the city's war memorial, a section of original old-growth log, a shelter made from timbers from the first sawmill in the Alberni Valley, and a lilac bush propagated from an original plant owned by A. Waterhouse, one of the city's founders.

The building is architecturally important as a fine example of 1950's International style and is one of a pair of buildings architecturally designed to form the city's civic core. Designed by architects Wade, Stockdill and Armour of Victoria, the modern aesthetic of this building reflects the establishment and growth of Port Alberni as a vital and permanent city and as a centre for natural-resource based commercial endeavours and strong community values.

Source: Alberni Valley Museum and Archives

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Port Alberni City Hall include:

- its International Style architecture
- its horizontal articulation, composed of clear glazed surfaces, horizontal bands of light blue porcelain-enameled spandrel panels and plain aluminum window mullions
- its attractive landscaped setting and its use as a display place for symbols of civic heritage, such as the war memorial, old-growth log, and shelter made of timbers from the first sawmill in the Alberni Valley
- the presence of a lilac bush descended from an original plant owned by A. Waterhouse
- its prominent location on the edge of the South Port commercial area
- its compatibility of design with the Federal Building opposite (a recognized Federal Heritage Building: #9320)



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1967/01/01 to 1967/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Town or City Hall


Architect / Designer

Wade, Stockdill and Armour



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Alberni Valley Museum and Archives

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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