RSSEmailPrintHomeContact Us

Go To Search
Click to Home
Points of Interest
City Hall
The Old Wetaskiwin Courthouse, built in 1907, was renovated in 2006 to become the new home of Wetaskiwin City Hall. The Old Courthouse has been a significant landmark in Wetaskiwin for over a hundred years and is a Provincial and a Federal Historic Site. 

Between 1906 and 1912, the new Province of Alberta built seven such buildings under the direction of Provincial Architect A. M. Jeffers. The Wetaskiwin Court House has the distinction of being Jeffers' first court house design and the second such building, after the Cardston Court House to be undertaken by the provincial government. The contractor estimated the building would cost $80,000 at the time of the build, but it turned out to be only $75,000 when construction was finished.

The building was constructed in modern renaissance style, with the outside being composed entirely of red brick. The front steps, the back steps, the columns, and the keystones are all constructed of stone, and the foundation is made of concrete and rubble sheathed with sandstone from the Calgary area. 

District Court
The first sitting of the Wetaskiwin District Court was held on January 21, 1908, with Judge Noel presiding. There were 33 cases on the docket, most of them being horse-stealing incidents. 

In 1920, two German field cannons that were seized from Germany at the end of World War were placed on the front lawn of the Old Courthouse. These cannons, presented to the citizens of Wetaskiwin by the Dominion Government of Canada, served to honour the many men and women of this community who volunteered for active service.

In the early years, the basement of the courthouse contained the jail cells, the caretaker’s residence, and the Northwest Mounted Police residence. The cells are in their original state, and still contain the original carvings prisoners etched into the brick walls. The caretaker looked after the building and the grounds, while his wife looked after the family, as well as feeding the prisoners and the members of the Northwest Mounted Police housed there.

Provincial Historic Site
On March 15, 1977 the Courthouse was declared a Provincial Historic Site and given the highest level of protection and commemoration by the Province of Alberta. It was also declared a Federal Historic Site on September 15, 1984. 

The Courthouse served as a focal point for the legal system in Alberta for 75 years. The last court sitting in the Old Courthouse was on June 17, 1983, with the Honourable Mr. Justice Fred MacNaughton presiding. Court from that day forward has been held at the new courthouse built near Wetaskiwin's downtown core.

After the new courthouse was built, the Old Courthouse
a building that was once an icon for the judicial system in Albertasat empty for over two decades. By the late 1990’s, the fate of the Old Courthouse was left in the hands of the Provincial Government. The future of the building was looking grim until a local developer approached the City with plans to renovate it as City Hall's new home. After several meetings between all the parties involved, the Old Courthouse was purchased by the City and construction began. 

Renovations (2005-2007)
Alberta Historical Resources was actively involved in ensuring the new design complied with their requirements. Glass was used to frame the new areas of the building as the additions had to be sympathetic to but not similar to the original building exterior. To maintain the integrity of the original building, the brick exterior of the Old Courthouse was left undisturbed.

Some leniency was allowed in order for current building codes to be met; however, strict requirements, as set out by Alberta Historical Resources, were followed when it came to restoring and renovating the original courtroom. The wood panels covering the lower half of the walls needed to remain intact, as did the original cast iron radiators (which now tie in to the geothermal heating and cooling system). The only changes made to the courtroom were the restoration of the wall paint to its original 1920 splendor and the installation of a new carpet.

The Old Courthouse was renovated to be very energy efficient, which included the installation of geothermal heating and cooling system. The result was a fabulous new City Hall that provides both employees and citizens the opportunity to showcase this beautiful community structure.

Peace Cairn
This cairn was raised to commemorate sixty years of peace between the Blackfoot (Niitsitapi) and Cree (nehiyawak) nations. This historic peace pact took place in a group of hills just north of present day Wetaskiwin. These hills are known as the Hills of Peace and the name Wetaskiwin is a derivative of the Cree word wîtaskiwinihk, meaning "the hills where peace was made." The cairn was originally dedicated during the celebrations for Canada’s Diamond Jubilee on July 2, 1927. 

The Peace Cairn is now located adjacent to the Visitor Information Centre at 4910-55A Street, across from the Wetaskiwin Water Tower.

Water Tower

Driving into Wetaskiwin from any direction, the 10-story water tower is one of the first visible signs of the city. Built in 1909 and located at 4941-55A Street, Wetaskiwin’s water tower is one of the oldest municipal water towers in Alberta. In 2004 Council decided to refurbish the structure, which had fallen into a state of disrepair. Work to refurbish the tower began in 2005, and by 2006 the water tower was completely restored. Majestic by day and illuminated by night, the tower serves as a beacon to all who enter the City.

Did you know? The Wetaskiwin Water Tower holds 454,609 liters of water.