Gibbard Block

The building originally featured nine suites, between one and five rooms each, on the second and third levels and two storefronts at street level. Each suite had electric lighting, their own telephone and intercom, and hot water in bathrooms, each lighted from a central skylight well. An acetylene central gas plant provided fuel for cooking. With terrazzo flooring in the foyer and a pressed tin ornamental ceiling on the main floor, this apartment was built to draw a refined class to the newly developed Highlands district. The exterior is finsihed in Redcliff brick from southern Alberta and displays Classical Revival features such as brick pilasters, large scrolling wooden brackets, a wood and metal cornice, contrasting lintels and large keystones above the windows.

Well-known Edmonton architect Ernest W. Moorehouse designed the apartment block to included what a 1913 newspaper trumpeted as "the latest idea in architecture, comfort, modern equipment and convenience." It was the vision of Highlands promoters William Magrath and Bidwell Holgate who purchased the property originally. They soon turned William Thomas Gibbard of Nipanee, Ontario for one-third of the $90,000 needed to construct this building. Gibbard likely never lived in Edmonton, but he visited his daughter and her husband here. In fact, part of 57th Street between 112th and 118th Avenue was named Gibbard Street for a short time.

Initially the apartments were rarely vacant and the grocery and drug stores that hel tenancy on the main floor stayed for many years. But with the passage of time, the block ended up changing hands several times and by the 1970s and 1980s the building served as low income housing. It took another visionary to bring the Gibbard Block back to its glory days. Ernest Eder opened a bistro in the building in 1979 and steadily bought out several partners to gain full ownership in 1988. He presently runs the La Boheme restaurant on the main floor and a bed and breakfast hotel in the upper floors.

Structure Details

Address 6423-6427-112 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5W 0N9
Neighborhood The Highlands
Time Period Urban Growth: 1905-1913
Year Built 1912
Type Commercial
Designation Status Municipal Historic Inventory
Architect(s) Ernest William Morehouse
Architectural Style
Character Defining Elements Rectangular footprint , Three storeys or more , Brick structure , Flat roof , Date stone , Lintel , Pilaster , Cornice , Keystone , Skylight , Parapet , Brackets

Additional Images