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Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building

265 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/03/29

Primary elevations, from the southwest, of the Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Primary Elevations
Main entrance of the Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Main Entrance
Wall detail of the Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Wall Detail

Other Name(s)

Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building
Robertson College
Collège Robertson
Édifice de la Canadian General Electric
Canadian General Electric Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1930/01/01 to 1930/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/08/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building is a five-storey reinforced concrete and brick commercial structure erected in 1930 on a site that straddles Winnipeg's modern downtown and historic warehouse district. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building, with its distinct lines, flat surfaces and proportioned use of limestone, brick and low-relief ornament, is a rare Winnipeg example of an Art Deco commercial structure from the Depression era of the 1930s. Its modern design by G.W. Northwood and C.W.U. Chivers expressed a look of machine-age progress and efficiency that suited its original occupant, the Canadian General Electric Co., a major manufacturer and distributor of electrical appliances and fixtures. Within, the building's reinforced concrete frame and well-lit open warehouse plan provided strong, fire-resistant storage capacity plus showroom and office space. Adapted for later use by the Greater Winnipeg Gas Co. and a technical college, this exceptional structure fronts conspicuously on three downtown streets due to the atypical narrow cleft of its location at the southern edge of the Exchange District, a national historic site of Canada.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Minutes, March 28, 1988

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Greater Winnipeg Gas Company Building site include:
- its dual corner location on the north side of Notre Dame Avenue between Arthur and King streets in a transition zone between the Exchange District to the north and newer downtown development to the south
- the structure abutting the public sidewalks on three sides

Key elements that define the building's exterior character and Art Deco style include:
- the symmetrical box-like rectangular massing, flat wall treatment except for slightly projecting corner bays and flat roof around a reinforced concrete frame on a concrete foundation
- the alternating use of tawny-brown brick and stone to express the horizontal and vertical lines of the three finished facades, including the low base of polished blue granite, the ashlar limestone cladding up to second-storey sills and the vertical extension of the stone through the corner bays to a prominent stone parapet, all contrasted by brick midsections and sharply delineated corners
- the extensive fenestration on all elevations, composed mostly of tall rectangular straight-headed windows vertically aligned over smooth limestone sills, and including large first-floor display windows and transoms framed in bronze with leaf and rosette detailing
- the centred double-door entrances with transoms and sidelights on the south and west sides, also in bronze frames with Art Deco motifs and, on the south, topped by an elaborate bronze screen pierced by stylized floral and scrolled features
- the restrained yet sophisticated Art Deco details, including a wide first-floor stone belt course incised at the corners with zigzags, fluted stone spandrels, shallow south brick pilaster strips, identical low-relief floral themes carved in stone atop the corner bays, short rectangular stone pinnacles that regularly punctuate the south parapet, etc.
- the unadorned north (rear) wall punctuated with numerous window openings

Key elements that define the building's interior heritage character include:
- the stout concrete columns and the concrete floors and the metal staircases centred on the west side and at the northeast corner

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

1988/03/29

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Education
Special or Training School

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Warehouse

Architect / Designer

Cyril W.U. Chivers

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0116

Status

Published

Related Places

Aerial view

Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada

Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada is located in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. The site consists of a densely built, turn-of -the-century warehousing and business…

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