Historic designations are a brewin’
City invests $4.1M to preserve former Molson Brewery buildings
The City of Edmonton has formally designated two buildings on the former Molson Brewery site as a Municipal Historic Resource, after approval from City Council.
The Edmonton Brewing and Malting Company Ltd. Building and the Administration Office Building are located in Oliver, west of Edmonton’s downtown. Situated on a large urban lot located at the corner of 121 Street NW and Stony Plain Road/104 Avenue NW, the larger Brewing and Malting Company building was built in 1913. The smaller Administration Office Building was built in 1924/25. The designation applies only to the general footprint of the two remaining portions of the historic structures, and not to the balance of the Brewery District redevelopment site.
Both buildings were also recently designated as Provincial Historic Resources.
Edmonton City Council approved annual rehabilitation grant payments for the Edmonton Brewing and Malting Company Ltd. Building of up to $417,550 from the Heritage Reserve Fund to the owner from 2016 – 2025. However, the owner will be required to complete the identified rehabilitation work to the building by December 31, 2021. This investment is the largest rehabilitation grant provided to an individual project from the Heritage Reserve Fund in the history of Edmonton’s historic resources management program. While both buildings will be rehabilitated, no grants from the Heritage Reserve Fund are being directed towards work on the Administration Office Building.
“This brewery was initially built to replace a smaller brewery in Rossdale,” says David Johnston, Principal Heritage Planner. “It had a few owners throughout the years; it’s final years were spent under the Molson Canada banner, which is how most Edmontonians would remember it. This site provides structural evidence of brewing in Alberta and the evolution of the brewery industry in Edmonton.”
The Brewing and Malting Company building’s combination of practical design and artistic styling is a hallmark of Chicago-based architect, Bernard Barthel. Specializing in industrial buildings, particularly breweries, Barthel’s designs exemplified Revivalist details, often described as “castle-like” or “feudalistic.” Barthel designed industrial facilities and breweries across North America; however, little remains of his work. Barthel is not believed to have designed the Administration Office Building, but its design complements that of the main brewery building itself. The separation of administrative functions in this small, detached building is typical of twentieth century industrial sites in Alberta.
The City’s Historic Resource Management Plan outlines the City’s mission to identify, protect and promote the preservation and use of historic resources. The plan contains 24 policies and 88 action items that direct how Edmonton’s heritage should be preserved and celebrated. Designation as a Municipal Historic Resource ensures protection from demolition or inappropriate alterations to a historic resource.