Elegance and Originality Became A Little Bit Of History From A Breathtaking City.

The Magrath Mansion has many historic story’s behind it and it all starts with the fighting words of the original millionaire developer William Magrath in the early 1900’s “I was not afraid to live with the people of the east end, feeling that they were just as good as myself. My home is built there and it is not a home I can transfer. It was built to stay and I expect to make it my home forever, while I am on terra firma.” William Magrath and his wife Ada arrived in Edmonton on the first CN train from Battleford Saskatchewan in 1904. There was no development made in the land of high places called the Highlands when he decided to undertake this land development and also make the most prestigious home in all of Edmonton. Later in time becoming the first historic home in Edmonton.

The mansion, it’s columns and balconies looking like something out of “Gone With The Wind” is still the most prominent home on Ada Boulevard and opulent home in it’s day. Snaking along the riverbank past the mansion Mr. Magrath named this avenue Ada Boulevard after his wife Ada Lake. It is one of Alberta’s most impressive residences with one of the most stunning vistas in the city. You could say that the Highlands area could not be, if it wasn’t for this intelligent man William J Magrath. Other homes of his were also built in Bellevue, City Park Annex, Windsor Park and West Glenora. Not only did this man try to take on political success but he was the very first president of the Alberta Curling Association and president of the Edmonton Baseball Club- a franchise in the western Canada league.

Before the Magrath mansion was even designed by architect E.W Morehouse, William Magrath- (A developer born in Peterborough Ontario in 1869) paid $20,000 to have Edmonton’s White-sign street car line extended down 111th avenue to his new development: The Highlands. Having so much hope and faith in believing what was to come years down the road.

This home was built in 1912 for approx. $85,000. a fortune back then. It carried with it in the beginning 14 rooms, 4 fireplaces, 7 bathrooms, a ballroom, library, an intercom system, swimming pool, a bomb shelter, 2-door garage along with a carriage house and home for the butler, and servant’s quarters. This sprawling red brick house has porticos and numerous wide verandas and covered walkways with a panoramic view over the river valley. It was originally set on a 10-lot site facing the river valley and the Highlands Golf Course. It has now gone down to a 6 lot site but It remained in the family until the early 30’s due to the depression and death in the family. The real estate crash of 1914 & the subsequent depression left Mr. Magrath destitute. He ended up dying in 1920 of illness and his wife Ada, unable to pay back taxes was evicted in 1931. She coincidently moved only a block away from the mansion where she lived with her only son.

It was vacant until 1953 when the Ukrainian Catholic church bought it as a residence for the bishop, priests and nuns. It was bought for $25,000. and had another 25,000. in repairs and restorations were done. In the early 90’s it was put up for sale and the church spent years trying to sell it, when finally after nearly a decade the president of Northgate Industries bought it for his wife and begun the process to restore it to the stunningly accurate originality of it’s full turn of the century glory.

All the plumbing, wiring, insulation and flooring had to be replaced to keep it as authentic as possible. Every detail in the house echo’s the grandeur of an earlier and more gracious age. The front door fashioned with leaded glass and polished oak, leads into a large almost breathtaking hallway. Across the hallway is the library paneled in oak to about shoulder height and the fireplace is faced with hammered brass and porcelain, hiding interior lights. It was supposedly brought to Canada from a British museum after one of Mrs. Magraths frequent European expeditions. She was a lady much impressed by elegance and with excellent taste. The mantel also has a greeting carved in stone: “Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out smiling”

There are old turn of the century wall system telephones as well as dumb-waiter laundry shaft’s situated throughout the home. A built in vacuum system is installed, the ballroom and swimming pool was taken out, Intercom systems were connected as well as a burglar alarm system designed to sound when any window or door is opened. The beautiful kitchen does have period touches to it but is essentially modern. So are several of the second floor bathrooms. But the main floor drawing room, sunroom, music room, dinning room as well as the second floor bedrooms are stunningly accurate restorations. The original wall “paper” in the room was silk and hand painted by an artist from Vienna and then restored by Edmonton Artist Kathryn Kern. The cherubs on the ceiling have not been touched and the staircase winding up only varnished. The original hardwood flooring in the entrance was long gone and replaced in the 1950 by cheaper wood that did not last. So recently the owners tracked down a Quebec company that specializes in hotel and period homes to design a Victorian lace pattern costing $20,000.alone. The dinning room needed some of the most careful restoration. The grapes on the ceiling had to be molded back to luscious round grapes and was handcrafted for 8 months by artisans from Poland. The matching mahogany was imported from Japan and bathroom fixtures were supposedly imported from Paris and marble tile from Rome.

This 11,500. sq foot home is estimated at 4.5 million and It’s best to say that Edmonton has one of it’s finest architectural treasures return to all it’s majesty. This stunning Vista awaits the awe and excitement of brides, wedding’s, families and there guests to experience a little piece of history or a Lifetime of Memories in this mansion.