It’s rather fitting, wouldn’t you say, that a historic building in downtown Calgary that once served as a bank is now home to a gym.
I mean, is there any greater investment you can make than in your health?
In case you missed it, GoodLife Fitness has opened its newest location in the 85-year-old former Bank of Montreal building on Stephen Avenue. The grand opening for the flagship club was held Tuesday (Jan. 13).
Here’s the full press release:
GoodLife Fitness strengthens heart of downtown Calgary
New club breathes life and energy into historic Bank of Montreal building
CALGARY, AB: People living and working in downtown Calgary can now enjoy their workouts surrounded by natural light, limestone and Corinthian columns with the opening of the newest GoodLife Fitness club in the historic Bank of Montreal (BMO) building on Stephen Avenue.
GoodLife Fitness Founder and CEO David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans chose the long vacant former bank building as an ideal location for the company’s flagship Calgary club. Patch recognized the potential of the location and the importance of preserving this vital part of Calgary’s heritage – a building symbolizing the origins of Calgary’s business success.
“Calgary has such a successful economy and vibrant business core,” said Patch. “This gorgeous building pays tribute to the city’s heritage and provides an opportunity to bring a truly unique, enjoyable fitness experience to people working and living downtown. This is one of our most beautiful fitness clubs in Canada and I’m delighted to welcome Calgarians through our doors.”
GoodLife Fitness worked with Square Feet Design Group Inc. and Trigon Construction Management for over a year restoring the historic building’s mezzanine, main floor and basement. The company took great care to protect the unique decorative features including 35-foot ceilings embellished with rosettes and 917 ounces of gold leaf, marble floors, decorative mouldings and original chandeliers.
According to Lori Ireland of Square Feet Design, there were special structural and decorative considerations in transforming a heritage building to accommodate a fitness club.
Working closely with the Historic Resources and Management Branch of the Alberta Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the team reinforced the structural floor load to carry the extra weight and vibration of the equipment and replaced the cooling and fresh air systems. They uncovered solid marble inlaid floors, cleaned and restored ornamental plasterwork, and polished brass doors and handrails.
“We developed brand new approaches to meet infrastructure requirements and ensure the heritage elements of the building would be conserved. GoodLife took great care to rebuild many of the interior historic features and uncovered beautiful decorative elements in the process. One of the washrooms is actually built inside an old bank vault. It was well worth the extra effort,” said Ireland. “The faces of the GoodLife employees and members of the public visiting in recent weeks say it all. Their positive reaction confirms we were successful in maintaining the historic elements and accentuating the original beauty.”
The Stephen Avenue GoodLife Fitness club opened its doors on December 18, 2014 with a full range of professional fitness experts, high-end equipment and fitness classes. Club amenities include cardiovascular equipment, strength training equipment, free weights, group fitness classes, personal training, massage chairs, modern change rooms with dry cedar saunas and more.
GoodLife Fitness is the largest fitness club chain in Alberta and continues to expand across the province. There are currently 27 GoodLife Fitness clubs in Alberta including four Fit4Less clubs. The company plans to expand to 30 clubs in the province in the near future. In the Calgary area, there are currently 13 GoodLife Fitness and two Fit4Less clubs. GoodLife is working to provide great fitness options and convenient locations where Albertans can feel welcome while they achieve their health, fitness and wellness goals.
About the building
• Montreal architect Kenneth Guscotte Rea (1878-1941) designed the Bank of Montreal building. He designed more than 120 bank buildings across Canada.
• Rea designed the building in the monumental Beaux Arts style, which incorporates neo-classical elements that reflect wealth, dignity and stability.
• Built in 1931, the heritage value of the Bank of Montreal building lies in its association with the establishment and consolidation of financial institutions in Calgary.
• The Stephen Avenue building served as Bank of Montreal’s regional headquarters and main western Canadian office for 50 years.
• Clad in Manitoba Tyndall limestone, the building boasts a front façade with
four fluted Corinthian columns. The building also features marble floors, lavish gilded plasterwork and original chandeliers and sconce lights.
• Well-known music and electronic retailer A&B Sound operated out of the building for 10 years before vacating the location in 2005.
About the restoration
• The ground level and mezzanine of the building are 30 feet tall, complete with columns topped with ornate Corinthian capitals and decorated with gold gilt appliqué.
• The original chandeliers are intact and operational, as are large solid brass wall sconces. They have all been cleaned and new LED lamps installed to improve lighting levels.
• The inside walls are adorned with hand painted Neo Classic panels with decorative mouldings that are also hand painted with gold gilt.
• The centre of the banking hall has a solid marble floor with inlaid borders. The floor had been covered for many years but has since been buffed and polished. The original solid marble stairs were also uncovered and restored to reveal an inlaid marble pattern.
• Since the original stairs to the mezzanine had been removed, GoodLife installed an ultra-modern granite and glass staircase in a new location that is now a design feature.
• The original solid marble handrail and spindles were protected from damage during construction. The GoodLife team developed custom, hand painted wood spindles and handrails to replace a section that was previously damaged.
• The ornate brass handrails were carefully polished and reinstalled.
• The entrance vestibule is made of solid brass slabs. All were buffed and polished to remove tarnish that had accumulated over the years.
• The original entry was a revolving door system. A previous tenant had removed the system, so GoodLife installed new full height glass doors on the exterior, as well as an interior vestibule.
• The original brass exterior doors had been buried behind hoarding at the front of the building. Once the new glass doors arrived, GoodLife removed the hoarding and the original brass doors are now visible.
• The main entrance features a large marble feature wall with a clock and the original Bank of Montreal coat of arms. The clock was repaired and the crest was hand polished.
• The original bank manager’s office is clad with detailed wood wall panels and a marble fireplace and mantel. These features were restored.
• An existing exposed stone exterior wall in the spinning room has been showcased with accent lighting.
• The original vault doors have been permanently pinned in an open position and one of the vaults is now a rental locker room for the members to store their personal belongings. The other vault was converted to a men’s washroom.
The 24-4 Stephen Avenue GoodLife Fitness club offers:
• Cardiovascular equipment
• Group Cycling
• Team Training
• Personal Training
• Strength Training equipment
• Locker Rentals
• Towel Service
• Dry Cedar Sauna
• Massage Chairs