Award of Excellence – Conservation – Small & Lovely

McKenzie Sharland Grocery

Medicine Hat, Alberta
Awarded to:

Jeanie M. Gartly (J M Gartly Design Studio Inc.)
Sam Boisvert (Donald Luxton and Associates)

The McKenzie Sharland Grocery, constructed in 1912, remained intact and habitable until a major flood of the South Saskatchewan River caused the foundation to collapse in 2013. As a designated municipal historic resource, a rescue was initiated. A condition appraisal and conservation plan was drafted in accordance with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, and in 2015, the foundation was replaced with a new poured concrete foundation, and re-roofed with rolled asphalt. 

Due to the presence of asbestos and deteriorating plasterwork, the interior was stripped and cleaned, new plumbing, wiring and insulation installed to create a fully code compliant modern building. Some character-defining elements were lost in the process, but other covered historical elements restored. 

A building evaluation was prepared for the McKenzie Sharland Grocery in September 2012 as part of a heritage program to build a Heritage Resources Inventory for the City of Medicine Hat as well as the Sharland family’s interest to designate the building. At that time, the City of Medicine Hat’s evaluation criteria used a scoring system that also scored the building a 95 out of a 100 for a Category A heritage resource. The Statement of Significance (SoS) was recently amended to address the character-defining elements that were significantly impacted by the 2013 flood and to create a new chapter in the history of the building. The McKenzie Sharland Grocery was formally designated a Municipal Historic Resource by the City of Medicine Hat in 2014. Upon completion of the conservation of the building, the designation plaque unveiling celebration took place on October 1, 2021, with Len Sharland and three generations of his family in attendance.