On Monday, April 9th, 2018, St. Mary’s University opened the doors to a unique new space on campus — The Mauro Gallery — within the historic Water Tower on the St. Mary’s campus.
This amazing new space was made possible by a generous donation from Tom and Debra Mauro, whose commitment to St. Mary’s and the initiatives on campus has helped ensure that St. Mary’s continues to provide innovative new spaces and opportunities for students and the community.
The public are welcome to make an appointment to view The Mauro Gallery and its collections. In some cases you may need to make an appointment at least two weeks in advance. If you are interested in booking an appointment or would like to learn more about The Mauro Gallery inside the historic water tower, please select one of the following options:
The Water Tower at St. Mary’s University is without a doubt one of Calgary’s most prominent landmarks. It stands as both a symbol of the city’s heritage and a modern-day beacon for inclusion and community. Originally built in 1921 on the Midnapore site in Fish Creek Park, the Water Tower supplied much needed water for the growing Father Lacombe Home community. The tower is believed to be the only structure of its kind in Canada, and possibly North America. It stands 73 feet tall and the water tank which sits 52 feet above the ground is 15’-8” in diameter and 16’-8” high. It held up to a ton of water, or approximately 8980 litres. For reasons of cost, the tower was made of wood at a time when steel water towers were coming into vogue. As such, it did require regular, and at times extreme, maintenance throughout its lifespan through to the present day. The tower was designated a provincial historic resource in 1979.
St. Mary’s University moved onto the Father Lacombe/Midnapore site in 1999. Since moving onto this site, St. Mary’s University has remained committed to maintaining the structural integrity of the nearly 100-year-old Water Tower, and has initiated a number of key renovations to stabilize the tower, to rid the structure of invasive pests, and to preserve the exterior wood. The distinct St. Mary’s Star was added to four sides of the hexagonal tower in 2014, proudly shining over the university campus below. In 2017 the tower received its most significant ‘gift’ since it was first erected: philanthropists Tom and Debra Mauro funded the complete renovation of the interior of the tower. This project has allowed us to restore much of the original interior wood panelling, to heat and better preserve the structure, to remove and restore the two pumps that were needed to circulate the groundwater, and finally, the technology and lighting needed to turn the tower into the most unique art gallery in Canada.
The Tower Restoration was made possible by a major donation from Tom & Debra Mauro as well as additional funding from the Government of Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) and Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Heritage Preservation Partnership Program. On April 9th, 2018, St. Mary’s University, Calgary, proudly opened the Mauro Gallery.
Tom and Debra Mauro are legendary citizens of Alberta whose philanthropic interests are varied and many. Co-chairs of the luxury home building company Albi Homes until 2015, Tom and Debra have always been focused on supporting worthy causes.
Tom spearheaded the first ever Miracle Homes, raising money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital; the YWCA Sheriff King Home project; and the Native Women’s Shelter. He served as Co-Chair of the Founding Board of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. He was inducted into the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and also selected as a Distinguished Alumnus by SAIT in 2009.
Debra is Chair of numerous Boards including the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and HomeFront, a Calgary organization dedicated to reducing domestic violence. She has been the proud recipient of Canada’s “Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs” distinction, and was named one of the “Leading Entrepreneurs of the World” in 2002. In 2005 the Consumers’ Choice Award for Business Excellence named Debra “Businesswoman of the Year.” She is also a proud member of the St. Mary’s University Board of Governors.
Their passion for the arts is especially evident in their work supporting the Canadian Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums (which Debra Chairs), an organization that supports the restoration and preservation of the precious art heritage forming part of the Vatican Museums for present and future generations.
Their commitment to St. Mary’s University is significant and their gift, which has made possible the restoration of this unique gallery, will have a major impact for years to come.
The Mauro Gallery will hereafter be a meeting place for artists, students, teachers and community.