How Lethbridge’s decommissioned water tower became a local landmark

Water tower restaurant construction, Lethbridge, Alta.
Steel floors were crafted to create the three interior floors.

In early 2000, a public plea was issued on the front page of the Lethbridge Herald for ideas to possibly salvage the landmark. Douglas J. Bergen accepted this challenge and began the three-year process of convincing the City of Lethbridge that the large steel structure should become an elevated restaurant and lounge. He hired consulting engineers to check the structure and they found it to be still strong and sturdy. The city sold the water tower to Mr. Bergen and, in March 2003, Douglas J. Bergen & Associates Ltd. received a development permit and set out to execute the transformation.

Originally constructed and erected from 1957 – 1959 with a capacity of 1.9 million litres, the City of Lethbridge Alberta’s water tower served much of the city with pressurized potable water. After the completion of the city’s water treatment plant, along with more efficient technology, it was no longer needed and stopped functioning as a water tower in 1999.

With the main restaurant level sitting 31m above ground level, the views of the city and surrounding countryside are spectacular. The diameter of the tank is over 23 m and the overall height of the building, including the mast, is almost 59 m, making this building a continued recognized landmark in the city. After the purchase and renovations, the $2 million repurpose was complete.

Art board panels were installed one year before the restaurant opened. Structural steel panels were fabricated in an industrial park and transported to the site with an escort. At 6 m x 9 m, they occupied both lanes of traffic.


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Steel floors were crafted to create the three interior floors. The top of the crown is 40.2 m above the ground, with a 18 m tall aerial added to the top. This makes it 59 m from the ground to the top of the mast.

This article appears in ES&E Magazine’s June 2017 issue.


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