Alberta Legislature Building

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alberta Legislature Building
The Alberta Legislature Building
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Address10800 97 Avenue NW
Town or cityEdmonton, Alberta
Coordinates53°32′1.3″N 113°30′23.8″W / 53.533694°N 113.506611°W / 53.533694; -113.506611Coordinates: 53°32′1.3″N 113°30′23.8″W / 53.533694°N 113.506611°W / 53.533694; -113.506611
Construction started1907
CostCA$2 million
ClientGovernment of Alberta
OwnerGovernment of Alberta
Height57 m (187.0 ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Allan Merrick Jeffers and Richard Blakey
Other information
Public transit accessEdmonton Transit System Light rail interchangeCapital LineMetro Line Government Centre station
Bus interchange Government Centre Transit Centre

The Alberta Legislature Building is located in Edmonton and is the meeting place of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and the Executive Council of Alberta. It is often shortened to "the Ledge".[1][2][3]

The Alberta Legislature Building is located at 10801 97 Avenue NW. Free tours of the facility are offered throughout the week. The building is also connected via underground walkway to the Government Centre station and Government Centre Transit Centre.


The Alberta Legislature Building at night.
View from the north. A large plaza and greenspace is situated to the north of the legislative grounds.

The building is located on a promontory overlooking the scenic North Saskatchewan River valley near the location of Fort Edmonton, Mark V (1830–1915), a Hudson's Bay Company fur-trading post, a long-established economic and administrative centre of the western Prairies.[4][5] It is just up the hill from the archaeological finds at Rossdale Flats to the east, remnants of a long-standing First Nations campsite and location of an earlier Fort Edmonton. The Legislature's location was selected shortly after Edmonton was confirmed as the provincial capital by the first session of the Legislature in 1906. The legislature building was located along 97 Avenue. That road was routed through a tunnel during the 1970s renovations to the grounds, allowing a large plaza to connect the legislature to a greenspace to the north.

To the west of the building, the grounds are bounded by 109 Street and the railway right-of-way coming north from the High Level Bridge, now used by the High Level Bridge Streetcar. Nearby is a walking path, connecting to the Victoria Park and Golf Course and the Grandin neighbourhood. To the north lies the "Government Centre" district within downtown Edmonton, south of Jasper Avenue, Edmonton's main street. Here are found several provincial government office buildings including the Federal Building. A short section of 108 Street, called "Capital Boulevard", is anchored by two terminating vistas, the legislature and MacEwan University's City Centre Campus. MacEwan is a part of the Old Canadian National rail yard redevelopment.

Nearby to the northeast is the Government Centre transit centre, and further east is the Rossdale neighbourhood and Edmonton Ballpark. The security of the Legislature building and surrounding grounds are the responsibility of the Alberta Sheriffs Branch.

Statues and memorials[edit]

Several memorials and statues are situated within the Legislative Buildings, or the grounds surrounding it. The fountain inside the Legislature Building was installed during 1959 to commemorate the first visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the building.[6] For the province's centennial, the Queen unveiled in the same structure a series of stained glass windows that highlight the role of the monarchy in Alberta over the previous century. The centre window, at the front entrance of the building, focuses on the reign of Elizabeth II, including her royal cypher surmounted by St. Edward's Crown and flanked by wild roses, while the other windows commemorate the reign of George VI, Edward VIII, George V, and Edward VII, along with provincial emblems such as the coat of arms and the wild rose.[7]

Other items of significance on the grounds include the Lois Hole Memorial Garden, the statue of Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, and a memorial to Chief Crowfoot.

"Purple City"[edit]

A local custom involves area teenagers staring at the building's flood lights and then looking up to see everything in the color purple.[8][9] [10]

The band The Rural Alberta Advantage referenced the custom in their song Edmonton.


View of the building in 1914, shortly after it was opened and prior to the demolition of Fort Edmonton (visible in the foreground).

The Alberta Legislature Building was built between 1907 and 1913 in the Beaux Arts style at the same time as the much larger Saskatchewan and Manitoba legislative buildings by architects Allan Merrick Jeffers and Richard Blakey. Montreal architect Percy Nobbs helped with the final revisions.[11] Allan Merrick Jeffers served as the Alberta Provincial Architect from September 1907 to 1910. The Provincial Archives of Alberta holds drawings for virtually all provincial buildings executed under his supervision.[12]

Construction first began in August 1907. The cornerstone was laid by the Governor General of Canada, Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, on October 1, 1909. On November 30, 1911, the first session was held in the building. The building was officially opened by Lord Grey's successor, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, on September 3, 1912.[13]

Jeffers may have been influenced by the State House of Rhode Island, where he had been a student. The style was associated originally with the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was fashionable in North America between 1895 and 1920.

The use of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian architectural influences was considered appropriate for a public building, as they suggested power, permanence, and tradition. Beaux-Arts buildings are characterized by a large central dome above a spacious rotunda, a symmetrical T-shaped plan, doors and windows decorated with arches or lintels, and a portico supported by massive columns. The dome has terracotta made by Gibbs and Canning of Tamworth, Staffordshire, England.

The building is supported on concrete piles and constructed around a steel skeleton. The first floor is faced with Vancouver Island granite; upper floors feature sandstone from the Glenbow Quarry in Calgary. The interior fittings include imported marble, mahogany, oak, and brass.

The building is about 57 metres (187 ft) in overall height;[14] the project cost over $2 million at the time.[15]

For the centennial of the province of Alberta, stained glass windows with the royal monogram and the emblems of Alberta were installed above from the main entrance of the building. These stained glass windows were unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on May 24, 2005.[16][17]


  1. ^ "Alberta Legislature". Explore Edmonton. Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  2. ^ Charnalia, Ameya (18 July 2018). "The ledge grounds just got a whole lot boozier". StarMetro Edmonton. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  3. ^ Trynacity, Kim (20 October 2016). "Alone at the 'Ledge'". Canadian Media Guild. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  4. ^ "The Design of Alberta's Legislature Building". Edmonton International Airport. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  5. ^ "Legislature Building and South Grounds". Heritage Resource Management Information System. Archived from the original on 2020-10-26. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  6. ^ Jackson, Michael D. (2005). "The Queen of Canada in Alberta" (PDF). Canadian Monarchist News. Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada. Fall-Winter 2005 (24): 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-08. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  7. ^ "Unveiling offers window of opportunity for Royal watchers" (Press release). Queen's Printer for Alberta. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  8. ^ Media, Odvod (2015-01-01). "#YEG: The Colour Purple". Edify. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  9. ^ "Purple City: An Edmonton Tradition". Edmonton City as Museum Project ECAMP. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  10. ^ "Purple City: an Edmonton tradition no one tells you about". GIG CITY. 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  11. ^ "Percy Erskine Nobbs Biography". McGill University John Bland Architecture Collection - The Architecture of Percy Erskine Nobbs. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  12. ^ Dictionary of Architects in Canada
  13. ^ "Alberta Legislature Building". Heritage Resources Management Information System.
  14. ^ "Alberta Legislature Building, Edmonton - 112771 - EMPORIS". Archived from the original on December 6, 2018.
  15. ^ [1], The 75th Anniversary of Alberta's Legislative Building.
  16. ^[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "2005 Royal Tour to Alberta - LG".


External links[edit]