Is it a Beautiful Day for the Neighbourhoods?
Avenue, January/February 2007, pp. 28-33

Take one heritage advocate. Add a commercial realtor. Set them in a heritage home. Apply the heat of a sizzling real estate market. Then watch a story unfold that, in microcosm, reflects the angst abounding in Edmonton as good times hit with a vengeance.

For Edmonton Historical Board Co-Chair Marianne Fedori and husband Paul Gemmel, the story begins with their pedigree bungalow, designed by architect William Blakey in 1946 as his own residence. “I want to save my house,” Fedori says, her zeal heightened by the fact that Blakey icons such as the original Journal building and the T. Eaton store have already fallen. “But in this crazy market, the land outweighs the value of structure, substantially. Paul has a partner who says, ‘When Marianne is away, let’s tear it down.’”

Indeed, with prices spiking more than 50 per cent in just one year, the couple’s lot…

© 2007 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
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Doris Tanner: Unsung architect
Legacy, Winter 2004, pp. 26-28

Three women breeze into Imrie House, trailing a blast of December crisp. Susan, Merrill and Laura—three of the four children whose lives, as surely as her architecture, carry Doris Newland Tanner’s imprint beyond her death. I’ve invited them here, to the home-office designed by Mary Imrie and Jean Wallbridge and since deeded to the Province of Alberta, thinking a space created by women would aptly set the stage for recollections of their mother’s life and work. Now I realize it’s a return visit as the three begin recalling times past. Times when they played in and around this house throned above the North Saskatchewan River while their mother conferred with two women who, like her, were plying their talent as early as the 1940s in the markedly male profession of architecture.

Hearing her daughters talk, I’m struck by the passion Doris held for a career most contemporaries say she merely dabbled in….

© 2004 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
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HomeMakers: Alberta’s Women in Architecture
Fall 2001, pp. 8-11

The ’50s-vintage home office designed and built by pioneering architects Jean Wallbridge and Mary Louise Imrie hides behind a tree-shrouded gravel road in west Edmonton. Unassuming from the front while commanding a panoramic view of the North Saskatchewan River from inside, the house offers an apt metaphor for the role played by female architects in a culture that still thinks of its built landscape as “manmade.”

Architecture remains a male bastion across Canada, employing five men for every woman. Yet women have helped to shape more buildings than we know-and those in Alberta played key roles in opening the way….

© 2001 by Cheryl Mahaffy. All rights reserved.
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