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John Duncan McArthur House

159 Mayfair Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/10/02

Primary elevation, from the south, of the John Duncan McArthur House, Winnipeg, 2009; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2009
Primary Elevation
Contextual view, from the southeast, of the John Duncan McArthur House, Winnipeg, 2009; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2009
Contextual view
Primary elevations, from the southwest, of the John Duncan McArthur House, Winnipeg, 2009; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2009
Primary Elevations

Other Name(s)

John Duncan McArthur House
J.D. McArthur House
Macdonald Youth Services
Sir Hugh John Macdonald Memorial Hostel
Maison J.D. McArthur
Services de jeune de Macdonald
Foyer de mémorial de monsieur Hugh John Macdonald

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1903/01/01 to 1903/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The John Duncan McArthur House, a 21/2-storey brick veneer dwelling built in 1903 and later expanded, occupies a generous site on the south bank of the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg's Fort Rouge district. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and listed exterior elements.

Heritage Value

The John Duncan McArthur House, a spacious, irregularly massed structure with curved bays, sweeping corner verandah, complex roofline and fine appointments, expresses the luxury that the Queen Anne Revival style brought to many of the large single-family homes built in Winnipeg in the early twentieth century. The brick-faced premises, designed by prominent local architect J.H.G. Russell and erected in a prestigious early residential area across the Assiniboine River from downtown Winnipeg, first sheltered one of the West's most successful railroad contractors, J.D. McArthur, and his wife Mary, the latter of whom remained on site until ca. 1950. While much of its neighbourhood subsequently underwent modern redevelopment, this dwelling found new life, first as a boarding house and since 1959 as an emergency hostel and training centre for troubled and disadvantaged youth.

Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, October 2, 2008

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site character of the John Duncan McArthur House include:
- the location on the south bank of the Assiniboine River, mid-block on the north side of Mayfair Avenue between Queen Elizabeth Way and Donald Street, in a mixed-use area containing buildings of various types, uses and ages
- the building's placement, set back from the public sidewalk within a large lot containing mature trees, an east-side driveway, some rear (north-side) open space toward the river, etc.

Key elements that define the dwelling's impressive Queen Anne Revival-style exterior include:
- the picturesque and irregular 21/2-storey massing, of wood-frame construction with brick veneer and a raised foundation of rusticated limestone
- the complex roofline, including the main gable and hipped sections, the curvaceous eaves atop the two-storey front bays, the large, modified swan-neck pediment, hipped dormers on three sides, brick chimneys, etc.
- the wraparound verandah extending from the main (south) entrance to the west side, including the high base of rusticated stone piers, flat roof supported by twinned Tuscan wood columns, plank flooring, wood lattice, balustrades, etc.
- the well-lit symmetrical front, including the elevated central entrance with wood-and-glass doors, sidelights and transoms, the rounded two-storey bays with paired windows, the additional fenestration over the entrance, etc.
- the many irregular windows in singles or pairs on other elevations, including the west-side pavilion, the diminutive east-side sunroom, etc.
- the details, including rusticated stone lintels and windowsills (continuous at the front), broad stone front steps, bracketed wooden eaves, return pavilion eaves, etc.

Key elements that define the dwelling's interior heritage character include:
- the main entry vestibule and original ground-floor room layouts
- details such as the ground floor's coved mouldings, dark wood millwork, two ornate fireplaces with carved wooden mantels, stained-glass piano window with a striking Art Nouveau design on the west side, etc.




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Special or Training School
Group Residence


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

J.H.G. Russell



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg Manitoba

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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