President Apartments



801 12 Avenue SW

Municipal Historic Resource

An eclectic building with references to Classical architectural details including arched Romanesque windows with balconettes on the upper levels, symmetrically placed pediments, and front and rear arched entrances surmounted by projecting pediments. The design is attributed to architect Alexander Pirie. Located adjacent to the homes of the wealthy, it was considered a prestigious address and is of importance in maintaining the dominant character of the street.

The President Apartments is a three-storey apartment building in Calgary's Connaught-Beltline district.  It was built in 1927 on two of three lots that had long been owned by Martin Kavanaugh of Iroquois, Ontario.  The building was constructed for Samuel Diamond (circa 1889-1974), who owned the property from 1929-1949.  Diamond was the son of Philip Diamond, an early resident of Canmore, Alberta.  Samuel's aunt and uncle, Rachel and Jacob Diamond, became Calgary's first permanent Jewish residents in 1888.  Diamond lived in the building from 1929-35, when he became the owner and resident manager of a distinguished downtown residential hotel, Braemar Lodge.

Notable early tenants of the President included: George B. Fay, a co-founder of Western Canada Greyhound Lines, who lived in the building from 1933-37; Ted Mayhew, manager of the Queen's Hotel, who lived in the President in the 1930's and 1940's; and Samuel Diamond's niece, Martha Cohen, and her husband Harry Cohen, who lived there from 1947-50.  Harry Cohen was manager of General Distributors Ltd., and later became manager of Sony of Canada Ltd.  Martha Cohen is the namesake of the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary's performing arts centre.

The building is a wood frame structure with stucco cladding.  The windows on the upper level are of an arched Romanesque style with balconettes.  The roof parapet is detailed with symmetrically placed pediments, alternating stepped profiles with curvilinear forms.  The front and rear entrances are articulated by a projecting pedimented arched opening.





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The President apartments have seen minor renovations and have been well maintianed in close to original condition.



An Interior hall of the President Apartments.  Although the building is nothing fancy, it maintains a strong level of character.