Among the first acts of the newly formed Legislative Assembly was naming a capital city and building a Legislature in which the Assembly would carry out its business. Then the centre of Alberta's booming agricultural sector, Edmonton became the capital city. In 1907, the construction began high on the tree-covered banks of the North Saskatchewan River, just north of the fifth and final Fort Edmonton location. From this site, the Legislature Building honours the role the fur trade and the Hudson's Bay Company played in our province's humble beginnings.
The Neoclassical Design of Alberta's Legislature Building
Both commanding and elegant, the classic design of Alberta's Legislature will stand the test of time. Upon entering the Legislature, one is immediately drawn to the domed ceiling of the palm room soaring over 36 metres above the spacious rotunda. A revival of imperial Roman architecture, the neoclassical beaux arts design of the Legislature Building is consistent with early 20th century North American architecture.
Created from the mould of the Westminster parliamentary system, Alberta's Legislative Assembly continues to uphold century-old traditions and practices. When members thump or bang on their desks rather than clapping to show appreciation, they are honouring a tradition originally brought about to allow one hand to remain at the ready on the sword. Likewise, the desk spacing between the government and opposition sides of the House is, to this day, exactly two and a half sword lengths to ensure a peaceable session. Although today the Sergeant-at-Arms is the only person present in the House with a sword, these traditions are part of the rich parliamentary history on which our province is built.