. customs house
134 11 Avenue SE
In its day, the Customs examining Warehouse was a key element of the warehouse district. It was here that duty-bearing merchandise, which mostly arrived by rail, was inspected and cleared in Calgary.
Short distances between columns and heavy architectural features reveal the buildings sturdiness. The rough surfaced sandstone base gives the warehouse a massive feel, considered appropriate of an institutional building of the time. Other impressive details remain, such as the metal horizontal molding, or cornice, which crowns the building.
When it was designated a Provincial Historical Resource in 1979, Minister of Culture Mary LeMessurier characterized the building as "the largest and most impressively designed building of it's type in Alberta." It remained a federal government office building until 1982, when the City bought it for use by the police department.
The building was sold to private owners in 1997. In 2002, it became home to the Cantos Music Museum, which holds a world-class collection of musical instruments. University of Calgary Urban Design Lab was there as well for a period of years, but has now returned to the University Campus.
Dialogue, an architecture firm is now the major tennant of the building. With 175 employees, they take up the entire 3rd and 4th floors, as well as half of the ground floor.
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