Elegant Beaux Arts buildings were constructed between 1885 and 1930 especially by those wanting to portray an image of prosperity.

By 1914 the design of Canadian federal buildings and banks was generally dictated by Beaux-Arts architecture and represented the refinement and principles of the aristocracy at the time. The name comes from the premier school of architecture in the late 19th century, France’s École des Beaux Arts, and essentially means ‘fine arts’. The style is inspired by ideas from the French Renaissance and features symmetrical plans and an eclectic use of architectural attributes. The massive, often ostentatious buildings generally have classical columned façades, but were an elaborate contrast to the ascetic ‘temple-front’ designs seen elsewhere in North America.

The Beaux Arts movement greatly influenced architectural education especially in the formal planning of architectural geography. It was a significant impetus for the City Beautiful movement prevalent at the turn of the century. Edmonton’s planned suburbs like Glenora and Groat Estates which feature parklike settings and grand houses on vast boulevards exemplify this trend. 


  • flat, low-pitched, or hipped roof; some have mansard roofs
  • roof-line ballustrades and blustraded window balconies
  • elaborate moldings, dentils, and modillions accenting cornice lines
  • quoins, pilasters, and often paired Ionic or Corinthian columns and capitals
  • symmetrical, temple-like façade that may have a cut-off corner for the entrance
  • wall surfaces with lavish surface ornamentation especially of garlands, floral patterns, or shields
  • smooth, light coloured stone masonry
  • rusticated first storey



Character Defining Elements

Arch, Balcony, Balusters, Balustrade, Brick structure, Columns, Concrete Structure, Cornice, Cupola, Decorative brick, Dentil, Entablature, Flag pole, Flat roof, H shape footprint, Keystone, Parapet, Pediment, Pilaster, Pillars, Portico, Rectangular footprint, Steel Structure, Stone cladding, String course, Three storeys or more, Voussoirs


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