A look into the building blocks of one of Calgary’s oldest inner city neighborhoods.
Upper West is located on the west end of Hillhurst, also known as West Hillhurst, and is called home by families, long-time residents and young newcomers. The neighborhood was originally a farm owned by the pioneer Riley family, and annexed by the city in 1907, though development didn’t pick up until around 1945. At this time, Victory houses were prominent in the area for returning soliders of WWI. These houses were designed to last about 5 years, but many still exist today.
Here’s a look into a few more of Hillhurst historic buildings.
This Kensington Road staple was built in 1912 and served as shops on the ground floor, and residences up top. The building was renovated a couple times, most recently in the summer of 2016 when it reopened as Hayden Block– a southern BBQ and whiskey house.
The Plaza Theatre
Built in post-WWI 1928 The Plaza Theatre structure was originally a service station, and rebuilt in 1934/5. The Plaza Theatre is the last functioning movie house in Calgary, a landmark in the Hillhurst/Kensington communities.
The Alberta Goverment Telephones expanded Calgary service hugely following WWI. This automatic exchange, originally named the Louise Exchange, was built to serve the Hillhurst community in 1922. The brick building has withstood the test of time and maintains it’s original construction, right down to the window frames.
The Riley House
The Riley house was constructed in 1910 by the son of pioneer rancher and Hillhurst developer, Thomas Riley. In 1987 the house was sold for $1 to Wayne Ellise and Lynne Smith-Ellis for the widening of Crowchild Trail, and was moved to 27 St.
The Grand Trunk Cottage School
One of seven cottage schools built in outlying subdivisions prior to WWI, The Grand Trunk Cottage School was to provide temporary accommodation for classrooms. It was used for schooling until the spring of 1958, and lease in 1959 to the Western Canada Epilepsy League. It has been home to the Maritime Reunion Association since 1981.
Source The City of Calgary