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Early Skyscrapers in Winnipeg National Historic Site of Canada

191 Lombard Ave.; 395 Main St.; 457 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/06/16

View of the Bank of Hamilton, showing its monolithic ten-storey massing under a flat roof, an Italianate design and tripartite vertical division.; Agence Parks Canada / Parks Canada Agency.
Front elevation
View of the Union Trust Tower, showing its trapezoidal, thirteen-storey massing under a flat roof, an Italianate decorative scheme and tripartite vertical division.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency
Front elevation
View of the Confederation Building, showing its curved white terracotta clad facade with overhanging cornice.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency
Front elevation

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1912/01/01 to 1918/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/12/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Early Skyscrapers in Winnipeg National Historic Site of Canada is a grouping of three tall commercial buildings within Winnipeg’s Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada, the historic business core of the city. They exhibit a variety of stylistic details but generally conform to the then-prevalent Chicago style for the incipient skyscrapers appearing in increasingly densely built city centres. The designation refers to the Union Trust Tower, the Confederation Building, and the Bank of Hamilton building on their footprints.

Heritage Value

The Early Skyscrapers in Winnipeg were designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980 because:
- decorated in a variety of styles, these buildings typify, as a group, Winnipeg’s early skyscrapers, which imposed on the city the verticality and high density of a modern urban core.

Their heritage value resides in their impact as a grouping of relatively tall, monolithic structures whose articulation derives from the new technological and aesthetic trends emanating from the booming metropolis of Chicago, Illinois. In the early twentieth century, when these ten-to-thirteen-storey buildings appeared, they set a new standard for increasingly dense urban construction.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1980.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:
- the grouping of tall, ten-to-thirteen-storey, monolithic buildings, comprising:
- the Union Trust Tower with it trapezoidal, thirteen-storey massing under a flat roof, with Italianate decorative scheme with tripartite vertical division consisting of channelled masonry double-height ground floor, middle section with five bays of identical windows rising up the facade, and two-storey attic with round-headed terminals of window niches, steel-frame and concrete construction, rich finishing materials with marble facing on exterior base, terracotta on upper floors, bronze door and window frames, interior banking hall finished in marble and bronze;
- the Bank of Hamilton in its monolithic ten-storey massing under a flat roof, Italianate design with tripartite vertical division; dressed limestone sheathing, double-height round-headed main entrance; banking hall and mezzanine with marble and bronze details, coffered and painted ceilings, elliptical marble staircase;
- the heritage value of the Confederation Building National Historic Site of Canada, including the monolithic eleven-storey massing under a flat roof, its steel and reinforced concrete construction, curved white terracotta clad facade with overhanging cornice, its Chicago-style elaboration with tripartite vertical division with vertical banks of Chicago-style windows and giant, double-height polished granite base, and main floor interior spaces finished in marble, oak and bronze;
- the siting of these buildings flush to the property line;
- the visibility of the buildings from many sides;
- the grouping’s contribution to the Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada through its location and heritage value.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1980/06/16

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Historic

Architect / Designer

John D. Atchinson - Union Trust Building, Bank of Hamilton

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

150

Status

Published

Related Places

Aerial view

Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada

Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada is located in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. The site consists of a densely built, turn-of -the-century warehousing and business…

Main façade

Confederation Building National Historic Site of Canada

The Confederation Building, Winnipeg is a 10-storey skyscraper, built in 1912. It is located on Main Street in the heart of the early business district of the City of Winnipeg.…

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