10425 - 99 Avenue, Edmonton
McKay Avenue School has played a significant role in the educational, social and political development of Edmonton and of Alberta.
The school was named after Dr. William M. MacKay, a Hudson’s Bay Company officer and surgeon. Dr. Mackay served at several posts, including York Factory, Norway House, Dunvegan, Lesser Slave Lake and Fort Chipewyan. After retiring from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1898, Dr. MacKay moved to Edmonton with his family and opened a medical practice. A spelling error in the naming of the street in front of where the school now stands was perpetuated in the naming of the school.
This substantial three-storey brick school, designed by H.D. Johnston and contracted by R. J. Manson, was constructed over 1904 and 1905 and cost Edmonton Public Schools approximately $44,000 to build. After the Province of Alberta was created in 1905, the school’s third floor assembly hall housed the first two sessions of the Alberta Legislature, held in 1906 and 1907. In 1912, due to increased need for classroom space, the school was enlarged to the west.
McKay Avenue remained an operating school until 1983. At that time, the school board made the decision to restore the building as Edmonton Public Schools Archives and Museum.
Built using the then popular Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture, McKay Avenue School embodies the optimism of turn-of-the-century Edmonton. The exterior remains substantially unaltered, while the interior has been extensively restored to reflect its use as a school and the appearance of the third floor assembly hall during the time it housed Alberta’s first Legislative Assembly.
-Edmonton Historical Board
Designation & Awards
Edmonton Historical Board Plaque Award
Provincial Historical Resource, Province of Alberta 1976/05/18
For information about booking McKay Avenue School as an event venue, please call the EPSB Archives at 780-422-1970.