Imperial Tobacco Warehouse


220 11 Avenue SE

Constructed in 1929, during Calgary's economic revitalization of the late 1920s, the Imperial Tobacco Co. Warehouse is a good representative of industrial architecture of the period. Used as a tobacco warehouse from 1929 to 1961, the building is located in the heart of Calgary's warehouse district. The building symbolizes Calgary's important commercial role as a distribution centre in Western Canada.

A national company, Imperial Tobacco Co. Ltd. was responsible for the construction of the building, although it was also used by another tobacco wholesaler, Tuckett Ltd. The availability of spur lines and competitive shipping rates often made Calgary the preferred choice of national wholesalers. Originally located in warehouse space shared with the Calgary Wine & Spirits Co. at 206 11 Avenue SE, the Imperial Tobacco Co. required larger facilities by the end of the decade. Designed by the Company's engineering department, the project was inspected by the local architectural firm of Fordyce & Stevenson. Contract work was undertaken by Bennett & White and was one of their earlier commissions.  Similar to the warehouse of the Northern Electric Co. (1929), the Imperial Tobacco Warehouse is a good indicator of how quickly Eastern architectural influences and building trends were transferred to Calgary. One of the warehouse district's best examples dating from the 1920s, the Imperial Tobacco Building has a reinforced concrete structural frame, clearly expressed on the exterior. Ornamentation is kept to a minimum as the structure itself serves as the primary ornamental feature. An insensitive addition to the left has altered the appearance of the building, but not damaged the structure's physical integrity.Later used as a furniture store (Bondar's beginning in 1966), the site is indicative of the shift from mixed warehousing to furniture retailing and manufacturing in the district. The Imperial Tobacco Building is an excellent example of the area's second wave of development in the late 1920s.  (1982)

     The Imperial Tobacco Co. building was rehabilitated to accommodate residential condominium units in 1997. (1998)

(Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 02-135)