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Wardlow Apartments

544 Wardlaw Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/09/28

Primary elevation, from the northeast, of the Wardlow Apartments, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary Elevation
Contextual view, from the northeast, of the Wardlow Apartments, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
Primary entrance of the Wardlow Apartments, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Culture, 2006
Primary Entrance

Other Name(s)

Les appartements Wardlaw
The Wardlaw Apartments
Wardlow Apartments

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1905/01/01 to 1905/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The three-storey Wardlow Apartments, a solid brick structure built in 1905, occupies a corner site in an historic Winnipeg neighbourhood comprised of single-family dwellings interspersed with churches, apartment blocks and other larger-scale structures. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the following interior elements: the front central staircase, including the foyer, and original fireplaces.

Heritage Value

The Wardlow Apartments is a fine representative of important architectural influences that emerged from leading American designers based in Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century. The structure is an excellent Winnipeg example of the Prairie School of design developed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one with the added attribute of delicate stone detailing over the front entrance that recalls the work of another prominent Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan. Consistent with the Prairie Style, the block's low profile, strong horizontal lines and understated exterior finishes blend well with the historic fabric of its residential neighbourhood. Large suites (two per floor) and refined interior appointments further distinguish the building as one of Winnipeg's earliest luxury blocks. Designed by J.D. Atchison, who moved his practice from Chicago to Winnipeg in 1905, the building remains largely intact and is an integral component of its streetscape.

Source: City of Winnipeg Council Meeting Minutes, September 28, 1999

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site character of the Wardlow Apartments include:
- the structure's placement on a landscaped lot at the southwest corner of Wardlaw Avenue and Nassau Street N, set back from the sidewalks, with its front facing north
- the building's proximity to neighbouring historic apartment blocks, houses and churches

Key exterior elements that define the structure's Prairie School design and residential function include:
- the low proportions of its substantial three-storey rectangular form
- the horizontal emphasis provided by a low-pitched hip roof with broad overhanging eaves and ornate exposed rafters and by prominent banding elements such as limestone sills and lintels and a third-floor sill course that wraps around three sides
- the symmetrical front (north) facade with a centred front pavilion that holds the main entrance flanked on the first and second levels by verandahs with engaged stone columns between glass openings and on the third floor by balconies
- the elegant smooth-cut stone surrounds of the single-door main entrance, including an architrave with squared columns, a lintel that doubles as a nameplate and an arched transom with delicately carved floral detailing, all set within a wide round arch edged by a geometrically ornamented outer band
- the numerous rectangular windows in singles, pairs and/or trios on all sides, including bay windows at the rear
- the understated materials and finishes, including the common clay brick walls, stone foundation, tall brick chimneys with stone caps, segmental-arched brick heads over rear windows, rear metal staircases, etc.

Key interior elements that define the building's character as a luxury block include:
- the centre-hall plan dividing each above-grade floor into two large apartments
- the well-lit vaulted foyer with single glass and oak doors surrounded by sidelights encased in oak surrounds; also, richly detailed oak panelling, mosaic tile floors and marble baseboards
- the centrally located front staircase with an oak balustrade
- in many of the suites, a large front foyer, an overall spaciousness accentuated with high ceilings, hardwood floors and high baseboards, and some with dining rooms with cross-beamed ceilings, and in-suite fireplaces




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

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Architect / Designer

J.D. Atchison



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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