Jun 21, 2012

Assiniboia Inn in Medicine Hat

Located downtown, the Assiniboia Inn and the giant vintage neon sign that hangs off the side of the building are relics of a bygone era.  The Inn has closed, and I'm not sure about the bar inside, but for years the 'Sin Bin' has been regarded as a dive, popular mostly to a few regulars and soldiers in town from the base.  I'm not trying to sound insulting, but the last few decades have hardly been this building's best.

In documenting local landmarks, it's tough not to note the size of the Assiniboia building in contrast to other buildings downtown.  It's relatively large and its prominence along South Railway Street hints at the significance of the history surrounding it.  In fact, this building was constructed in the early 1900s as the Hooper-Huckvale Block and would've been a major commercial centre at the time.

Originally the building featured store front windows all along its base, and housed offices for various professionals on the floors above. It wasn't until the early 1950s that the building was renovated and expanded to become the Assiniboia Hotel.  

As the focus shifted away from downtown in the 1980s, things began to decline for the Assiniboia. Today the building is looking pretty rough around the edges. It would be exciting, however unlikely, to see this building refurbished as office space or apartments. Like so many older buildings downtown though, it would probably be cheaper to rebuild. 


Hooper Huckvale Block ca. 1913





Building before renovation and expansion as a hotel ca. 1950












Striking workers out front of Assiniboia Hotel ca. 1954



Assiniboia Hotel ca. 1950s







Assiniboia Hotel following 1950s renovation.



Hooper Huckvale Block in the early 1900s.


4 comments :

Anonymous said...

It looks like a decrepit-ed dump, and should be torn down, before it goes up in flames and take down town with it.
It does nothing for tourism, and nothing for down town..

Stevie Herd said...

Spent many a drunken night in the Bin. Ha ha great memories of Many a Med Man up at BATUS.

Ryan Thomas said...

I've noticed people inside the building, and the lobby lights are on. Do you know if people are living there?

BB said...

Appreciate the pictoral journey. My mother's brother, Ike Ternes, worked at the Assiniboia during the 1930's. The whole family grew up in MH. I can only imagine what the place was like in it's prime. A bygone era. Restored it would make a fabulous downtown apartment/office/coffee complex. That would be my hope....