“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared July 27, 2004.
Then: Burns Block
• Architect William Dodd, with Calgary mayor Thomas Underwood as contractor, designed the $65,000, three-storey sandstone building, which was erected on the site of the Hull Brothers butcher shop. The block, originally constructed for William Roper Hull, became part of a business transaction that eventually saw Pat Burns take it over. The Canadian Bank of Commerce occupied the ground floor and Burns had offices on the second floor. Other tenants included the CPR telegraph office and F.C. Lowes. City council approached Burns and he responded quickly to citizen requests for a clock tower. The clock in the 20-metre tower, the only one of its kind between Vancouver and Winnipeg, was started Feb. 18, 1905.
Now: Imperial Bank of Commerce Building
• The Canadian Bank of Commerce, after merging with the Imperial Bank, occupied the Burns Block until it was torn down in 1965 to make way for the Imperial Bank of Commerce Building. The clock was given to the Glenbow Alberta Institute but was sold to an antiques dealer when storage became an issue. The clock was eventually discovered in pieces and lovingly restored by Calgary Watch and Clock Collection Club members. It was installed in the cupola from the demolished James Short School. The cupola, which is now in James Short Park, was originally designed to house a clock when built. However, after a fight over costs erupted, it was never installed.