Theresa and the Chocolate Factory
Can you imagine? A design studio in a chocolate factory? Willy Wonka, eat your heart out! Actually, the chocolate factory started business in 1914, and as you can imagine, its products – Taberta Chocolates – are long gone. But the story is delightful anyway.
The Taber Candy Co. Ltd. building was designed by Walter H. Bourne & Alexander I. Morrison, and built at 921 Smelter Avenue SE, Medicine Hat by H.B. Curtis in 1914.
The building represents the dawning of Medicine Hat’s manufacturing industry at the turn of the 20th Century. The location near the Canadian Pacific Railway spur line was also adjacent to the district neighbourhood housing factory workers.
Demand for Taberta Chocolates was prominent during the First World War, when the factory sent 5,500 pounds of chocolate overseas per day. After its 20-year heyday, the Great Depression struck many industries, including chocolate manufacturing, and the factory went bankrupt. Since the 30’s, a variety of other businesses took over the building, but none as fascinating as the Taber Candy Co.
The building is a fine example of the Edwardian influence prized by architects of the day. The exterior was constructed with pressed red brick and hollow clay tile combined with Classical Revival architecture. The building was nicknamed “the All-Daylight Candy Factory” because of its 4.9 metre ceilings and 33 windows, illuminating the production floor – a perfect environment for an artist’s studio.
Theresa’s Creative Space
I’ve been working in my studio on 921 Smelter Ave. SE since 2015. Since then the studio has evolved and developed as I’ve grown as an artist. It is a fantastic and comforting space for me to create. I have ample room and can spread out current pieces I’m working on plus judge pieces that are in the process of flux.
I’ve painted floors, walls; hung up art both up and downstairs and added signage inside and outside. I’ll also be hosting most of my classes here starting this January.