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Lighthouse Mission

669 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/07/28

Primary elevation, from the west, of the Lighthouse Mission (Zimmerman Block), Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Primary Elevation
Window detail of the Lighthouse Mission (Zimmerman Block), Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Window Detail
No Image

Other Name(s)

Zimmerman Block
Édifice Zimmerman
Lighthouse Mission

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1913/01/01 to 1913/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/21

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Lighthouse Mission (Zimmerman Block), built in 1913, is a high, narrow three-storey brick structure with an elaborate stone front that abuts a group of commercial buildings, mostly of similar scale and age, on Winnipeg's Main Street. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Lighthouse Mission (Zimmerman Block), with its highly ornamented facade of white stone and granite, is an important and unusual Winnipeg example of Edwardian Classical architecture. The dramatic building, planned by Max Blankstein, exhibits many affinities with the style, including pronounced verticality and free use of abstracted sculptural forms in combination with classical motifs. Erected for the Nathan Zimmerman family, which operated a general store, loan office and jewellery business on the site for nearly 90 years, the building recalls how investments by Jewish emigres shaped the commercial development of Main Street near the Canadian Pacific Railway Station. Now the Lighthouse Mission, an important ministry that operates a soup kitchen with social services, the building makes a definitive statement on the street through its imaginative design and rich concentration of features and materials.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment, July 28, 1986

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the Lighthouse Mission (Zimmerman Block) site include:
- the building's placement and location, aligned flush to the sidewalk in a row of period business structures on the east side of Main Street between Logan and Henry avenues

Key elements that define the building's exterior character and Edwardian Classical style include:
- its high, deep and narrow three-storey form with a flat roof and side parapet walls
- the symmetrical composition of the powerful, elaborate front (west) facade, its verticality emphasized by fluted pilasters with scrolled Ionic capitals that divide the upper floors into two bays
- the compelling forward movement of the projecting cornice with its oversized brackets and high, carved parapet inscribed with 'ZIMMERMAN BL:'
- the recessed main entrance centred beneath a grid of prism glass and between prefabricated, slightly rounded storefront bays with roofs of bronze scales
- the dramatic, rich surface materials, including the front upper smooth stone facade and main-floor granite surround
- the sculptural ornamentation and abstracted architectural motifs, including garlands with console brackets and grotesques of a woman's head, boxed festoons, low-relief carving, etc.
- the plain brick south wall and rear (east) wall with segmental-arched openings and a loading door

Key internal elements that define the building's functional character include:
- the high ceilings and open space of the deep main-floor plan
- the utilitarian upper-floor layout with rooms organized around light wells
- features and details such as the main-level hardwood flooring, the glass and wood dividers with small French doors, the metal ceiling in the rear basement boiler room, etc.




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer

Max Blankstein



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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