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1900

1905

Alberta becomes a province; both Calgary and Edmonton campaign to become the capital city before Edmonton is granted the honour. Soon after, Strathcona is deemed the location for the province’s first university, University of Alberta. Calgary is outraged and begins lobbying for its own university.

1912

The provincial government grants permission to open Calgary College, though it is a privately-funded university and cannot legally grant degrees.

1915

Calgary College closes due to its inability to grant degrees and also as a result of the First World War, leading to low enrolment and lack of funding. Ontario and Western Canada had provided most of the soldiers that set sail one year earlier as part of the First Contingent, the first Canadian troops to go to war. Many of them did not return.

1916

Soldiers return to Canada in desperate need of vocational training in order to lead productive civilian lives. The federal government agrees to help finance a new institute on the condition that training facilities were available to the Federal Military Hospitals Commission. 

1916

Located in Inglewood’s Colonel Walker School as well as the adjacent police and fire stations, the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA) opens its doors with courses in metal working and motor mechanics on Oct. 16, 1916.

Classes begin with 11 students — six veterans and five civilians — and seven staff. The equipment list is humble — two lathes, two drill presses, one forge, one motorcycle and one automobile.

Within two weeks 370 students are enrolled in day programs, evening classes, Saturday morning classes and correspondence courses. Soon, PITA would be retraining so many returning soldiers from World War I that civilian instruction was suspended for two years.

1918

On Oct. 2, 1918, the first cases of the devastating Spanish Influenza Epidemic are reported in Calgary. Although the ill are taken to an isolated hospital, the number of cases across the city rises rapidly. On Oct. 24, the Calgary Health Department seizes PITA's temporary campus under the orders of the Provincial Department of Health and converts it to a flu hospital for a month.

1919


The Province purchases the 110-acre Riley Farm as a permanent home for PITA for a cost of 63,000 dollars. Mr. Thomas E. Riley donates additional land for the construction of the Main Building (Heritage Hall) in return for the Province pardoning the 30,000 dollars he owes in back taxes. 

1920

PITA opens to civilian students once again, just two years before it is to move to its permanent North Hill location. Correspondence courses flourish in this year, along with outreach night school programs to rural areas.

1921

SAIT's now 101-year-old alumnus Clarence Hollingworth witnesses the laying of the cornerstone for the Main Building (Heritage Hall) as a 6-year-old boy. 

Hollingworth later attended PITA as an electrical student. During the war he spent two-and-a-half years in a submarine, in some instances working on highly confidential missions. He became a PITA instructor in 1952, retiring in 1980. Hollingworth is a 2015 SAIT Honorary Bachelor of Science recipient.

1921

SAIT forms its first Athletics Association. Basketball is the only sport played with teams outside of the Institution; however, other sports would soon follow.

1922

PITA moves to its new home — a stately castle on the north hill of Calgary coined the Main Building, a Power Plant (now the Eugene Coste Building) and the “A” Shops. PITA shared the space with the provincial Normal School’s Calgary branch.

1922

The first Students' Association is formed in order “to control activities outside of the shop and classroom.” It costs to join and promotes literary, athletic and social activities.

1926

The first Emery Weal student newspaper is published on March 18, 1926. 

1926

PITA forms a dedicated art department. The department would eventually become its own art and design college, known today as Alberta College of Art and Design, after separating from PITA in 1985.

1928

The first student yearbook is published by the Tech Students' Association. It is known as the Tech-Art Record.

1928

A hot lunch costs 25 cents in the school cafeteria.

1933

SAIT was not immune to the effects of the Great Depression and even offers tuition-free evening courses to the unemployed, taught by SAIT instructors on a voluntary basis. PITA's cafeteria supports the community by offering relief lunches to women and children in need. Music drama, athletic and hobbies flourished, as these were opportunities most students could afford.

1936

As the end of the depression nears, more and more students enroll and in 1936, SAIT revives its evening class program.

1940

PITA's facilities are taken over by the Royal Canadian Air Force to serve as the No. 2 Wireless Training School of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Most regular classes move to the Calgary Stampede Grounds. The art department and women's programs relocate to Coste House, a Mount Royal mansion the city had repossessed for back taxes. The Calgary Normal School moves to King Edward School.

1945

PITA classes return to the North Hill campus. Temporary buildings put up by the RCAF during the war are used by the Government to house homeless veterans. The Calgary Normal School also returns to the PITA campus for a short time before becoming a southern extension of the University of Alberta Faculty of Education later that year.

1948


In response to the 1945 Provincial Apprenticeship Act and post-war reconstruction trends, PITA offers its first apprenticeship courses and has 42 initial enrolments.

1953

SAIT opens its doors to the public for its first ever Open House event, an important source of information for those interested in learning about the Institute and the programs it offers. Over 4,000 visitors pass through campus over two days, and the wildly successful event becomes an annual tradition.

1954

The first Awards Day is held in the auditorium, scholarships totaling $2,450 are awarded to 15 students in technology programs.

1955

Engineering Instructor Alex Higgins is honoured for having his PITA correspondence course materials on Steam Engineering translated into many languages, selling 30,000 copies.

1955

The men’s basketball team adopts the Trojans name and the men’s hockey team follows suit in 1962.

1956

Go team! For the first time in history of PITA's cheerleaders are organized for the basketball games.

