Calgary Wine & Spirit Co.


206 11 Avenue SE

     This warehouse symbolizes the predominance of Calgary as a jobbing centre. The structure is an important part of the wholesale district and is significant for its early association with an international company. Constructed in 1911, this warehouse symbolizes Calgary's increased prominence as a jobbing centre prior to the First World War. One of several businesses in the warehouse district to be Calgary based, the Calgary Wine & Spirit Co. used this structure to serve retail sales from their Stephen Avenue store. The warehouse was also home to the Imperial Tobacco Co. until the early 1930s when a new tenant, also a tobacco company (Tuckett Ltd.), took over the property. From 1948 on, the building witnessed a mixed use by several enterprises including the War Surplus Store, Addisons Ltd. (1951-1960) and Braemar Homes (1960-1979).

     The Calgary Wine & Spirit Co. was a significant Alberta enterprise. Serving the entire province, the business was established by Vital Rabey, a seasoned entrepreneur who came to the city from Montreal in 1905. With his brother-in-law, P. Lamendeau, Rabey applied his experience to Alberta, eventually becoming one of the largest liquor suppliers in the province. In 1908, they expanded their operations to Edmonton, forming the Edmonton Wine & Spirit Co. Rabey was an influential member of the Calgary Board of Trade, and often helped to finance young businessmen with their new ventures.

     The Calgary Wine & Spirit Co. warehouse has undergone several alterations. An early arched window, designed to reduce the linear quality of the building's facade, has been removed. Originally, the large arched window dominated the street level focusing attention on the display area, thus elevating the building from its adjacent warehouse district setting. The arch reflected changes in technology which allowed large openings in load bearing masonry, as well as recalling the recently popular Romanesque style. Later additions (1929 and 1977) have reduced the early stylistic intent.

     This building is important because of its long-standing connection to an Alberta-based enterprise. Although modified, it is a significant component of the pre-WWI wholesale centre formed along 10 and 11 Avenues.


(Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 02-142)