The Esplanade is where arts and heritage come to life in Medicine Hat, where the stories of our great collective culture are told through music and dance, theatre, painting and sculpture, exhibitions and installations, artifacts, objets d’art and more.
A marvel of contemporary Canadian architecture on traditional Blackfoot territory just steps from the South Saskatchewan River, the Esplanade occupies an eminent position on downtown’s elegant First Street South. From its rooftop terrace, you can see Saamis, the shoreline escarpment which is the setting for the story of how Medicine Hat got its name.
Inside, visitors are delighted to discover a vibrant art gallery, a prized museum, an intimate studio theatre, a dynamic education suite, expansive public archives and many volunteers and staff who are eager to tell their versions of our city’s tale. The Esplanade also features a 700-seat main stage theatre which boasts superior theatre technology, acoustic perfection and striking interior design.
In the northeast corner of the Esplanade grounds stands another inviting building with stories of its own to tell. With its white picket fence, gingerbread trim and quaint heritage gardens, the restored Ewart Duggan House, the oldest brick home in Alberta still on its original foundation built with locally produced bricks, is open year-round for select events.
The Esplanade opened its doors in celebration of Alberta’s centennial in 2005 and ever since, Medicine Hat has been proudly hosting a lively procession of artists and audiences, storytellers and story-lovers, from around the region and around the globe.
The celebration continues today and you are expressly invited to attend.
Enter the Esplanade and enjoy.
Where did the name “Esplanade” come from?
In the late 1800s, the street names in downtown Medicine Hat were different from what they are now. Until 1914, First Street Southeast where the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre now stands was itself called “the Esplanade” because it fit the definition so well: a long, level area on the waterfront where people stroll for pleasure.