ALBERT SCHOOL, SASKATOON
Albert School is an elaborate and imposing three storey brick and granite building with a central tower in Saskatoon. It reflects a British style which emphasized simple, bold lines. Constructed in 1911, the Albert School (now called the Albert Community Centre) is located in the neighbourhood of Varsity View. This historic place, located at 610 Clarence Avenue South, was designated as a Municipal Heritage Property in 1983. Designation was limited to the building’s exterior.
As the city expanded in size, the demand for more and better educational facilities grew and the Saskatoon Public School Board met the challenge by planning the construction of ten major schools. David Webster, who emigrated from Scotland in 1908, was the official Public School Board architect from 1910 to 1914. Albert School was one of four great school plans developed by the Saskatoon architect. These buildings were designed in true British tradition - solid brick with a classic turret-top. The school reflects the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture. The highest storey of the building, with its wide view of the city, was home to the school’s caretaker who kept the huge school heated with coal. King Edward School, demolished in 1979, was considered to be the twin of Albert School.
In addition to serving as an educational centre, Albert School played a big role in city sports, especially lacrosse and hockey. A drop in enrollments brought the closing of the school in 1978, after which it served as the centre for L’Ecole Francaise de Saskatoon. Through the efforts of the Saskatoon Heritage Society and various community groups, the school became the Albert Community Centre after being purchased by the City of Saskatoon. Today the building is used for a variety of community programs, writers’ groups, and the arts. The school continues to stand as a witness to the educational ideals of the early Saskatoon community, and through the City’s Heritage Awards Program Albert School received an award for restoration of a public building in 1986.
Source: City of Saskatoon Bylaw No.6408; City of Saskatoon Built Heritage Database; Canadian Register of Historic Places