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301 - 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2P, Canada

Reconnu formellement en: 1979/03/21

Canada Life Assurance Building Provincial Historic Resource, Calgary (March 2006); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2006
North and east elevations
Pas d'image
Pas d'image

Autre nom(s)

Hollinsworth Building
Canada Life Assurance (Hollinsworth) Building

Liens et documents

Date(s) de construction


Inscrit au répertoire canadien: 2006/08/10

Énoncé d'importance

Description du lieu patrimonial

The Canada Life Assurance Building is an early twentieth century, six-storey building situated on three lots in Calgary's downtown commercial core. The structure embodies the Chicago School style and features terra cotta cladding, a projecting cornice, and vertical columns of window panels.

Valeur patrimoniale

The heritage value of the Canada Life Assurance Building lies in its excellent representation of the Chicago School style of architecture in Alberta.

The Canada Life Assurance Building was constructed between 1912 and 1913, at the height of Calgary's pre-World War One building boom. Designed by nationally renowned Montreal architects Brown and Vallance, the building manifests the strong influence of the Chicago School of modern architecture. Reflecting the vision of Louis Sullivan - considered one of the first modernist architects and dubbed the "father of the skyscraper" - this style expressed a progressive aesthetic that embraced new construction materials and forms of design. The steel and concrete skeleton of the Canada Life Assurance Building was an integral dimension of the Chicago School style; the use of these construction materials liberated architects from the constraints of load-bearing masonry exterior walls and allowed for taller buildings with ample floor space and abundant windows. Like Sullivan, Brown and Vallance divided the building into three principle sections: the main floor shop windows, several storeys of office space, and a prominent projecting cornice to crown the building. The effect of this design, when coupled with the striking columns of windows, emphasizes the building's verticality. The building features elegant terra cotta cladding and ornamentation that reflects the aesthetic of the Chicago School style. With its modernist air of prestige and its embodiment of a progressive aesthetic, the Canada Life Assurance Building attracted many of Calgary's pre-eminent professionals and businesses. It is the only remaining Brown and Vallance design and one of only two known Sullivanesque buildings in Alberta. It also possesses one of the finest terra cotta exteriors in the province.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 835)

Éléments caractéristiques

The character-defining elements of the Canada Life Assurance Building include such features as:

- mass, form, scale, and style;
- flat roof;
- steel and concrete framing;
- terra cotta facade, cornice, low parapet, and sculptural elements;
- round arches on the ground floor and upper level;
- division of the building into three principle sections;
- fenestration pattern and style, including arched windows on the ground floor and upper level;
- vertical columns of windows;
- Ionic columns flanking entryway.

- original elevator lobby, including: original marble wall mouldings and cladding;
- ornamental plaster domed ceiling and cornice;
- original colour scheme;
- terrazzo and marble floors featuring "Canada Life Assurance Company" emblem design;
- original marble stair and railings.




Autorité de reconnaissance

Province de l'Alberta

Loi habilitante

Historical Resources Act

Type de reconnaissance

Ressource historique provinciale

Date de reconnaissance


Données sur l'histoire

Date(s) importantes


Thème - catégorie et type

Exprimer la vie intellectuelle et culturelle
L'architecture et l'aménagement

Catégorie de fonction / Type de fonction



Commerce / Services commerciaux
Bureau ou édifice à bureaux

Architecte / Concepteur

Brown and Vallance (of Montreal)


Fysche, McNeil, Martin, and Trainer

Informations supplémentaires

Emplacement de la documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 835)

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Identificateur féd./prov./terr.




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