Thursday Doors: McKay Avenue School

McKay Avenue School in Edmonton was in use as a school until 1983 when it was turned into an archive and museum for the Edmonton Public School Board.

It was built in 1905 and originally served to house the Alberta Legislature after Alberta first became a Canadian province.

It is named after Dr. William M. MacKay who was an officer and surgeon for the Hudson’s Bay Company. And, yes, the name of the school was misspelled from its beginning; not an auspicious start for a school.

The building is in the Richardsonian Romanesque style which, the Edmonton Historical Board tells me, is indicative of the optimism of early Edmonton. I see many buildings in this style in the city, and they have all lasted a very long time. Their interiors have changed a lot, but externally they are all consistent in their solidity and, presumably, optimism.

This particular building is unique in that it has a model of the fire escape on its fire escape. The model was built by Mr. Latta of D.G. Latta Ltd to promote his business, and this was the first fire escape built by his blacksmithing business.

For more Thursday Doors visit Norm 2.0.


  1. I simply love the older buildings. That the name was not spelled correctly only adds to its attraction! Beautiful doors and intriguing fire escape. Look at all the chimneys! However the front steps could do with some improvement.

  2. A lovely, stately old building. It certainly looks like it could function quite nicely as a legislature, city hall, or some other government building.
    Thanks for sharing these 🙂

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