Workers are currently busy restoring Calgary’s Old City Hall, the last sandstone municipal building left in western Canada, and they’re getting some protection from the elements that would otherwise impede their progress.

A large wrap has been erected around the building for the process that began back in 2015.

Darrel Bell, the manager of building infrastructure with the City of Calgary, says the $165,000 wrap has a number of different purposes.

“It protects the building for when we are working on it. So when we are working on a major exterior renovation like this, we’ll be taking windows, doors, roofs off, blocks of sandstone out and because we’ve got it enclosed, we can do that anytime. We can do it rain, sun, today, a very, very cold day, workers inside are working in an area that’s around 10 to 20 degrees Celsius so they’ll be able to continue working even in the cold weather.”

A picture of the old City Hall has been painted on the outside of the wrap so that residents can enjoy something else other than a blank canvas while the work is ongoing.

“We decided to put up a picture of the building on there so it looks as a good representation of the building which is what it’s going to look like when we take it off again.”

Bell says there is a lot of work ongoing on the old building to restore it to its former glory and preserve it for another 100 years.

“Four years is a long time, right? But we’ve put in a new drainage system, we’re redoing the roof, we are doing a lot of work on the sandstone and we’re putting in new sandstone where we can’t recover the old stuff. Mostly we are using what’s there because that’s one of the prime goals of the heritage restoration is to reuse what we have. But where we can, we’ll be bringing in new stuff and that is one of the biggest things we’re going to do is return it to the original condition as best we can.”

The goal for the $34M project this year is sandstone, Bell says.

“So we’ve assessed every stone in the building so we know exactly the treatment plan for every single stone. Now we are going into those treatment plans and that will take a couple years.”

Bell says it’s very important to preserve buildings like this because there are so few of them left.

“I come from a place where heritage buildings are key; as Europe is full of them. They do a good job in most instances but Calgary is a new city. If we don’t have this kind of architecture left behind then we have glass and steel which is good for its purpose, but it’s nice to see the old buildings protected and loved.”

Work is scheduled to be completed in 2020. You can follow updates on the progress on the city's website.

(With files from Kevin Fleming)