Model Milk Building


308 17 Avenue SW

The Model Milk Company was established in 1932 by James C. Colpitts, a dairy farmer and fox rancher from the Springbank district just outside of Calgary. During the Depression it was difficult to find a market for agricultural products , so Colpitts formed the Calgary dairy in order to sell his milk production directly to city consumers. The incorporation of the company and the construction of this building marked important steps in the shift in the dairy industry from the use of rural creameries to urban processing plansts. At it's peak in the 1960s, this was the largest producing dairy in the province.

It was also the first dairy in the West to install a high-temperature pasteurization system in1935, and the first in Calgary to use trucks for distribution. The milk bar, which had a seperate entrance from the dairy business, remains in the memory of generations of Calgarians who enjoyed its excellent milkshakes and the City's largest five-cent ice cream cones. In 1965, rival Palm Dairies bought the Model Milk Company.

Built by contractor Fred Jones, the dairy is a very good example of utlitarian brick-faced Modern architecture. The name "Model Milk" and milk bottles appear in relief on the copings atop the pilaster strips on the facade. The building is of structural interest because no wood was used in it's constrction; which was felt to be unsanitary in case of spillage. An addition was made to the Model Milk building in 1959-60 by architect Stevenson Raines. Although the building has been redeveloped with new interior changes, the exterior has remained largely unchanged.