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Birt's Saddlery

468 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1984/03/05

Primary elevation, from the northeast, of Birt's Saddlery, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary Elevation
Contextual view, from the northeast, of Birt's Saddlery, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
No Image

Other Name(s)

Birt's Saddlery
Baker Block
Immeuble Baker

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1901/01/01 to 1901/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/04/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Birt's Saddlery, built in 1901, is a modest three-storey masonry structure on a densely developed part of Main Street in Winnipeg's historic warehouse and financial district. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Birt's Saddlery is illustrative of the commercial investments made in downtown Winnipeg by local entrepreneurs seeking to take advantage of the city's rapid rise to regional metropolis in the early 1900s. Financed by W.R. Baker and designed by H.S. Griffith, the retail-office facility presents a modest, dignified face of classical proportions and detailing befitting its role as rental infill set amid Main Street's grand banking halls and office towers. The structure, which retains much of its exterior integrity, has housed various businesses for more than a century, notably the headquarters of the Home Investment and Savings Association (1921-47), the Swedish consulate for over 30 years and Birt's Saddlery. The building also is an important component of a nearly intact pre-1910 streetscape in the Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, March 5, 1984

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Birt's Saddlery site include:
- its location on the west side of Main Street near the Bannatyne Avenue intersection
- the placement of the building on the entire lot, facing east, maintaining a continuous built edge and the historical integrity of the streetscape; and compatibility of the building's height, mass and materials in relation to other structures in its immediate vicinity

Key elements that define the building's modest yet classically dignified exterior character include:
- the three-storey box-like form, of brick construction on a stone foundation, with red pressed brick on the front and buff-coloured brick on the other walls
- the flat roof, plain metal cornice and undecorated brick parapet
- the symmetrically massed front, including a recessed central entrance and vertical bays of openings separated by brick pilasters
- the generous fenestration of the main facade, including the main floor's large display windows, the second storey's rectangular double-hung windows and stone lintels and the third floor's rectangular double-hung windows with segmental-arched heads and hood moulding
- the modest decoration of the main facade, including ashlar limestone cladding; horizontal banding elements formed by the cornice, stone sills and coping; the inset brick spandrel panels, corbelled brickwork, etc.
- the plain, unadorned massing of the north facade
- the rear (west) facade, similar in organization to the front, and with a plain brick parapet, modest brick cornice, metal fire escape, etc.

Key elements that define the building's interior heritage character include:
- the entrance vestibule with oak panelling on the walls, a black and white mosaic tile floor with the words 'HOME INVESTMENT' in black tile, 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

H.S. Griffith



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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