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Balfour Apartments

2305 Victoria Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4T, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/09/29

Front view of Balfour Apartments, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Calvin Fehr, 2004.
Balfour Apartments
Front courtyard of Balfour Apartments, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Lisa Dale-Burnett, 2004.
Front Courtyard
Multi-coloured brick banding on Balfour Apartments, 2004.; Government of Saskatchewan, Lisa Dale-Burnett, 2004.
Multi-coloured Brick Banding

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1929/01/01 to 1930/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Balfour Apartments property is a Provincial Heritage Property occupying six city lots on a prominent corner in downtown Regina. The property features a seven-storey brick apartment block that was completed in 1930.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Balfour Apartments lies in its architecture. This property is noted for its elegant front courtyard and its brick and stone construction, which features brick banding and carved limestone details. Colour is used as the main decorative tool on the seventh storey, where alternating courses of red and light buff Claybank brick create broad stripes in Moorish fashion. Carved Tyndall Stone finials along the roofline, and iron railings on the east and north sides of the building further decorate the upper stories. The front courtyard also employs elements of Moorish styling with a series of open arches that create an arcade against the front of the building. The arcade form is echoed in the limestone arches and colonettes that surround the front door, and in the arched, main floor windows that face the courtyard. As suited to a fashionable address such as the Balfour, interior layout and architectural elements project an elegant atmosphere in the public areas. The stairs, wide corridors and large entry lounge are typical of this elegance, featuring elaborate chandeliers and textured plaster walls referred to as “art plaster.” Designed by Van Egmond and Storey, a prominent Saskatchewan architectural firm, the Balfour Apartments was the largest and tallest apartment building in Saskatchewan from the time of its construction until the mid-1950s. It was also the first apartment building in the province with self-operated elevators, which contributed to the prestige of the property and allowed for its height.

The heritage value of the Balfour Apartments also lies in its association with James Balfour, a prominent Regina lawyer who also served as Mayor in 1915 and 1931. In the late 1920s Balfour commissioned Van Egmond and Storey to design an apartment block to be built at the site of his existing home on the corner of Lorne Street and Victoria Avenue. The well-known western Canadian company, Smith Brothers and Wilson were hired as contractors, and the building was completed in 1930. The Balfour Apartments provided Regina’s wealthier citizens with a fashionable alternative to detached housing. James Balfour continued to live at the Balfour, along with numerous members of the Regina elite, including a number of judges, lawyers, and politicians.

The heritage value of The Balfour Apartments also resides in its historical integrity. The property retains many of its original architectural elements, including the two self-operated elevators and the layout of interior public space. Except for minor alterations such as a wheelchair ramp and new stairs at the front entrance, the exterior of the property displays a high degree of heritage integrity. The Balfour Apartments endures as a desirable residential address, and continues to be a prominent member of the group of heritage buildings surrounding Victoria Park.

Source:

Province of Saskatchewan, Notice of Intention to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, June 30, 1989.

Province of Saskatchewan, Order to Designate as Provincial Heritage Property under The Heritage Property Act, September 29, 1993.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Balfour Apartments resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those exterior elements that reflect the Moorish architecture, including the front courtyard arcade, the entry colonade, the arched diamond-paned main floor windows, the wrought iron railings, the multicoloured brick and limestone accents on the upper level, and the ground level limestone facing;
-those interior architectural elements found in the building’s public space that speak to the prominence of this historic residence, such as the “art plaster” walls, plaster moulding, marble staircases, light fixtures and the fireplace in the lounge at the front entrance;
-those elements that reflect the property’s association with James Balfour, including the carved Tyndall Stone above the front door;
-those elements that reflect the historical integrity of the property, such as the self-operated elevators, the interior plaster walls, the layout of the public space in the entry lounge and hallways and the location of building on its original site;
-those elements that contribute to the prestigious nature of the property, including the substantial form and massing of the building;

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 39(1)

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Property

Recognition Date

1993/09/29

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Residence
Multiple Dwelling

Historic

Architect / Designer

Van Egmond and Storey

Builder

Smith Brothers and Wilson

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: PHP 1054

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

PHP 1054

Status

Published

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