Description of Historic Place
St. Boniface City Hall, a three-storey red brick structure built in 1905-06, occupies a prominent Winnipeg site in close proximity to other municipal facilities. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint with the following interior elements: the main floor, second floor, stairway (basement to third floor) and tower.
St. Boniface City Hall, built when the predominantly French community of St. Boniface was an independent municipality, is an excellent example of a large civic structure designed to house expanding local government services at a time of rapid population and economic growth. The imposing, classically detailed, Georgian Revival-style building, planned by Victor Horwood and centrally located on St. Boniface's main business street, provided a well-appointed council chamber, offices, jail and other facilities appropriate for a municipal authority overseeing its community's transformation into a bustling urban entity. Since 1972, when St. Boniface became part of the unified City of Winnipeg, the landmark public building has remained a focal point for municipal services and symbol of local pride.
Source: Committee on Environment Meeting Minute, November 2, 1981
Key elements that define the heritage character of the St. Boniface City Hall site include:
- the highly visible location at the busy T-intersection of Provencher Boulevard and Aulneau Street, with sight lines along Provencher from the east and west and Aulneau from the south
- the building's physical prominence within a landscaped yard, set back from the front property line, accessed by a formal walkway and surrounded by compatibly scaled commercial and residential development, including other municipal facilities
Key elements that define the building's imposing exterior character and Georgian Revival style include:
- the three-storey rectangular block shape, symmetrically massed, with modest corner and central entrance pavilions, all of solid brick construction on a high limestone base, with a flat roof and parapet
- the large square wood tower over the entrance pavilion, organized into four classically ornamented stages beneath a domed metal-clad roof and tall flagpole, and featuring on all sides elliptical windows at the base and large circular analog clocks in columned and pedimented surrounds at the top
- the large, mostly tall rectangular windows and transoms on the front (south), east and west facades, set in vertically aligned rows and flat-headed on all but the third floor where openings are round-arched with prominent keystones
- the pedimented entrance pavilion with a two-storey arched window, a stone architrave containing a double door flanked by paired Tuscan columns, a wide stone staircase with elaborate metal and glass lanterns crowning the pedestals, and side stairs that lead underneath to a basement entrance
- the contrast of colours and textures, including red brick laid in a stretcher pattern with white mortar, rusticated and ashlar limestone and beige and brown paint
- other fine classical details such as the prominent modillioned cornices on the building and tower, the brick voussoirs, stringcourses and channelled brickwork, the tower's wood mouldings, fluted columns and louvered openings beneath delicate scallop shells, etc.
- the heavy stone lintel over the main entrance with the words 'HOTEL-DE-VILLE' and the date 'A.D. 1906' in the staircase pedestals
Key elements that define the building's interior character include:
- the central-hall plan of the main, second and third floors with offices or meeting rooms on each side
- the double-return staircase with a continuous wooden balustrade painted white and large wooden columns at the foot of the stairs on the main floor
- the elaborate finishes, including painted wooden wainscotting, tin ceilings, the crown moulding and metal grilles in the council chamber, etc.
- the basement's former police offices, solid brick jail walls, reinforced door and outline of four cells visible on the flooring and the tower's wooden staircase