Built in 1908 as a teaching training or “normal” school, the McDougall building was home to the first classes that would eventually grow into the University of Calgary. One of the first buildings designed by the Department of Public Works, it is now a provincial government building, and it was built of sandstone, as many of Calgary’s buildings were in that era. At the time it was completed, it was the largest education building in the province. The design followed the Beaux-Arts, Renaissance Revival style school, with ornate columns, balconies, and an attic storey with circular windows. The interior featured decorative wood and plasterwork that has withstood the passing of time.
It is possible that Calgary was chosen at the location of the province’s teachers’ college because Edmonton had been made the provincial capital and the site for the University of Alberta was in Strathcona, which became part of Edmonton in 1913.
In 1922, the Calgary Board of Education purchased the building, renaming it McDougall School after George McDougall, a Methodist missionary, and his sons John, also a missionary, and David, a trader and rancher. The Normal School moved to what is now Heritage Hall on the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) campus, where it eventually became the Faculty of Education of the University of Alberta, Calgary.