“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared September 9, 2003.
Freeze/Linton Block, 122 8th Ave. S.W.
Then: Freeze/Linton Block
• Issac S. Freeze, a member of Calgary's first town council, built this two-storey business block in 1887 to house his clothing and dry goods store. The first Bell Telephone Exchange was located on the second floor until 1893 when the Linton Brothers bought the building for their stationery store. The business of selling books, magazines, stationery, wallpaper, paints, office supplies, toys and games thrived and, in 1906, the brothers built a three-storey addition at the rear of the building. The Linton occupation ended in 1935 when James Campbell Linton retired. A fire in December 1985 destroyed the historic structure and the remaining vacant lot was converted to park use until the construction of the Telus Convention Centre.
Now: Telus Convention Centre
• On May 30, 2000, Mayor Al Duerr and Premier Ralph Klein opened the $70-million Telus Convention Centre. The new centre is an expansion of the old convention centre across the street and includes 70,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, a main hall the size of four hockey rinks, a 433-stall parkade, a new LRT station, parkade, Plus-15 walkway and high-tech communications equipment. Telus paid $11.5 million for 30-year naming rights and 6,800 square feet of space. Less than a month after opening, the centre hosted the World Petroleum Congress. One of the unique architectural features of the new centre is the integration of historic building facades into the overall streetscape design.