Affectionately known as ‘the King Eddy’, the King Edward Hotel was built in phases between 1905 and 1910, making it Calgary’s second oldest hotel building. The hotel’s earliest, three-storey section, built in 1905, is typical of early twentieth century design and construction in Alberta. The hotel’s five-storey section – constructed in phases in 1907, 1909 and 1910 – is characterized by its solid, larger scale and differentiated detailing. Like so many of Calgary’s early buildings, most of the stone for the King Edward’s sandstone detailing came from local quarries.
In the early 1980s, the King Eddy became one of Canada’s first blues bars. Hosting legendary blues musicians like BB King, John Hammond, Pinetop Perkins and Otis Rush as well as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, it gained a national reputation as ‘Home of the Blues’. When the King Edward closed its doors in 2004, the hotel was considered Canada’s oldest blues bar.
In spring 2008, CMLC issued a national call for Expressions of Interest from groups interested in rejuvenating and making use of the historic King Eddy. In May 2008, following a rigorous competitive process, CMLC selected a partner for the project: Cantos Music Foundation, whose vision is to incorporate the King Eddy into the 160,000 sq ft National Music Centre (NMC) – an architectural icon that will straddle 4th Street SE. To further contribute to the realization of this significant cultural asset and bona fide city landmark within East Village, CMLC also enabled the transaction of land for delivery of the NMC – a project valued at $135 million. For more information on the NMC, visit www.nmc.ca.
In 2010, restoration and environmental remediation work began in the hotel; and as part of the construction of NMC, interior/exterior restoration isongoing. Construction of the NMC began in February 2013, with completion scheduled for 2015.