Medicine Hat Media

Posts Tagged ‘Historic Clay District’

Link provided by Laconic Designs. Story by Great Places.

Often times Great Places represent the unique character and history of a place that can’t be found elsewhere and in the same way. The history of the clay industry in Medicine Hat for over a hundred years has been sustainable as working industries, a neighbourhood and now as a framework for the Canadian Badlands Tourism Strategy. Most importantly the pride, the stories and the connections over time are being preserved and built upon through the heritage value of Medalta Potteries, Hycroft China and I-XL Industries. This Historic Clay District (a National Historic Site of Canada) is a unique place to experience and share. The District genuinely takes you to a special place in time.

The Historic Clay District is a broad area that is made up of several historic working industries. Medalta Potteries is central to others in the area which includes Hycroft China Ltd, and I-XL Brick. Medalta is continuing on several phases of redevelopment as a living, working museum and education facility with the Medalta International Artists in Residence Program. Later phases of redevelopment will include Hycroft China and I-XL Brick. A new Area Redevelopment Plan has recently been completed to enhance the pedestrian connectivity and public realm in support of the overall National Clay Industries Historic Site.

The Historic Clay District is accessible to all given it’s a working, living museum. Modes of transportation and accessibility issues will be further addressed through enhancement of the area both in the redevelopment of buildings and in the Area Redevelopment Plan. Currently the majority of the public space in within the Medalta Potteries however, the site is also designed for outdoor events and activities in summer months.

The site is sitting in a natural landscape at the city’s eastern boundary therefore, framed with clay escarpment, surrounding creeks and topography. Recent flooding in June 2010 affected the natural environment significantly as did it I-Xl Brick such that, after 100 years of operation, has had to close its doors. Protection and enhancement is an area that is currently being reviewed further and addressed given such flooding.

The Historic Clay District is what defines the River Flats community’s character and personality…it is a diverse and well-established community that celebrates its history and this has been reinforced with the recent Area Redevelopment Plan work. The natural prairie and escarpment landscape surround the site are what make it what it is. The clay came from the escarpment so there is a whole history in that aspect. Maintaining the area’s openness to views of the escarpment and natural topography significantly supports the District. Given it includes two creeks that are a part of a significant open space system further enhances the existing natural features. It is what makes the River Flats community sustainable and supports the history and sense of place for the community and city.

If you think Medicine Hat Clay Industries, and Medicine Hat deserves to be named one of the greatest places in Canada, please vote.

The Hive Artists’ Hub has a subsidized artist and/or artisan studio available starting April 1, 2011 for a 6 month term. The application deadline is March 15, 2011. Application is open to artists and artisans of all mediums excluding ceramics. To apply or for more information, contact Susan Knight at 403.504.5371,, online at, or in person at 569 2nd Street SE in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The Hive Artists’ Hub is a Canadian Badlands Ltd. initiative, under the supervision of the Historic Clay District. Located in downtown Medicine Hat, the facility has five artist and/or artisan studios which are subsidized through the Rural Alberta Development Fund. Short and long-term opportunities are available for artists, who will also have access to professional development opportunities and storefront gallery.

For more information, interviews or visuals, contact:

Susan Knight – Artists Incubator Director
The Hive Artists’ Hub

Quentin Randall – Marketing Coordinator
Historic Clay District

The Hive Artist's Hub LogoA very interesting and unique project recently launched here in Medicine Hat is “The Hive”, or formally known as “The Hive Artist’s Hub”. The Canadian Badlands, Historic Clay District and Rural Alberta’s Development Fund have partnered to create an “artist incubator” in downtown Medicine Hat. The renovated downtown loft provides studio space for artists who need a space to focus on work. In addition to this, artists will have access to business development (for themselves) and a retailing store space.

I’m a little tardy to posting this on Medicine Hat Media, but I assume all the artists in the area already know about the project and have already submitted their application for space; however, if you have not, the deadline is May 7th, 2010 to get them in. There is five initial spots up for grabs.

To apply, contact Tobie Laliberte at 403.504.5371,, visit the application section on the website, or drop by at 569 2nd Street SE in Medicine Hat, Alberta (kind of beside The Monarch).

I am surprised to see this type of project actually realized within Medicine Hat, and I applaud everybody involved. This will be a great promotional opportunity on several levels for all the artists to be involved.

Last week I came up with the idea to try to expose Hatters to the wide world of media by doing more than merely reporting on the current media happenings in Southeastern Alberta. So, I present to you, Art Exposure, a semimonthly post that will attempt to bring attention to local media focusing on art, and also media that has either historic significance or that we think is just really cool. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, let us know if you think this is an awesome idea, or something better left in the recesses of my brain.

Tour at The Medalta from

Tour at The Medalta from

To kick things off I wanted to bring a focus to a part of Medicine Hat’s history that I think is under appreciated: the Historic Clay District. Once home to one of the most important clay factories in Canada, this 150 acre area is now home to a museum aimed at informing Hatters of their industrial heritage. Medalta Potteries, Hycroft China, National Porcelain and Alberta Clay Products were once responsible for producing 75% of Canada’s clay products and now aim to educate visitors through interactive tours displaying the main implements used to create clay products.

The success of the Clay District is due in part to the easy access to both natural gas to fuel the kilns, and the clay, which was taken from the hills directly behind the factory. The expansive railway lines that have connected the Gas City to the rest of Canada since the late 1800’s also triggered the success of Medicine Hat’s industry. This “perfect storm” of resources allowed for a booming and prosperous industry to take hold. Rudyard Kipling even said Medicine Hat had “all Hell for a basement” when he witnessed the city’s immense success and the industrious people that made it happen.

Throughout the months of September to May the museum is open from 10:00 to 4:00 from Tuesday through Saturday. However, they will be closed for the holidays from December 18 to January 4. Admission fees can be found on the website listed below, as well as information regarding booking guided tours. Although it has been years since I have been on a museum tour, I remember enjoying my visits as a kid. I highly recommend supporting this fascinating historic site and learning about the city we call home.



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