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St. John's Telephone Exchange Building

405 Burrows Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/07/28

Primary elevations of the St. John's Telephone Exchange, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Primary Elevation
View of the main entrance of the St. John's Telephone Exchange, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Main Entrance
No Image

Other Name(s)

405 Burrows Avenue
405, avenue Burrows
St. John's Telephone Exchange Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1910/01/01 to 1911/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The two-storey St. John's Telephone Exchange Building, a masonry structure erected in 1910-11 and twice expanded, occupies a prominent corner in an older mixed-use neighbourhood in Winnipeg's North End. The provincial designation applies to the building and its three lots.

Heritage Value

The satellite St. John's Telephone Exchange Building is one of four surviving exchanges constructed in Winnipeg by Manitoba Government Telephones during its formative period as the first provincially owned telephone system in Canada. The utilitarian structure, designed in a stripped Classical Revival style by Provincial Architect Samuel Hooper, fits well into its surrounding working-class neighbourhood. After serving as a telephone exchange for some eight decades, the rehabilitated facility has a new community role as affordable multiple-family housing. It also continues to be a visually striking neighbourhood landmark due to its placement, size, design and brick construction.

Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minute, April 11, 1992

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the St. John's Telephone Exchange Building site include:
- the structure's placement on a grassed lot at northeast Burrows Avenue and Salter Street, with its front facing south and west elevation facing across Salter to a modern telephone exchange

Key elements that define the building's stripped Classical Revival style and utilitarian character include:
- the simplified two-storey rectangular form, solidly expressed through a raised, bush-hammered limestone foundation, load-bearing red brick walls and a flat roof
- the symmetrical composition of the building's main components and details
- the linearized grid pattern established by numerous tall rectangular windows, including second-floor openings outlined by decorative brick surrounds
- the elevated ashlar frontispiece with deep-set transomed wood and glass doors and an entablature enriched by large consoles and scrollwork
- the formal classical ornamentation, including the banded main-floor brickwork, delicate brick stringcourses at the second-floor level, shallow pilasters on the west elevation, a modillioned sheet-metal cornice, brick parapet with stone coping, tall brick chimney, etc.

Key elements that recall the building's original function include:
- Manitoba's crest and the words 'GOVERNMENT TELEPHONES' in the frontispiece's stone entablature and decorative metalwork with the initials 'MGT' over the glazing in the front doors

Key internal elements that define the building's heritage character include:
- the terrazzo flooring in the main-floor vestibule and corridor areas and the hardwood flooring on the upper level and high ceilings and large windows throughout




Recognition Authority

Province of Manitoba

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Office or office building

Architect / Designer

Samuel Hooper



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Main Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue Winnipeg MB R3B 1N3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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