. ford motor company of Canada building
902 11 Avenue SW
In 1927, Henry Ford realized that his competition had caught up to his innovations, in addition to offering customers more options (Ford famously offered his Model T in “Black, black, or black”). In response to General Motors overtaking the market, Ford unveiled the Model A, the successor of the Model T. It was here that Calgarians could see the new automobile models and the head to head competition between the top auto producers - with Ford on the west side of 8th street and GM on the East side.
This two story brick warehouse served as the Ford Motor Company from 1922 until the late 1950’s; with only a brief shutdown in the early 1930’s due to the Great Depression. The fact that this warehouse was placed here was a strong symbol of Calgary’s dominance as the commercial and industrial capital of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
Built in 1922, the warehouse was designed by the architectural firm of Wells-Grey Ltd. Engineers. While it was originally an industrial building, it was still built with a strong influence of classical design, albeit in a simplified way.
The building was built on 11th Avenue due to the branch line of the CPR that branched from the main tracks. Evidence of the former tracks can still be seen in the alleyway between 11th and 10th Avenues. The alley is extra wide and many of the warehouses that have survived backing onto the alley have loading docks that can accommodate the train freight cars.
Originally, the building featured a second-floor showroom and was well known for the extra loud whistle mounted at the top of the building that signaled the beginning and end of the each shift and lunch hour. The robust design of the industrial building is still evident, since the building was built to withstand the weight of the Ford cars and trucks.
The building was used as a storage warehouse by the Glenbow Museum from 1961-1976. Since then it has housed the architecture firm of Cohos Evamy & Partners. The original architecture of the building has been changed by the addition of new windows, paneling, and a door hood made of brown metal.
Harry Sanders, “Historic Walks of Calgary”, Red Deer: Red Deer Press, 2005, p. 270-271
Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 02-144
Graham Gauld, "The Ford Motor Company” London: Phoebus, 1974.
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