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Firm: unknown

Address: 627 8 Avenue SW

Date: 1950

Status: standing as built

The history of the Rio Building is murky. Prior to 1950 the lot appears to have been empty and was home to Calgary Auto Sales. The Rio Building first appears in the 1951 edition of the Henderson's Directory and its first mention in the Herald was on 30 June 1950. The basement was home to the Venetian Gardens restaurant. When it opened, an impressive group of companies had offices in the Rio, including Trans Empire Oils and Canadian Superior Oil. Several other companies in the building were associated with Clifton C. Cross, so he may have been involved in the construction.

On 26 November 1951, the new 400 Club held its first meeting at the Venetian Gardens. In January 1952 it took over the location, and after renovations, the club was opened on 23 February by Mayor Don Mackay. The 400 Club remained in the Rio Building until it moved to the new McFarlane Tower in 1980.

I have no idea where the name Rio came from. My first guess was from Del Rio Oils, however, that company wasn't a tenant. I also haven't found out who the architect was. The façade of the building, although pained an ugly dark grey, is mostly original.

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