One of Calgary's oldest homes to be restored

One of the oldest houses in Calgary will get a major renewal in 2019. Rouleau House dates back to 1885. It has sat empty since at least 2003 when it was acquired by the city.

City has a line on tenant for Rouleau House, which dates back to 1885

The Rouleau House was built in 1885 in what's now Mission, in Calgary. (Audrey Neveu/Radio-Canada)

One of the oldest houses in Calgary will get a major renewal in 2019.

Rouleau House dates back to 1885. It has sat empty since at least 2003 when it was acquired by the city. 

However, it finally has a line on a tenant for the building. That is the trigger for a $1.45-million renovation of the house's interior and exterior this year.

Calgary pioneer Dr. Édouard-Hector Rouleau lived in the house with his family from 1887 to 1902.

It's a surviving structure from the francophone community of Rouleauville, named for Rouleau and his brother. The village later joined Calgary and encompassed much of today's Mission neighbourhood.

In 2005, the city moved the house a short distance from its original site to its present location on First Street S.W., just behind the old CNR station that's used by Alberta Ballet.

The house has sat empty and boarded up for years.

Councillor wants city to look after heritage buildings

After the fire earlier this month that destroyed another city heritage asset, the Enoch Sales house, Coun. Evan Woolley expressed frustration and concern for other pieces of Calgary's history like Rouleau House.

"That building is boarded up and has been neglected by the City of Calgary for years and it's just unfortunate and very unnecessary," Woolley told reporters last week. 

But the city's facility management group says work will be starting on Rouleau this spring.

Executive advisor Jillian Henderson said the extensive renovation will include replacing the siding, the roof, as well as electrical and mechanical systems. Additional fire-proofing of the wooden structure will also be done.

Interior views of the Rouleau House in 2011. The bay windows in the dining room are pictured on the left, and the original staircase is shown on the right. (City of Calgary )

Retaining heritage does carry a price tag.

"Anytime you're doing a rehabilitation of a heritage asset, it is more costly just because you do need to be following the national heritage standards," said Henderson.

City keeping close eye on Rouleau

She wasn't prepared to say who is the prospective tenant that the city has found or how Rouleau House will be used when the renovations are done.

Until the work is complete, precautions are being taken with the building to ensure it is safe.

Executive advisor Jillian Henderson says the Rouleau House will undergo extensive renovations. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

"The building itself is currently fenced and then we also are ensuring that there's daily security checks occurring," said Henderson. 

Historically, she said it's a significant building that's worth ensuring future generations get to see.

"It's an early example of modest Queen Anne revival architecture and it also is the original home of a former really prominent citizen of Calgary."


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