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Earn International Building

78 Princess Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/08/24

Primary elevations, from the northeast, of the Earn International Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary Elevations
Contextual view, from the south, of the Earn International Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
South wall detail of the Earn International Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Wall Detail

Other Name(s)

Mackenzie and Powis Warehouse
Miller, Morse Warehouse
DeFehr Furniture
Entrepôt Mackenzie et Powis
Entrepôt Miller, Morse
Meubles DeFehr
Earn International Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1887/01/01 to 1891/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/04/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Earn International Building, comprised of two pre-1900 brick warehouses, is located at the busy intersection of Princess Street and McDermot Avenue in Winnipeg's Exchange District, a national historic site of Canada. The two structures, the taller Miller, Morse (1887, at the north end) and the Mackenzie and Powis (1891, at the south end) warehouses are joined internally. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Earn International Building is a fine Romanesque Revival complex at an important intersection on the western edge of Winnipeg's Exchange District. Its components, two buildings of similar design and construction that also are among the area's oldest warehouses, form a critical link that maintains the historic continuity of two major streetscapes. The structures' compatible yet distinctive designs are the work of a single architect, George Browne, and their final appearance suggests developments typical of the late 1800s: the Mackenzie and Powis Warehouse and the lower section of the Miller, Morse Warehouse both feature highly animated facade treatments, while the upper storeys of Miller, Morse, which are additions required by growing demands for space, are carried out in a more restrained design.

Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, August 24, 1998

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Earn International Building site include:
- the location at the northwest corner of Princess Street and McDermot Avenue, adjacent to a back lane
- the structures fully occupying their lots, creating a continuous edge and the physical and visual connections with nearby warehouses of similar scale, massing and age
- the industrial west elevations of both buildings, with several small plain windows, metal fire escapes and loading doors at ground level

Key exterior elements that distinguish the Mackenzie and Powis Warehouse, the corner building, include:
- the box-like mass on a heavy rusticated stone base
- the mid-section's two-storey arched arcades, enhanced by fine brick pilaster capitals and interconnected voussoirs and drip moulding; seven bays wide on the east, all with windows; 10 bays wide on the south, with pairs of blind arches alternating with those lit by lintelled and round-headed windows
- the strong horizontal elements on both facades, including rusticated stone and brick belt courses, arcaded and corbelled brickwork over the third floor, brick mouldings, stone sills, lintels and keystones, etc.
- the proportioned south facade with windows and blind arches aligned from the small basement openings through to the main floor's seven large round-arched windows and the 10 upper bays

Key exterior elements that distinguish the Miller, Morse Warehouse include:
- the elongated rectangular shape and five-storey height
- the symmetrical front divided horizontally into three layers and vertically into six bays of openings, with brick pilasters that stretch up from the second storey and are paired where the building's twin 1887 and 1892 sections meet
- the treatment at ground level featuring six large round-arched display windows and raised doorways set beneath bold voussoirs within rusticated stone surrounds up to the second-storey sills; also with small paired basement windows
- the concentration of brick and stone detailing on the second and third floors, with the upper addition relatively plain save for corbelled brickwork at the top
- the painted signage on the upper south face

Key elements that define the complex's interior heritage character and wholesale function include:
- the layout with display space at the main-floor front, freight elevators at the rear close to loading docks and open warehouse spaces with exposed square wooden beams and supports on upper floors
- the exposed brick exterior and interior walls, multiple freight elevators and staircases that help to outline the division of the original structures
- the features and finishes such as pressed tin ceilings in some areas, hardwood flooring, wood frames around windows, 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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

George Browne



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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…


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