Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building, Designated Provincial Resource
Hours of Operation

Summer Hours:
7 days a week
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Winter Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

5005 - 50th Avenue (Main Street)
Lacombe, AB

(403) 755-6935

The Flatiron building in Lacombe was built in 1904 and served as the Merchants Bank of Canada until 1922 when it became home to the Bank of Montreal. For over a century, the infamous ‘flatiron block’ was home to many businesses in the community. Almost one hundred years after the building was erected, it was privately bought and renovated. 

Today, the main floor and basement of this architectural landmark is home to an Interpretive Centre which showcases exhibits and displays illustrating aspects significant to the history of Lacombe. The exhibits are organized by the Lacombe & District Historical Society. The Flatiron Building is operated by Lacombe Regional Tourism and provides tourism information about the region.

Current Exhibits: 

An exhibit of photographs from the local archives will be on display for the 2018 spring and summer season. The photographs depict the early development of the community of Lacombe from 1896 to the 1930s.

History of the Flatiron Building in Lacombe:

The Flatiron Building is the City of Lacombe’s most recognizable architectural structure. Built in 1904, it is the older of two flatiron buildings that exist in the province of Alberta. The other flatiron building is located in Edmonton and is known as the Gibson Block.

 Flatiron buildings receive their name from their corner-block shape, which resembles the triangular shape of an old fashioned flat iron. A rare kind of structure, Lacombe’s Flatiron building follows the same type of architectural design as the Fuller Building in New York that was built just two years before in 1902.

The Flatiron Building in Lacombe was designed in 1903 by two architects from Montreal named Hogle and Davis and was home to Lacombe’s first bank, the Merchants Bank of Canada. The bank was established in 1901 and before moving into this building had operated from a rented schoolroom as well a room in the Victoria Hotel.

This building is a fine example of early twentieth century Edwardian Classical Revivalist architecture.  It is Edwardian and not Victorian due the time of its construction and the very masculine and neo-classical style in which it is built. This architectural style was commonly used for banks, courts, government buildings, and similar establishments wanting to convey a sense of power and stability through architecture.

Here in Lacombe, it greatly assisted the newly built bank to convince individuals that their money would be safe when stored in their coffers.

Between 1903 and 1919, Hogle and Davis, the two architects that designed this building, worked together to design a number of Merchant Bank branches across the country. The branch that was built in Winnipeg, shares the same Classical Revivalist style as the Flatiron, but not its triangular shape. Today, it is home to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

In 1922, the Merchants Bank of Canada was absorbed by the Bank of Montreal, which changed the fate of many prominent buildings across Canada. In Lacombe, the Flatiron Building was occupied by the Bank of Montreal’s local branch until 1967, and subsequently it was occupied by a variety of tenants and businesses including legal offices, medical offices, a rooming house, and an antiques store.

This building was designated as a Provincial Historic Resource by the Alberta Government in 1990, and was carefully restored in 2002 by the present owner. As the tallest, most prominent and uniquely shaped building on Main Street, the Flatiron’s facade is a well-known landmark that has come to represent Lacombe’s historic downtown.

Past Exhibits:

  • Lacombe's Hockey History
  • Reflections on Vimy
  • Lacombe Community Memory Project (Canada 150)
  • Catalysts for Change: Local Women and the Suffrage Movement
  • The Origins of Lacombe's Dutch Community
  • WWI Lest We Forget: Our Brave Hearts 1914-1918
  • I Love Main Street
  • Curling in Lacombe 
  • Prairie Puzzles
  • Gull Lake's early years
  • The Girl Guides Through Time
  • Celebrating 110 years of History: The Lacombe Police Service 
  • A History of Dairy Farming in Lacombe
  • Christmas Village Installation
  • Winter Sports in Lacombe

Past themes on display:
  • Pioneers and significant people in Lacombe’s history
  • Renovation of the Flatiron building
  • The Fires of Lacombe

There is also a small theatre and meeting room in the basement that can be booked for meetings and events. Please call (403) 755-6935 for information.