A.E. McKenzie Seed Warehouse




339 10th ave SE


This three-storey building was erected in 1912, and jointly occupied by the A.E. McKenzie Seed Co., Mussens Ltd. (railway contractors' supplies), and the Johnston Storage & Cartage Co. In 1918, the building was taken over by McDonald Cooper Ltd., wholesale grocers, the forerunner of McDonalds' Consolidated and ultimately Safeway Stores. Safeway remained at the site until 1935. Western Canada Importers occupied the structure from 1938 and remained until 1981.

A.E. McKenzie Seed Co. played an important role in the maturation of Calgary's wholesale district. One of the largest farm suppliers to Calgary and district, the company negotiated the establishment of a spur line with the C.P.R. in 1912. This spur line, necessary to the company's distribution function, was applied for jointly with a neighbouring wholesaler, the Calgary Wine & Spirit Co.  Crossing at the lane in Block 77, the spur line provided improved access to regional markets for both companies. Prior to the First World War, the distribution of goods in the West was dependent upon the railway, the pattern of wholesale development in Calgary was determined by the ability of companies to secure locations and access to the C.P.R. freight yards.

A good example of warehouse architecture, the building is less distinguished than other in the wholesale district. An unusual composition, the structure has three window strips distinctly separated by broad brick piers. A projecting pilaster strip further enhances this configuration. The building is typical in scale and size for the period, when practical solutions required designers to build large, sturdier and more fire resistant structures. (1982)






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