Albert Pryce Jones of the Welsh mail-order house Pryce Jones established a Canadian branch that operated in Calgary from 1911 to 1916. The department store spurred the construction of a new Hudson's Bay Company store in downtown Calgary although it closed when Pryce Jones enlisted as Commander of the 113th battalion of the Lethbridge Highlanders during the First World War.

"Calgary's Valentine," the Pryce Jones department store, opened on Tuesday, February 14, 1911, in a new red brick building on the northwest corner of 12th Avenue and First Street SW. It was billed as a "Metropolitan Store for the Metropolis of the Last West." Management invited customers to participate in the store's success. "We have a mission to fill in Calgary and we plan with your assistance to make this store second to none, not even the huge metropolitan stores of the East. We believe the sublime optimism which is fostered and thrives only on the fenceless prairies of the West will aid us in doing this. We want your co-operation and patronage; in return we will give you good service, reasonable prices and the finest goods the world produces."

Calgary's Pryce Jones department store was the Canadian branch of a famous mail-order house established in Newtown, Wales, around 1851. Rumours of the company's Calgary plans surfaced in June 1910, when Albert Pryce Jones, who was visiting from Wales and staying at the Braemar Lodge, bought property on First Street SW and commissioned the local architectural firm of Hodgson and Bates to draft plans for a store. Two months later, local contractor George H. Archibald and Company were at work constructing the three-storey (plus basement) reinforced-concrete-and-brick structure. The project proceeded quickly and by November the local newspaper profiled the building as it neared completion.
by Jennifer Cook Bobrovitz
Reprinted from Calgary Real Estate News, February 11, 2000, with the permission of the author

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans