Historic McKay Avenue School
There are certain places you experience that are so much more than just their bricks and mortar. Often rich in history, these spaces evoke a reverence that quiets mouths and sparks imaginations. Unassumingly located in downtown Edmonton, there is such a place.
On a quiet street, overlooking Edmonton’s river valley, sits historic McKay Avenue School and the 1881 Schoolhouse, built in 1904 and 1881 respectively. These historic landmarks have been meticulously preserved and cared for, and are true gifts the community can share and enjoy.
In addition to being the bedrock of education for thousands of students from its beginnings through to the 1980s, historic McKay Avenue School served as the meeting place for Alberta’s first Legislative Assembly. In that time, many important decisions were made about the future of the province, including confirming Edmonton as the capital and founding the University of Alberta. Historic McKay Avenue School has always, and continues to play an important role in curating and sharing Alberta’s enduring legacy.
Over time, historic McKay Avenue School transitioned into Edmonton Public Schools Archives and Museum. Today, it offers curriculum-based, hands-on programming for students, a public museum highlighting Edmonton Public Schools and Alberta’s early political history, and an archives where historically significant documents are preserved for future generations. Historic McKay Avenue School acts as a beacon to the community where people not only experience our history but also come together to create new and lasting memories.
Historic McKay Avenue School was never just a school, and now, in keeping with its storied tradition, it has the opportunity to be so much more than simply a nod to history. As a mainstay in our downtown core, it has the potential to become a dynamic community hub that hosts events, fosters community collaboration, and inspires new ways of thinking.
Realizing its full potential will require care, attention to community needs, and resources to build on existing strengths. By expanding awareness and the role historic McKay Avenue School has in the community, there is the opportunity to create a sustainable future as a destination where we gather to learn, make memories, share meals, toast special occasions, and build a brighter tomorrow. The legacy of historic McKay Avenue School is not only in its past, but in our community’s vibrant future.