At 107 years old, the City Hall Clock has already had a long career keeping time for Calgarians – and its career isn’t over. The iconic Calgary time piece will be back in its tower in Historic City Hall when restoration completes in 2020. Until then the Tower Clock, as it is fondly referred to, will be on display in the atrium of the Municipal Building, during regular business hours until fall of 2019. The clock will be housed in a transparent display case which will also be used to protect the clock when it is reinstalled within Historic City Hall.
The Tower Clock is the only one of its kind in Canada, only 50 of this model were ever manufactured, and is one of just 12 Seth Thomas Clock Company models #16A around the world that still operates as designed.
Once back to work, in the four-faced tower the Clock’s hands will again point out the time and its bells will chime the hours. A City employee will continue winding the Tower Clock by hand and doing regular inspections to see if any maintenance is needed when the Clock returns to work in the five-storey, sandstone tower.
To our city’s early citizens, the Tower Clock was more than four pretty faces when installed in 1911. Its chimes were the only way most people knew what time it was as few could afford their own time pieces.
Before the Tower Clock, the best mark of time the community had was canon fire at noon. Retired North West Mounted Police officer James H. Walker carried out the task.
The Tower Clock has reliably served Calgarians over the decades with a little time off here and there as to be expected.
While we no longer depend on a clock to tell us what time it is, the Tower Clock is still a treasure as a reminder of our past.