Public Schools Archives and Museum is located in historic McKay
cornerstone was laid in 1904 by the Governor General of Canada,
Lord Minto. The year 1904 marked the beginning of an important
new era of growth and prosperity in Alberta, and the building
was designed to reflect this importance and inspire awe and grandeur.
The Romanesque-style design included unique features such as the
Ionic Romanesque pillared entranceways.
Avenue School, 1912.The
school was named to honour Dr. William Morrison MacKay, a doctor
with the Hudson's Bay Company.
Glenbow Archives, Calgary, Canada, NC-6-555
of the First Two Sessions of the Alberta Legislature
School served as the site of the first two sessions of the Alberta
Legislature (1906 and 1907). It was in the third floor Assembly
Hall that the important decision was made to make Edmonton the
capital of Alberta.
of the first Legislative Assembly in the legislative Chamber of
1906, McKay Avenue School
Glenbow Archives, Calgary, Canada, NA-2883-20
Lease on Life
School was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 1976.
The venerable brick building had played an important role in the
educational, social and political development of Edmonton and
Alberta, but when in 1983 the enrolment fell to a low of 59 students
the school was closed. At that time, in recognition of its importance
in the early history of Edmonton and of Alberta, a history-conscious
school board made a momentous decision: McKay Avenue School would
be preserved to reflect the school district's past and to pass
its history on to future generations.
Governor G. H. V. Bulyea and members of the first Legislative
Assembly on the front steps of McKay Avenue School, 1906
Provincial Archives of Alberta, Edmonton, B 6743
oldest schoolhouse, a wooden frame building, is situated on the
same grounds. Now known as the 1881 Schoolhouse, it was the first
free public school in Alberta. While in use, until 1904, it sometimes
served as a courthouse and meeting hall. Also a Provincial Historic
Resource, the little school was restored as an Edmonton Public
Schools' centennial project in 1982 and moved up from its river
valley home of many years to within a few hundred meters of its
W. Carson and class in front of the Edmonton (1881) School, 1886
Provincial Archives of Alberta, Edmonton, B 3894