Another building in Lacombe’s Historic Downtown has been officially designated as a historical resource by the City of Lacombe’s Heritage Resource Committee.
The Fraser-MacDonald building, which currently houses the Lacombe Medi-Spa and Laser Centre, was built in 1920 and owner Trish Bowen thought was already designated due to the historic plaque on the exterior of the building.
“I didn’t realize that it wasn’t and that they just put plaques up on all the buildings,” Bowen said. “I talked to the City and said for sure that we want to designate it. That was the start of it and it is really exciting.”
Jennifer Kirchner, city planner and member of the committee, said the Fraser MacDonald building is the seventh building historically designated by the City and is an example of one of the last example of Edwardian architecture.
“It was built to serve a couple purposes. It provided the home for an insurance agency and it was also connected to the Hudson’s Bay Land Agency. That provided the important roles of selling people land and helping them protect their space. Both of the gentlemen were also connected to one of the railway lines as well,” Kirchner said.
The building eventually became home to a travel agency, which installed one of the signature historical pieces in the building: A flight travel map from the 1950s installed on one of the interior walls.
“Typically,something like that, which is generic advertising, after a company changes hands would disappear. It is still in impeccable condition,” Kirchner said, adding her research shows it could be one of the last maps like this in Canada.
Anyone in Lacombe who owns a property that is 50 years or older is eligible to have their building historically designated.
It is really owner-driven, so any owners who are interested — I am more than willing to have a chat with them,” Kirchner said.
“They can contact the City of Lacombe. The planning department works through the designations. I would be happy to explain the process, the benefits and answer any questions people have.”
The municipal historical designation of buildings is a City grant, meaning it is currently unaffected by provincial buts, but Kirchner did say the province also historically designates buildings and provincial staff can be a helpful resource for owners of historical properties.
“They have wonderful staff with the province who provide great advice on conservation. That resource is incredibly valuable,” she said.
The Committee currently doesn’t have plans in the near-future to designate more buildings but they are always willing to listen.
“We have been chatting with some different owners. We don’t have anything concrete on the books but anyone who has an inkling, we encourage them to explore the opportunity,” she said.