Anderson Estates (Calgary, Alberta)
(by Wes Lafortune)
From its original purpose as a so-called bachelors hotel to serving as a backdrop to a local pop divas music video; Anderson Estates, more commonly known as the Anderson continues to be one of Calgarys most beloved historical buildings.
Built in 1912 for a cost of $150,000 the Anderson Apartments (804-18 Ave. S.W) was from its inception a unique building on Calgarys cityscape.
Conceived by businessman, Alexander Victor Vic Anderson, the building was lavish in its details with a brass cage for the elevator, brass railings for its main staircase and Italian marble flooring used to finish the foyer.
Vic Anderson was born in Point Levis, Quebec in 1863 and moved to Calgary in the early 1890s. He operated several businesses in Calgary which included a buggy and implements shop located on Atlantic Avenue (now 9th Ave).
Anderson was married to a woman in Calgary shortly after his arrival from Quebec but it was not to be a long nuptial. His wife of 15 years died in 1908 and it was then that the widower began to develop plans to build a luxury five-storey building that would be attractive to those who lived alone.
The architect of the Anderson was Roscoe Whitten who designed an H shaped building in order to allow natural light to filter through the windows of the original 63 suites. Because of the prestige and quality of the Anderson, suites were expensive ranging upwards of $60 per month for one bedroom.
As he had planned, Anderson moved into, and managed the building occupying a suite until his death in 1920. The Andersonfamily continued to own the building until the 1970s when it was sold to another local family. Since that time the Anderson has been converted into condominiums, but still retains its red brick exterior and baroque architecture.
In 1995 The Anderson had a brush with fame when Jann Arden made a music video there which later aired on television to promote her hit single, Insensitive.
Once the tallest building in Calgary the Anderson continues to captivate Calgarians because its history, style, and folklore.