Robert Percy Barnes

Robert Percy Barnes established the Alberta Association of Architects in 1906 and dedicated ten years of work here coinciding with Edmonton’s first building boom.

Johnson & Barnes (1905-1906)

Barnes & Gibbs (1910-1920)

Robert Percy Barnes was born in London, England in 1857. He articled as an architect there, then worked for two years with R. Norman Shaw, a prominent British architect who later designed many consequential buildings in Victoria, British Columbia. Barnes emigrated to Winnipeg in the early years of the 1880s working in the audit department of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He moved to Montreal, establishing his own architectural practise there in 1888, focusing on churches and private residences. At the beginning of the building boom in Edmonton, Barnes moved here and opened an office with Henry Denny Johnson for a short but noteworthy time, designing the imposing Imperial Bank building, McDougall and Secord’s building - the Purvis Block - on Jasper Avenue, and Richard Secord’s grand Queen Anne residence.

Working on his own for a time, then partnering with Charles Lionel Gibbs, Barnes was responsible for the original clapboard Christ Church Anglican; the Edwardian-styled Arlington Apartments, Edmonton’s first apartment building; and the Buena Vista Apartments which was known for many years as the Glenora Bed & Breakfast. Barnes also left his mark on Jasper Avenue designing the Beaux Arts Goodridge Building and the Merchant’s Bank of Canada - similar in scope and dignity to the Imperial Bank.

The Alberta Association of Architects owes its inception in 1906 to Robert Percy Barnes who served as its president in 1909. He also set the exams for the University of Alberta’s School of Architecture. He retired to Victoria in 1921, passing away just five years later.


Full Name

Robert Percy Barnes


Imperial Bank



Architectural Styles

Classical Revival

Character Defining Elements

Architrave, Columns, Pediment, Pilaster, Plinth, Portico, Rectangular footprint, Scagliola, Stone structure, Three storeys or more


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