OUR VENUE - Currie Barracks
Currie Barracks is a complex of ten historic military buildings and two associated landscape features of the former Canadian Forces Base Calgary located on a parcel of approximately 47.3 hectares of land in Southwest Calgary. The site centres upon the rectangular parade square, an open paved surface defined by a landscape perimeter with mature trees, a series of two-and-a-half storey masonry barrack blocks and administrative buildings. Three historic buildings located off the Parade Square in the Officers' Precinct also contribute to the site's overall significance and landmark status.
The significance of the Currie Barracks site lies chiefly in its association with Canadian military presence and traditions in Alberta, such as the establishment of permanent forces in the province, the site's role in militia training, and the involvement of the Canadian Armed Forces in various international assignments. Additionally, the Currie Barracks site is significant as it was constructed as a major Depression relief project under the Public Works Construction Act. The site, with the Parade Square as its central focus, stands as a landmark of Alberta's military history.
The Currie Barracks site represented a significant advance in establishing a permanent military presence in the province. For decades, Canada's permanent forces in Southern Alberta were serviced largely out of Mewata Armouries and at stables rented from the City of Calgary. In the early 1930s it was abundantly clear that a larger facility would be needed to house and administer the Regimental Headquarters as well as other units such as the "B" Squadron of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). To this end, the Currie Barracks site was planned and built on what was then the southwest edge of Calgary's city limits. As the facility grew, with intensive periods of construction from the 1930s through the 1950s, so did the relationship of Canada's Armed Forces to the general public. Numerous military units such as the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada called the Currie Barracks home. It became the headquarters for the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade Group in 1958, and until 1997, when the base was decommissioned, was home to its successor, 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.
The Currie Barracks site was constructed with funding allocated by the Public Works Construction Act of 1934, a Depression relief measure. $1.2 million was set aside for the barracks and an aerodrome project, and in 1935 a further $400, 000.00 was granted. This major project not only allowed for the necessary facilities to be built for Canada's military, but also provided employment for hundreds of out-of-work people, mostly men, during the most difficult years of the Depression. When hundreds of Permanent Married Quarters (PMQs) were built adjacent to the Barracks Site in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the work had a similar positive impact on Calgary's labour force.
Over the years, the site hosted many special events, becoming a focal point for interaction between military personnel and civilian Canadians. Dignitaries were often entertained there, with troops being inspected on the parade square by Canadian Governors General, and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who was accommodated overnight in a suite of rooms in the Officers' Mess. In this way, the Currie Barracks site serves as a symbolic landmark of Canada's military history in Alberta.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2025)