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Firm: Rule Wynn and Rule

Address: 330 9 Avenue SW

Date of final plans: November 1953

Status: demolished in 1981

The Anglo American Exploration Company, Limited traces its history to 1944, when Samuel Clarence Nickle (1889-1971) founded a company called Anglo American Oils, Limited. Through a subsidiary company, North End Oils, it drilled the deepest successful well in Turner Valley. The original Anglo American sold its leases to three subsidiary companies – Canadian Willison Minerals, Gridoil Freehold Leases, and Nova Scotia Oil and Gas – while retaining a controlling interest. In 1952, under the parent company Anglo American Oils, Nickle founded Anglo American Exploration, Limited and with this new company reacquired the assets of Anglo American Oils. In May 1953 Anglo acquired the Calgary company Gas and Oil Products, Limited, which had been founded in 1934 by A. H. Mayland. Gas and Oil's retail branch produced three gasolines – Mercury 99, Miracle 99, and Purity 99 – all named for their less than one percent butane. Purity soon became the dominant brand and the name of the its stations. The massive acquisition included GOP's refinery at Hartell, its retail stations, and the Purity 99 brand. When the 14-month-old Anglo American completed the purchase, it became Canada's largest fully-integrated independent oil company.

Only a few months after the purchase of GOP, Anglo American hired Rule Wynn and Rule to design it a new head office, with the plans completed in November 1953. Anglo's new building sat on 9 Avenue next to the McMahon brothers' two offices, the Petroleum Building and the Pacific Building. Together these three buildings became known as "Petroleum Row." The Anglo American Building employed two existing structures, both of which had frontages of 50 feet. The eastern half was the former Tees and Persse Building, and the western half was the former Alberta Liquor Control Board Building. Another 25 feet of new structure was added to the west to bring the frontage to 125 feet. What was peculiar about this was that the floors of the two existing buildings didn't align exactly, and consequently, many of the floors had two levels that were connected by a small set of stairs.

The building itself was faced with terra cotta and Quebec granite trim. The lobby was of Italian marble and the boardrooms finished with mahogany panelling. A unique feature was an electronically-controlled system in Anglo American's boardroom that allowed any of seven maps to be moved in for consultation. Anglo American occupied the entire first floor and half of the second floor. The rest of the building was rented. The building was officially opened on 29 October 1955, with Lieutenant Governor J. J. Bowlen officiating the ceremony. In December 1958 Anglo sold the building to the realty company Tankoos Yarmon, but remainined a tenant.

On 12 June 1962, British American Oil of Toronto acquired all shares of Anglo American Exploration at $6 per. The acquisition included 450 Purity 99 stations, 267 commercial outlets, and Anglo's refinery at Hartell. At this point the parent company, Anglo American Oils, changed its name to Scenic Oils, which formed a new subsidary, Norcan Oils, to control its remaining non-marketing and non-refining assets. In January 1963 British American amalgamated Great West Distributors, Sanford Oils, and Anglo American Exploration into a single company called Purity 99 Oil.

In 1981 the Anglo American Building, along with most of the block, was demolished to make way for the new Bankers' Hall complex.

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