Devenish Apartments


908 17th Avenue SW

Municipal Historic Resource

On the corner of 17th Avenue and 8th street SW, you will find a beutiful example of Calgary architecture prior to World War I.

Growing agricultural prosperity throughout Alberta and the expansion of the railway in the early 20th century stimulated a dramatic population increase in the City of Calgary. Housing shortages were soon apparent, igniting a boom in construction.  As a response, Oscar Grant Devenish (real estate agent and oil man from Spokane, Washington), contributed greatly to the expansion of the City's residential suburbs. Establishing such subdivisions as Westmount, Capitol Hill, and Manchester.

The Devenish Apartments, constructed in 1911, was one of several luxury apartment complexes built to house the city's growing entrepreneurial and managerial class. It was proclaimed to be the largest and most modern apartment block in the West, complete with all the convieniences of modern living, including telephones, laundry rooms, and built-in furniture.

The Devinish was designed by architect Alexander Pirie who also designed the St. Regis Hotel, the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, and the President Apartments. In his day Pirie was 'considered to be one of the most skillful and painstaking architects in the local profession'. Originally more ornate, the Devinish Apartments' ecclectic architectural style once exhibited a castle-style exterior with crenellated turrets on the corner towers and decorative parapets, stylitic details which could be attributed to Pirie's Scottish roots. The balconies, which are supported by handcrafted brackets, are an excellent example of the Craftsmanship of this building. It is these types of details that set the devenish apart from other brick buildings built in Calgary from this period.

The building still retains it's contrasting sandstone window sills and lintels, although they have now been painted white. The interiors are well lit through the incorporation of many windows into the design, made possible by the building's reinforced concrete construction.



. to offer comments, corrections, or improvements to the article, email us at:

The Devenish Apartments -  has seen some minor changes to the exterior since it was constructed in 1911



Boutique shops, and small offices fill the Devenish today. Which is still a very popular, and very viable building in the Beltine.