1958

The Students' Association adopts Korean orphan Im Chang Sik and supports him until he can be set up in appropriate housing.

1960


PITA becomes the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), as a result of the Alberta Government opening a similar institution in Edmonton, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). The art department, although still a part of SAIT, is renamed the Alberta College of Art (ACA).

1960

Art student Joni Anderson entertains students at the institution's annual banquet by singing songs and accompanying herself on the guitar.

While living in Calgary, Anderson  famously known as Joni Mitchell  became a regular performer at a club called The Depression. She only spent one year at SAIT before moving to Toronto to be a folk singer, and the rest is, well, history.

Former SAIT instructor Stan Perrot once recalled that Joni, “was determined to succeed in art and did very beautifully I thought. At the same time, she was charging off downtown almost nightly to do her nightclub singing … I called her into my office and questioned her about her career. She said, ‘Well, I can’t make up my mind what it will be.’ And I said, ‘I have a feeling you should do one thing to perfection. Either you’re going to be an artist ― and I think you’ll do a superb job ― or you’re going to be a musician and I think you’ll do well there too." 

1966

SAIT celebrates its Jubilee by planting a time capsule on the northwest side of campus. This time capsule will be opened on Oct. 16, 2016.

1969

The Trojans and Helenas become the official nicknames of the men’s and women’s team. The women’s athletics teams changed to Lady Trojans in 1988 and dropped “Lady” from their name sometime afterward.

1969

Fred Jorgenson, SAIT Principal from 1962 – 1966, returns to campus to become the institute’s first President, a position he held until 1984. Jorgensen is celebrated for his hand in the tremendous campus growth that took place through the 70s and early 80s, including facilities, programs and enrollments.

1970

SAIT gets its first logo. The sweeping "S" of the first design features four bars representing the four main areas of programing — apprenticeship trades, engineering technologies, applied arts and international education. The line surrounding the SAIT graphic was meant to emphasize the idea of school unity. 

1972

SAIT builds its first student residence, Owasina Hall. The 500-bed residence also serves as a hostel for summer travellers. The hall would close as a residence in 2006 and be used by law enforcement as a training ground until 2015. In 2016, Owasina Hall is in the process of demolition to make space for new campus expansions.

1974

The Tech Students' Association rebrands as SAITSA, which to this day remains unchanged.

1982

SAIT achieves autonomy from the Alberta Department of Education, just as the world price of oil plunged. Though still receiving funding from the Alberta Government, the board of governers assumes responsibility for SAIT's financial wellbeing. As a result, SAIT began a series of fundraising efforts that allow SAIT to flourish to this day. 

1983

SAIT’s ALIVE is formed. This organization of retired and former SAIT staff is dedicated to preserving and promoting the spirit of friendship and preserving SAIT history.

1985

The Main Building is officially renamed Heritage Hall and designated as a National Historic site. 

1985

The Alberta College of Art becomes a separate entity. Its name was later amended to the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in 1995. ACAD resides in the Nellie McClung building, named after one of the Famous Five, who brought women’s suffrage to the west in the 1920s.

1988

The CTV Gala Dinner, held on the eve of the 1988 Winter Olympics, is catered by the SAIT Food Services Department and hosted in Campus Centre’s Symposium Room. Notable guests are 1988 Olympic Winter Games mascots Hidy and Howdy as well as Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mila Mulroney and Governor General Jeanne Sauvé. Owasina Hall houses athletes and games officials from around the world.

1991

SAIT celebrates its 75th anniversary with more than 500 people gathering on campus to kick off the celebrations. Sponsored by the SAIT Alumni Association, the weekend is the largest gathering of SAIT alumni in history … until now.

 

1995

The SAIT Culinary Olympics team heads to Japan to compete.

1999

SAIT commits to a cohesive architectural approach that knits the campus into the communities around it, creating an urban academic village.

2001

SAIT opens the Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Centre, a cultural bridge between Indigenous and non-indigenous communities, both on campus and in the greater community. It serves as a gathering place dedicated to enriching student life as well as promoting cultural education and awareness.

2003

Construction begins on the 2 million-dollar, 106,000 sq. ft Art Smith Aero Centre for Training and Technology, named after one of Calgary's most well-known citizens.

2005

SAIT’s International Centre opens. A much needed resource, SAIT has hosted students from 162 countries since 2003. By 2015, 1,250 international students are on campus.

2009

SAIT becomes a founding sponsor of the of skilled trades and technologies. Some 150,000 visitors attend WorldSkills and the SAIT campus serves as the Competitors' Village.

2012

SAIT officially opens the doors to its 740,000 sq. ft. Trades and Technology Complex. The 400-million-dollar expansion project is the largest in SAIT's history, adding capacity for an additional 8,100 students.

2013

SAIT is ranked as one of the top research colleges in the country by RE$EARCH Infosource Inc. for its it work in Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS). Each year, ARIS provides up to 200 students with the opportunity to work collaboratively on industry research projects. More than 575 applied research projects carried out at SAIT have resulted in the development of 400 prototypes. 

2016

SAIT enters its second century with more than 50,000 full- and part-time students and more than 220,000 alumni. With 84 day-time programs, 37 apprenticeship programs as well as Continuing Education courses and corporate training offerings, SAIT is a leader in applied education.