Classrooms and ghosts

Reid Henry, President and CEO, CSPACE Projects, in an upstairs hallway of the old King Edward School.

It’s been a while since I’ve smelled chalk dust – a scent most of today’s children probably aren’t too familiar with.

The dusty fragrance still hangs heavy in some corners of Calgary’s old King Edward School, despite not having seen a student in over a decade.

The 100 year-old sandstone building closed its doors to students and teachers in 2001, but is now to be converted into a mixed-use arts hub by cSPACE Projects in partnership with The Calgary Foundation and Calgary Arts Development.

Calgary has a bit of a reputation for discarding old buildings. It’s good to see efforts like this being made to adapt and utilize historical spaces.

The development was officially announced Thursday, but the Herald was invited along to meet and talk to those involved last week.

Between the interviews and the photos we were free to explore the sleeping school’s silent hallways and dark stairways.

King Edward School.

Far from empty, the building was full of evidence of a past life. A lone piano, a forgotten record player, and messages left on chalkboards were some of the discoveries.

When I was younger, I thought about heading into the archaeology field. I took a few courses at university but eventually opted for a, somewhat, more secure career – any newspaper photographers, or anyone in the newspaper industry for that matter, reading this will likely be laughing their heads off right now.

History is still a big reason I do what I do today.

Hardly the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the hour or so spent in the school spotting artifacts went a little way to the reawakening of any dormant archaeological urge.

Wonder what Maria did.

While not haunted, the school was full of ghosts.

Did Maria really have detention, or was it a joke left by a student from the school’s final year? Who is Adam? Where does he hang his coat today? Whose fingers last touched the piano’s keys? When was the last time the record player was used?

And contrary to one of the chalkboard notes, I thankfully did not see any dead people.

King Edward School.

Hallway coat hook.

A warning?


Old school mp3 player.

Music class

Reid Henry, President and CEO, CSPACE Projects.

One of two cast iron boilers, originally coal fired.

Drinking fountain.

Deeter Schurig, cSPACE, Project coordinator.


I didn’t see any.

And in a Media Moment:

Herald entertainment writer Steve Hunt picks an interesting location to jot down some notes at King Edward School.

Follow Stuart Gradon on Twitter – @StuGradonPhoto

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