That Alley Downtown

That Alley Downtown 2020. T Cote, watercolour on graphite, line and wash
9-1/2” x 13-1/2”

I always enjoyed this alley in downtown Saskatoon, with its iconic architecture, gaining access to some unique local businesses.

The two major buildings in the foreground are the Avenue Building on the right, which was built in 1912 and originally known as the MacMillan Department Store. It was built by Saskatoon’s then future mayor Frank R. MacMillan and designed by Winnipeg architect William Fingland. The T. Eaton Company purchased MacMillan’s store and it was the single largest department store in the city before selling the business, but not the building, to T. Eaton Company in 1927. MacMillan extensively remodeled his building, inside and out, to convert it to office space, and renamed it the Avenue Building.

In the left foreground is the Travellers block annex followed by a private alley and the original Travellers block. You can peer down the lane and see the street front of 3rd Avenue South, and the jewel in the vanishing point is an edit I made. I historically changed the storefront to be that of Mikado Silk in the McKay Block, 223 2nd Avenue South. The style of the McKay Block is characteristic of Edwardian architecture. The building is named for Dr. William J.McKay, a physician and Saskatoon’s medical health officer (1906-1912). and Dr. McKay’s office from 1907-1911. Mikado Silk is no longer there, but was a historic business in downtown Saskatoon starting in 1933 for over 40 years and being a prolific sewer, I had more of a connection to it.


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