See how things have — or haven’t — changed around the city’s most well-known structures.

Alberta Legislature Building

ca. 1913

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Present Day

EdmontonLegislatureBuilding2 Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Adriel Hampton/Flickr

Built from 1907 to 1912 in the Beaux Arts style, the Alberta Legislature building consists of a marble rotunda flanked by east and west wings. A grand, marble staircase leads into the massive, three-storey, domed Assembly Chamber, which is complete with stained glass skylights and over 600 light bulbs.

Macdonald Hotel

ca. 1922

MacdonaldHotelThen

Present Day

MacdonaldHotel Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/JasonParis/Flickr

The year that construction wrapped up on the Legislature Building also marked the year that construction began on the famed Macdonald Hotel. The building’s Indiana limestone, copper roofing and picturesque turrets made an indelible mark on the city’s skyline, lending a feel of regal elegance with its iconic French chateau style.

McLeod Building

Year unknown

McleodBuildingThen

Present Day

McleodBuildingNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/jasonwoodhead23/Flickr

The year 1912 was also the year that Kenneth McLeod, a businessman and developer, claimed that he would build the tallest building in the city. And that the McLeod Building would remain for almost 40 years, until buildings in the city began reaching heights of well over nine storeys. The building was designated as a Provincial Historic Resource in 1995 and a Municipal Historic Resource in 2001.

McKay Avenue School

ca. 1915

MckaySchoolThen

Present Day

MckaySchoolNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Google Street View

Built in 1904, the McKay Avenue School was the third school to open its doors in Edmonton and cost $44,000 to construct. The building was named after Dr. William Morrison MacKay, a surgeon for the Hudson’s Bay Company. (No, that’s not a mistake in the spelling of MacKay’s name. When the school was being built, the ‘a’ was never carved into the panel — an eternal typo that can never be erased!)

Norwood School

ca. 1909

NorwoodThen

Present Day

NorwoodNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Google Street View

Norwood School opened its doors in 1909 with three floors, 10 classrooms and enough space for 400 pupils. Since then, a top-floor library and a gymnasium are all that have been added, ensuring the retention of its charming, Classic Revival style.

The Windsor Hotel/Hotel Selkirk

ca. 1910

WindsorHotelThen

Present Day

HotelSelkirkNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Bill Buris/Flickr

The Windsor Hotel was built in 1903 at Jasper Avenue and 101st Street. The hotel held 40 rooms and was the place to be in the early 20th century. The hotel was renamed Hotel Selkirk in 1913 following a change in ownership and was destroyed in a fire in 1962. An almost exact replica has since opened in Fort Edmonton Park, the only difference being larger rooms with ensuites.

Athabasca Hall at University of Alberta

Year unknown

AthabascaHallThen

Present Day

AthabascaHallNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/IQRemix/Flickr

In 1911, Athabasca Hall became the first building on the University of Alberta campus. Before other structures began popping up on the 258 acres of land set aside for the university, the hall held the entire institution with laboratories in the basement, a dining hall on the main floor and a library on the top floor.

Arts Building at University of Alberta

Year unknown

ArtsBuildingThen

Present Day

ArtsBuildingNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Bill Burris/Flickr

Although Athabasca Hall ended up as the first official building on the UofA campus, there was originally a different plan in store. Construction of the Arts Building began in 1909, and it would have beat Athabasca Hall to the punch if it weren’t for a new Minister of Education who was reluctant to spend public money. The building finally opened in 1915 to subdued fanfare as the First World War raged abroad.

First Presbyterian Church

Year unknown

FirstPresbyterianChurchThen

Present Day

FirstPresbyterianChurchNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Google Street View

The Edmonton Presbyterian Church was formed in 1881, later becoming First Presbyterian Church to mark Alberta’s new status as a province of Canada. Built in 1911 at a cost of $172,455 (double the initial estimate of $85,000), the church was one of the largest of its kind in Edmonton. The building was deemed a historical resource in 1987, 75 years after it first opened its doors for worship.

Government House

ca. 1910

GovernmentHouseThen

Present Day

GovernmentHouseNow Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Kevin M Klerks/Flickr

Government House was initially designed as the residence of the Lieutenant Governor. Since its inception in 1913, the building has served a number of purposes such as a place for government conferences, meetings and public events. Today, the building is still a major multi-purpose government institution as well as a museum.

Jasper Avenue and 101 Street

ca. 1935

Jasper101Then

Present Day

Jasper101Now Photos: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries/Google Street View

Empire Block was constructed as an office and retail building in 1905, the same year that Alberta became a province. Over 100 years later, after a fire and subsequent rebuild, the original developer, McDougall and Secord Ltd., still has offices in the 11-storey building, which was renamed the Empire Building when it was reconstructed in 1963.

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