Le Fort Centre - Calgary, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 50° 55.362 W 114° 03.985
11U E 706172 N 5645328
Quick Description: One of the buildings from the old Lacombe Home, Le Fort Centre is immediately south of the landmark wooden water tower on St. Mary's University campus.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 10/12/2018 2:40:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMZB7B
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 4

Long Description:
Both water tower and Le Fort Centre are now on the campus of St. Mary’s University, which moved to the site of the old Lacombe Home in 1999. The Lacombe Home was built by the legendary Father Albert Lacombe, a priest of the Oblate Order and one of the best known and most revered early missionaries to work in Western Canada. The Lacombe Home was built on 200 acres of land near Midnapore donated by equally legendary local cattleman Pat Burns. As well as the land, Burns also donated beef, dairy products and dairy cattle to the home. Lumber, coal, cash, even transportation of materials were all donated to build the home by well heeled friends of the Father.

Officially opened in 1910, the home continued in operation until fire claimed it in 1999. Several ancillary buildings survive, including the water tower, the site now the campus of St. Mary's University. St. Mary's, which had its beginnings in 1985, moved to the site in 1999, offering a liberal arts program. The buildings from the Lacombe Home which survive have been repurposed for use by the university and new buildings have been added to the campus. In 1986 St. Mary’s College became St. Mary’s University College and in 2014 the university changed its name from St. Mary’s University College to St. Mary’s University.

Le Fort Centre, once classrooms for the Lacombe Home, has been restored and has become classrooms for St. Mary's. The following bronze plaque has been mounted by the front entrance.


This Alberta Heritage Building (1913) that housed the classroom of the famous Lacombe Home has been restored as a tribute to and named for Monsignor Joseph E. Le Fort, through the generous support of Ronald P. Mathison, in memory of his mother Mary Theresa Mathison (nee Cush).

Monsignor Joseph E. Le Fort was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1920 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1945. He has faithfully served the people of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary for over 60 years. The restoration of this historic building serves as fitting recognition of this eminent Albertan's distinguished service to the people of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary and to St. Mary's University College.

Calgary, Alberta
June 30, 2007


We recently stumbled across a Calgary Herald news item concerning the Le Fort Centre, which is reproduced in part below.

Restoration helps St. Mary's keep pace with enrolment

David Parker - Calgary Herald | 19 Jun 2007

The city will be able to boast of another restored heritage building at the end of this month when work is completed on a fine historic red brick building on the campus of St. Mary's University College It was one of the former Father Lacombe Home buildings built around 1913 that served as a classroom for the children of widows and orphans cared for at the home.

The home burned down in 1999 but the two-storey classroom and the nearby water tower that has already been restored were saved.

A total of $2.5 million was raised to restore and renovate the structure that will be named for Monsignor Joseph E. Le Fort, a close family friend of the major donor Ron Mathieson, of Matco Investments.

It will be used for classrooms as well as a bookstore and cafeteria, which St. Mary's president Terrence Downey would like to see used by the community at large. They are much needed as enrolment continues to spiral. St. Mary's opened its doors with 25 students in 1997 under the leadership of David Lawless, former president of St. Frances Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. When Downey arrived at the college in 1999 there were 65 and to day 680 attend classes.

The college's first home was in St. Anthony's school on 48th Avenue S.W. The move was made to its location alongside Fish Creek Provincial Park after 14.5 hectares of land and buildings were purchased from the Roman Catholic Diocese for $8.75 million. In 2006 it bought Midland United Church, which was built on the land in 1991. It has been using it for classrooms, a convocation hall, the college's first rate drama and music program, and for public lectures.
From The Calgary Herald

Photo goes Here

Type of Marker: Cultural

Sign Age: Historic Site or Building Marker

Parking: A parking lot is available in front of the building

Placement agency: St. Mary’s University

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