St. Mary’s Parish Hall, formerly a Canadian National Railway station, became the city’s 100th municipal historic resource on Monday.
“The St. Mary’s Parish Hall/CNR Station is an example of how we’ve successfully adapted the reuse of a heritage structure,” says Kimberly Haskell, a planner with the City of Calgary. “It shows how a building can have many phases through its life.”
The building opened in 1905 as a parish hall in Rouleauville, a French community that was annexed to Calgary in 1907. St. Mary’s was sold to the Canadian Northern Railway, which was succeeded by Canadian National Railway, in 1911 and transformed into a passenger train station from 1914 to 1971.
The building stood unoccupied from 1971 to 1982, but Calgary City Ballet then moved in. After that dance company merged with Alberta Ballet, St. Mary’s Parish Hall then housed this second ballet company.
“This building has always been a space of intense emotions — the elation of performances, and then happy reunions or long goodbyes on a station platform,” said Alberta Ballet artistic director Jean Grand-Maitre. “Now it’s a home for a ballet company, and St. Mary’s history is part of the heartbeat of our creations.”