Building a Legacy

3 April 2014

Building a Legacy: Edmonton’s Architectural History
by Ken Tingley, with Lawrence Herzog
Published by Coteau Books
Review by Keith Foster
$39.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-545-0

Every city deserves to have its own coffee table book displaying its heritage structures and architectural marvels. Building a Legacy: Edmonton’s Architectural History is a shining example of how such a book can be organized.

This 234-page hardcover book shows Edmonton’s history through hundreds of black and white and colour photos of its buildings. Lawrence Herzog, who has photographed and written about the city’s history for more than a quarter of a century, took many of the photos, supplemented by photos from the City of Edmonton Archives.

Author Ken Tingley’s narrative is well-researched and well-written. Each chapter covers a period from the fur-trading days at Fort Edmonton up to the 21st century. He also includes an index and glossary of architectural terms.

The book provides basic information on each building, such as its address, date of construction, and date of its designation as an historic resource. Tingley then gives a fascinating narrative background on the buildings and the people involved with them.

Tingley notes some of the city’s more colourful characters, and this is where the book shines. Clarke Stadium, for instance, was named after “Fighting Joe” Clarke, who earned his nickname as an alderman when he came to blows with the mayor during a city council meeting. Clarke later became a mayor himself.

Tingley has a wealth of experience researching Edmonton’s history and has written or edited numerous publications on Alberta’s past. In 2010, Edmonton selected him as the first municipal Historian Laureate in Canada.

Building a Legacy not only provides a permanent record of Edmonton’s buildings, but sets the standard for how such a coffee table book should look.



  • Allan Shute 24 September 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent review! You might add Lawrence Herzog to the credit at the top because his input was crucial to the creation of this much-needed book. Also you might correct the Ken Tingley date of appointment to April 2010. Thank you for helping let people know about this worthwhile treasure.

  • SPG 20 October 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Allan,

    Thanks for the feedback. The changes you suggested have been incorporated into the text.

    Thank you.

    SPG Book Reviews