Article by David R. Johnston

TEAM BATHS WERE ONCE A COMMON PART OF LIFE in Edmonton, popular with European immigrant groups and working men. Edmonton Turkish Baths Limited opened for business in October, 1913. Like today’s health and beauty spas, bath facilities were considered very luxurious. Edmonton Turkish Baths boasted 13 large sleeping rooms, two large hot rooms (separate ones for men and women), a steam room, three shower baths, six tub baths, a barbershop, cigar stand, refreshments, and a shoeshine.

Around 1937, Edmonton Turkish Baths became Georgia Turkish Baths. It was housed in one of Edmonton’s most iconic structures, the Flat Iron Building on Jasper Avenue, and then later in the Brighton Block, its neighbour to the west, when the business changed locations in 1946. The bathhouse became one of Edmonton’s early gay destinations in the 1940s, around the time that showers became regular features in ordinary homes.

Excerpted from Fall/Winter 2015 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.

David R. Johnston is Principal Heritage Planner for the City of Edmonton and the administrator of Edmonton’s Neon Sign Museum.

Georgia Baths neon sign, Edmonton, Alberta
10 ft L; 6 ft H
Photograph: Neon Sign Museum