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Bathgate Block

242 Princess Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/11/30

Primary elevation, from the east, of the Bathgate Block, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2007
Primary Elevation
Detail view of the Bathgate Block, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2007
Detail
South elevation of the Bathgate Block, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2007
South Elevation

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1882/01/01 to 1883/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/09/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bathgate Block, a three-storey brick warehouse built in 1882-83, is situated in a commercial and industrial area of downtown Winnipeg, a short distance north of the Exchange District National Historic Site of Canada. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Bathgate Block, an expressive Romanesque Revival-style structure with many round-arched openings and textured brick detailing, is one of the oldest warehouses in downtown Winnipeg and the only complete building that remains from the portfolio of Barber and Barber, the city's first major architectural firm. This prolific partnership, most active in ca. 1876-87, shaped much of the city's early commercial appearance and also designed important schools, churches and government buildings. The firm's Bathgate Block project is a good representation of the type of rental warehouse space established by investors during the boom of the early 1880s that accompanied the Canadian Pacific Railway's arrival in Winnipeg. Of particular note is the structure's strategic organization, outside and within, into three sections with the potential for subdivided ownership as well as separate occupancies. This highly visible warehouse also is valued for its contribution to the aesthetic and historic continuity of Princess Street, a busy downtown thoroughfare that contains a number of Victorian-era buildings.

Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, November 30, 2004

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bathgate Block site include:
- the corner location at northwest Alexander Avenue and Princess Street, backing on to a lane in a long-established commercial and industrial area on the fringe of the historic Exchange District
- the structure's placement on the lot, built to the public sidewalks and presenting principal facades along both Princess and Alexander
- the warehouse's similarity in style and scale to other buildings in the area

Key exterior elements that define the structure's Romanesque Revival style and warehouse function include:
- the boxy rectangular mass of heavy mill construction, three storeys high, with a raised rubble-stone foundation, brick walls finished in buff-coloured brick and a flat roof
- the symmetrical organization and similar treatment of the three-bay front (east) and four-bay south facades, defined vertically by stone and brick pilasters and tall windows, and horizontally by banding elements, including a metal main-floor cornice
- the many round- and segmental-arched front and south openings, including large main-floor doorways and display windows and elongated upper-level windows, rhythmically grouped in threes, defined by brick voussoirs and drip moulding and interconnected by nailhead mouldings, etc.
- the entablature and parapet highlighted by courses of corbelled and diagonally laid brickwork and by round-arched panels with inset metal sunburst ornamentation centred over most bays
- details such as the heavy rusticated stone sills of the front display windows, the smooth-cut upper stone sills, the channelled brickwork in main-floor pilasters, the prominent pilaster capitals integrated with the main-floor cornice, the metal fire escapes, etc.
- the plain brick west and north facades, interrupted at ground level on the west side by loading docks and a rear entrance

Key elements that define the building's interior character include:
- the organization of each floor into three sections extending the depth of the structure, separated on the upper levels by brick walls and with each section served by a utilitarian wooden staircase with plain wooden handrails and balusters
- the raised loading area at the back of the main floor accessed via two wooden ramps
- the freight elevator
- the finishes and features, including exposed heavy square timber posts and beams, plank floors, tin ceiling tiles on the main floor, strip wood ceilings in the upper storeys, baseboards, simple wooden window frames, etc.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

2004/11/30

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Warehouse

Historic

Architect / Designer

Barber and Barber

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg Manitoba

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0214

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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