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Northern Electric Building

140 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/04/01

Primary elevations (with original three storey section distinguished from recent two storey addition by brick colour and fenestration), from the northwest, of the Northern Electric Building, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Primary Elevations
Contextual view (with original three storey section distinguished from recent two storey addition by brick colour and fenestration), from the southwest, of the Northern Electric Building, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Contextual View
Secondary elevations (with original three storey section distinguished from recent two storey addition by brick colour and fenestration and also showing lobby addition), from the northeast, of the Northern Electric Building, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Secondary Elevations

Other Name(s)

140 Bannatyne Avenue
140, avenue Bannatyne
Northern Electric Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1928/01/01 to 1928/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Northern Electric Building, a three-storey brick structure erected in 1928, occupies a corner site near the eastern edge of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District. Modern construction of compatible yet differentiated design and materials has expanded the office-warehouse upward by two floors and eastward by a five-storey lobby. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Northern Electric Building, a solid, streamlined structure built as the regional distribution centre of a Montreal-based manufacturer of electrical and communications equipment, represents a late infill phase in the development of Winnipeg's central warehouse district. The building's sharp angles, symmetry and minimal low-relief ornament reflect an interwar transition to a modern aesthetic, which contrasts with the more expressive Romanesque Revival and Italianate styles of older surrounding warehouses. The facility, designed by J.O. Despatie of Montreal in association with Pratt and Ross of Winnipeg, also is of a transitional construction type that combines a fireproof steel framework with conventional wood post-and-beam interior supports and floor joists laid on edge to boost load-carrying capability. Occupied by the Northern Electric Co. until the 1950s and later by garment makers, offices and nightclubs, this sturdy warehouse overlooks a busy street corner in the Exchange District National Historic Site.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, April 1, 1985

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the prominent site character of the Northern Electric Building include:
- the building's placement and location, flush to the public sidewalks at southeast Bannatyne Avenue and Rorie Street, in proximity to the Ashdown Warehouse, Customs Examining Warehouse, etc.

Key elements that define the building's transitional design and construction include:
- the three-storey, nearly square form, solidly expressed through a raised concrete foundation and brick walls, steel-frame construction and topped by a flat roof
- the symmetrical organization of the primary (west and north) facades, established by uniformly arranged triple and single flat-headed windows and further distinguished on the upper levels by evenly spaced bays divided by wide but shallow brick pilasters
- the generous fenestration on the east and south elevations and along the basement
- the recessed main entrance emphasized by a squared, smooth-cut limestone surround, the east-side loading dock and single door near the southeast corner
- the materials, finishes and modest low-relief details, including rough-textured brick walls contrasted by smooth stone lintels and sills, a stone base and main-floor stone belt course, the parapet trimmed with copper coping and rising to arched corner pediments, the front lamp, etc.

Key internal elements that define the building's heritage character as a distribution depot and office include:
- the spacious floor plans, with conventional post-and-beam construction exposed in some places
- the fine materials and finishes, such as floor joists laid on edge, exposed brick walls, the entranceway steps and base of stone, the wrought-iron front staircase with a maple handrail, etc.
- the rear exit staircase and freight elevator

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

1985/04/01

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Warehouse

Architect / Designer

Pratt and Ross

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0072

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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