Garry Telephone Exchange Building
474, rue Hargrave
Links and documents
1907/01/01 to 1909/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Garry Telephone Exchange Building, a four-storey reinforced concrete and masonry structure built in 1907-09, occupies a busy street corner next to a number of its commercial contemporaries on the northwestern edge of downtown Winnipeg. The provincial designation applies to the building and its two lots.
The handsome Garry Telephone Exchange Building, the first headquarters and exchange erected by Manitoba Government Telephones (MGT), symbolizes the significant steps taken in the early 1900s to ensure the province's growth was supported by an efficient, reliable communications system. MGT was the first provincially owned telephone utility in Canada and, as such, became an important contributor to the emergence of a mixed private and public economy in Manitoba. Its headquarters, a monumentally scaled and boldly decorative, classically inspired building designed by Provincial Architect Samuel Hooper, served as a visual symbol of the enterprise until 1932 and remained one of the principal downtown telephone exchanges for several years thereafter. The facility now contributes to Winnipeg's development as multi-family housing and as an integral component of an historic streetscape.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minute, September 27, 1986
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Garry Telephone Exchange Building site include:
- the building's placement flush to the sidewalks at the southwest corner of McDermot Avenue and Hargrave Street, with its primary facades facing north and east
- the building's proximity to the 1919 Manitoba Government Telephones Garage and other neighbouring historic warehouses and commercial structures
Key elements that define the exchange's monumental scale and classical design include:
- its substantial rectangular-shaped volume, four storeys in height on a raised basement, of reinforced concrete construction with brick and limestone walls and a flat roofline
- the classical composition of the primary facades, symmetrically organized, divided vertically into three distinct levels and further distinguished by projecting corner blocks, the rhythmic placement of multiple windows (mostly tall rectangles) on all elevations and the colourful interplay of features executed in contrasting red brick and limestone
- the primary facades' high base clothed in rusticated and ashlar limestone, rising to a stone entablature and enveloping round-arched (north) and pedimented (east) frontispieces
- the brick mid-section delineated by stone belt courses and quoins, with dramatic wedge-shaped voussoirs and keystones over the windows
- the highly ornamented upper level with banded brickwork, single and paired brick pilasters, a broad stone belt course, circular motifs in the frieze, a large modillioned sheet-metal cornice and brick parapet with stone coping
- other classical features and fine materials and finishes, such as the stone scrollwork inscribed with the date '1907' and the metal flagpole atop the north facade, the stylized metalwork around the pseudo-balcony and in the transom above the north doorway, the double wood and glass doors, cut stone sills, window security bars, rear and side elevations clad in red-brown brick, etc.
Key elements that recall the building's original function include:
- the frontispieces displaying carved provincial crests and the words 'MANITOBA TELEPHONES'; also, on the north side, the date '1907'
- the entranceways' steps of stone and black and white ceramic tiles inlaid with the initials 'M.G.T.'
Key internal elements that recall the building's heritage character include:
- the east-side vestibule and stairwell with a richly detailed, wrought iron and wood staircase and terrazzo and marble flooring
- the basement vault
Province of Manitoba
Manitoba Historic Resources Act
Provincial Heritage Site
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Office or office building
- Textile or Leather Manufacturing Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Main Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue Winnipeg MB R3B 1N3
Cross-Reference to Collection