Local clays, natural gas and a railway paved the way for Medicine Hat’s emergence as a major centre of the clay products industry in Canada during the early 20th century. Brick, pottery, chimney flue and sewer pipes poured out of its factories on rail to cities across Canada and into the United States. The Historic Clay District, as it is known locally, preserves a unique industrial landscape featuring an operating brick plant and two pottery factories that still resonate with the persistence and industriousness of the people who worked here.
Medalta Potteries was established in 1912 and its sturdy crocks, bowls, artware and hotel crockery were familiar household items cross the country. Today Medalta ware is a prized collector’s item. Explore the plant and learn how the age-old craft of pottery making was adapted to suit mass production requirements. Stand inside one of the four circular kilns. Stop in at the gift shop and buy a piece to take home. Let the kids sink their hands into wet clay in the Children’s Clay Area. The Historic Clay District is a work in progress. Once threatened with demolition it is emerging as one of Canada’s foremost industrial museums and cultural centres dedicated to clay. The working pottery, where you can watch the skilled craftsmen produce replicas of Medalta ware and the gallery for contemporary ceramics are scheduled to open in late 2007. Across the street the Hycroft China plant that was opened in 1937 as a state of the art plant and where little has changed will tell another part of the story.
The Historic Clay District is open for tours year round and is located at 713 Medalta Ave. S.E., in Medicine Hat. For more information,
please call: 403-529-1070 or check out the website at www.medalta.org
Services: interpretive tours, school programs, gift shop, parking, walking trails.