Description of Historic Place
The Great West Saddlery Building, a six-storey reinforced concrete, brick and stone structure (1910-11) with a one-storey annex (1929), occupies a corner site near the northeastern edge of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
The Great West Saddlery Building, a restrained Chicago School structure with modest classical ornamentation, recalls a significant corporate force in pioneer efforts to expand Winnipeg's manufacturing capacity and marketing reach at the turn of the twentieth century. The solid, utilitarian factory-warehouse was built for E.F. Hutchings, a storied local business leader who parlayed a small partnership of the 1870s into one of Canada's most successful, vertically integrated saddlery enterprises with facilities across the West and international export markets. The building, designed by W.W. Blair to carry heavy production machinery and stored goods, was strategically located next to a railway spur track and across the street from another Great West Saddlery Co. facility. It retains much of its exterior integrity and also is significant as an early example of a warehouse conversion to multiple-family housing in the Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, November 18, 1985
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Great West Saddlery Building site include:
- the location at the east end of Market Avenue (at Bertha Street), adjacent to a former railway spur line
- the structure's physical and visual relationships to the 1898 Great West Saddlery Warehouse directly across the street, as well as its proximity to other warehouses of similar age, construction and design
Key elements that define the building's modestly detailed Chicago School style and exterior warehouse character include:
- the main volume's substantial six-storey rectangular form, of reinforced concrete and brick construction on a heavy stone foundation, with a flat roofline
- the largely symmetrical, column-like organization of the front (south), north and east elevations, divided vertically into three distinct levels, including a high rusticated limestone base, a brick midsection modestly articulated by banding elements and pilasters, and an attic elegantly capped by a corbelled brick and stone cornice
- the ample fenestration, most generous on the three primary elevations, more limited on the plain west wall, and composed of tall flat-headed windows vertically aligned in singles and pairs, including an asymmetrically organized west front bay, large basement openings with pronounced stone voussoirs, etc.
- the off-centre front entrance in a pedimented smooth-cut stone frontispiece
- the limited detailing, including the main floor's smooth stone belt course and lintels, the stone pilaster caps and windowsills, the buff-coloured finish brick on three sides, etc.
- functional features such as the north and east loading docks, etc.
- the tall one-storey brick annex extending the full depth of the west side, with large front and rear vehicle openings, quoin-like and other smooth stone trim, etc.
Key internal elements that define the building's heritage character include:
- surviving features such as a freight elevator beside the southwest corner stairway