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Historic Calgary fire hall evolves into outdoor arts space

Calgary’s No. 1 Fire Hall will transform into an outdoor arts spot with the addition of a courtyard.

The fire hall, located at 6 Avenue and 1 Street SE, which has been mostly vacant since 2019, served as the city’s main fire hall for more than 60 years.  

Now, a partnership between the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and the City of Calgary will turn the space into an arts area.  A temporary pergola will be added next to the iconic downtown Calgary building and picnic tables will be added to the area.

Weekly events will be hosted through August and September.

“Activating this block of beautiful but neglected heritage buildings has the potential to light a much-needed spark in this area,” said Coun. Druh Farrell.

“A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to creating vibrancy in our downtown and this project is an example of that type of activation.”

Jessie St. Clair (left) and Emma McCaul put together their art installation – ESCAPE. CONTRIBUTED

Local artists Emma McCaul and Jessie St. Clair of the Moonlight Collab created an art installation titled Escape. It has a collection of handmade and hand-painted ladders at varying heights. They drew from the area’s fire hall theme with the ladders, inviting visitors to escape while they are at the location.

“This historic outdoor space offers another great opportunity for discovery in our captivating city,” said Clare LePan, CMLC’s Vice President of Marketing & Communications.

“This site offered a great opportunity to consider an adaptive reuse of the space while longer term activation of the historic building is still being determined. We are proud to be working alongside our partners on this project that showcases a creative design intervention that builds on the vibrancy of downtown.”

Beginning Saturday, live music and an art installation will take over the space. It will start at 1 p.m. and go until 5 p.m.

That will kick off weekly events. More information can be found at the city’s website.