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Firm: Dan Kiley and Associates, Jack Smith (partner in charge)

Address: 700 6 Avenue SW

Date of final plans: 1966

Status: standing as built

Pacific 66 Plaza is part of a trio of buildings planned by Maxwell Cummings and Sons (of Montreal) and designed by Dan Kiley and Associates (of Charlotte, Vermont), all from 1967. The other two members of this trio are the Royal Bank Building and Calgary Place. All three were designed by Jack Smith, a partner at Kiley.

The history of the building traces to January 1956, when Merrill Petroleums bought the lot. Merrill planned to build an office on the site, however, in December 1957 the company was acquired by Pacific Petroleums. After Pacific's deal Phillips Petroleum in 1960, a Pacific 66 gas station was built on the site.

Pacific's first office building was the Petroleum Building on 9th Avenue. In the mid 1950s they built a second building, the Pacific Building, beside the first, which became the new head office. By the late 1960s they again required more space.

The Pacific 66 Plaza is one of the best downtown buildings of the 1960s. Jack Smith's design is very much still in the International Style vein, but the brownish cladding reveals it as a product of the late 1960s. Along with the tower, it includes a two-storey deck on the west side.

Today the building is called the Bantrel Tower. One of my greatest pet peeves about Calgary is the renaming of buildings. I do feel that by changing names, the city loses a sense of its commercial and economic history. Pacific Petroleums played a major part in the post-war oil boom, and it is a shame its name has disappeared altogether from the public sphere.

For more information on the building, see my interview with Jack Smith here.

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