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Monument to Pioneering Spirit

During the mid-1920s, George K. Guild, an Edmonton City Dairy employee built a milk bottle on a parade float which Edmonton City Dairy entered in an Edmonton Exhibition parade. When the dairy's management saw the parade float, they decided to have this gigantic bottle constructed on top of their new dairy.

For nearly 50 years this huge milk bottle was a landmark on top of the Edmonton City Dairy plant at 109th Street north of Jasper Avenue. Built in New York City, the parts were shipped to Edmonton in 1928 and assembled on top of the ultra-modern one-year old Edmonton City Dairy plant. This steel milk bottle, standing 27 feet tall and weighing 8 tons, served as a water cooler for the dairy's refrigeration system.  

To those who lived in or visited Edmonton before the high-rises, there was no more familiar landmark than this white bottle. Especially when approaching the city by train from the west, everyone would strain to catch the first glimpse of this remarkable "sky scraper."  For bush pilots this milk bottle was their beacon when approaching Edmonton by air. 

Edmonton City Dairy, founded in 1906 by Warren W. Prevey, was first to sell bottled milk in Edmonton. The dairy was sold to Silverwood's Dairies in 1948. In 1976 the Silverwood's operation was purchased by Northern Alberta Dairy Pool. The building was demolished in 1977 but the milk bottle had been carefully lowered and eventually restored by Edmonton Northlands.

Many Edmontonians have expressed the desire to recognize the historical significance of this landmark. Among them was one of western Canada's pioneer diary executives, Murray Hamilton, who worked at the original dairy site near the low level bridge. He served through the different departments as plant foreman, plant superintendent, sales manager, and general manager. Mr Hamilton extended further service to the community as president of the Alberta Dairyman's Association in 1950 and a director of the Edmonton Exhibition Association (Edmonton Northlands) from 1959 to 1963. 

Established as the Edmonton Agricultural Society in 1879, Edmonton Northlands, a non-profit volunteer organization, as continued its long-term commitment to agriculture. On July 22, 1987, Don Hamilton, president of Northlands and son of Murray Hamilton dedicated this historical Edmonton landmark as a monument to the pioneering spirit of Northern Alberta's Dairymen and Edmonton City Dairy. 

Submitted by Mo Bot

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