Upper Level Pottery & Art Gallery
In the summer of 2020, Upper Level Gallery grew from a dream, an idea, and a conversation between Potter Heather Millan, and Craig’s Cornerstone Co-owner Tannis Cochrane. Renovations of Craig’s Department Store created multiple newly revived retail spaces in the Historic Craig’s Building. Most of the downstairs spaces were filled within the first year. The beautifully renovated upstairs 3 rd floor was still waiting to become home for something special. This is where the idea for a Pottery and Art Gallery emerged. Heather’s idea of merging Pottery and Art, and creating a gallery that would hold and reflect the many mediums of art created by local artists, was a dream that became a reality in the most perfect location. Upper Level Pottery and Art Gallery waits for you to come feel the beauty of modern art, in the most historic and beautiful buildings in Vermilion Alberta.
History of Craig's Cornerstone
For anyone interested in the history of Craig’s Cornerstone, please read an excerpt from the Vermilion Standard Newspaper:
Marie Conboy, Publishing date: August 22, 2017
“Craig’s Department Store ...The store which represents history in Vermilion has been around since from the beginning of the town’s foundation; over 100 years on the same street, owned and operated by four generations of the same family and serving different generations of the community over a century. It all began in 1901 when John A.M. Craig left Quebec to travel out west to Olds, like many at that time, lured by the promise of land and progression building the new province of Alberta. One year later John was joined by his brother W.C. known to most as ‘Chum’, the two brothers then ventured into business. In August the brothers decided to visit Vermilion River, which was well promoted at the time.
Chum then made the long 5 day trip from Olds to Vermilion on a carriage carrying a tent, frying pan, shotgun and a grubstake, and Vermilion soon became the location for the new business. The brothers were joined by their father and family in 1908. In 1914 at the age 30 Chum enlisted in the Canadian Infantry with the rank of Lieutenant. Two years later he would be the youngest Lieutenant Colonel to serve in the Canadian Army. He returned from the First World War after serving two tours, and after the store expanded he went to work as the manager at the North Battleford store. Through the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s Craig’s traded in the business of furs, purchasing them from local trappers. In 1935, Elmore ‘Stew’ Stewart, who married Kae Craig in 1934, took over management at the Vermilion store. He ran the store through the last five years of the depression, through the war years up until he passed away in 1961. Craig’s Department store was one of the buildings that burned down in the great Vermilion fire of 1918, along with 27 stores and 38 business firms. Nothing survived the fire at Craig’s but the store was soon rebuilt and erected as a permanent brick building.”