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Fraser Block

1031 Rosser Avenue, Brandon, Manitoba, R7A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/03/14

Main elevation of the Fraser Block, from the south, Brandon, 2004.; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Main Elevation
Context view of the Fraser Block, from the southwest, Brandon, 2004.; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Context View
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1890/01/01 to 1890/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/05/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Fraser Block, with its colourful off-centre Romanesque Revival front, is a distinctive presence on downtown Brandon's main street, Rosser Avenue. Built in 1890, the three-storey brick commercial structure stands in sharp contrast to the other, more modern buildings on Rosser between 10th and 11th streets. The site's municipal designation applies to the exterior of the building.

Heritage Value

The Fraser Block represents the type of substantial commercial development that began to occur in southern Manitoba in the late 1800s as a number of communities emerged from Winnipeg's shadow to become regional hubs. This retail and office structure, one of the first substantial business buildings established outside Winnipeg, recalls Brandon's early advancement as a commercial centre, which set it apart from surrounding towns. Now the oldest building on Rosser Avenue, the Fraser Block also is an interesting example of Romanesque Revival-style detailing as designed by local architect W.R. Marshall. The eye-catching front elevation, with its red brick and Calgary sandstone finishes, conveys elegance and solidity, overcoming its off-centre organization, the result of unfulfilled plans to construct a balancing west-side addition. The Fraser Block is associated with two prominent early occupants: the A.C. Fraser Dry Goods Store, a leading local retailer for nearly 20 years, and the McKee Academy, which became part of Brandon College in 1899.

Source: City of Brandon By-law No. 5569, March 21, 1988

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the Fraser Block's Romanesque Revival-style exterior, which is largely in its original state, include:
- the rectangular form with clear divisions between and within the main and upper floors, including a large, ground-level retail space with display windows, a separate west-end entrance leading to the upper storeys, the use of brick and stone pilasters to divide the top floors into three irregular bays and, in the middle bay, a two-storey round arch framed in stone
- the well-lit upper floors, with fenestration provided by tall rectangular windows set in trios between stone mullions within the arch and in singles on the outer bays
- the decorative stone- and brickwork, including a corbelled cornice; continuous stone bands doubling as sills on the upper floors; stone lintels, keystone, stringcourses, pilaster caps and coping; the construction date inscribed in stone between the second and third floors; and scrolled designs carved into stone trim on the third floor

Key interior elements that define the building's heritage character include:
- the restored tin ceiling in the spacious open first floor and the west-side staircase providing access to the upper floors

Key elements that define the block's connection to the A.C. Fraser Dry Goods Store include:
- restored signage on the upper west and east sides of the exterior, authentic replicas of the originals




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

William Richard Marshall



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City Clerk's Office, City of Brandon 410 9th Street Brandon MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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