Home / Accueil

Johnston Terminal Building

45 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/11/21

Contextual view, from the southeast, of the Johnston Terminal Building, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Contextual View
Secondary elevations, from the south, of the Johnston Terminal Building, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Secondary Elevations
Wall detail of the Johnston Terminal Building, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007

Other Name(s)

National Cartage Building
Johnston Terminal Building
Bâtiment National Cartage

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1928/01/01 to 1930/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Johnston Terminal Building, built in two stages between 1928 and 1930, is a large four-storey brick warehouse in the former Canadian National Railways (CNR) East Yards at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in downtown Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Johnston Terminal Building is associated with Winnipeg's industrial history, representing the expansion and diversification of the CNR shortly after the national corporation was created to consolidate the operations of several financially troubled regional and national railways. The massive free-standing symmetrical structure, designed by the CNR's Architectural Branch to be a simple, utilitarian freight-handling facility, is one of the largest warehouses in Winnipeg and one of the few in Manitoba that is finished on all sides. The building functioned for several decades as an integral component of the CNR's bustling downtown rail yard. In the early 1990s it was converted to retail and office occupancy, one of a cluster of important railway structures preserved during redevelopment of the yard into a popular commercial, recreational, cultural and historical district known as The Forks, a national historic site.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Minutes, November 21,

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Johnston Terminal Building site include:
- the building's prominent, angled position on a slight rise of land
- the building's physical relationship to other preserved structures, including the Canadian Northern Railway Freight Lift Bridge, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and Canadian Northern Cartage Co. stables, the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop, etc.

Key exterior elements that define the warehouse's utilitarian industrial character include:
- the massive scale and four-storey height, organized in an exceptionally long rectangular block of mill construction with buff-brick exterior walls on a full concrete basement
- the flat roof, narrow concrete cornice and tall brick parapet that rises slightly at each corner and is topped by concrete coping
- the symmetrical massing, simple design and minimal detailing consistently presented on each side
- the large rectangular windows with simple concrete sills and flat heads on all sides
- the rhythmic organization of openings into vertical bays divided by plain brick pilasters and capped above the fourth-floor windows by corbelled brickwork
- the utilitarian elements, including the multiple north loading docks well above ground level and the angling of the northeast corner to accommodate the turning radius and height of train cars

Key elements that define the building's interior character include:
- the organization of the basement, ground and second levels around a central steel staircase with a central hallway defined by load-bearing masonry walls
- the two steel fire staircases located in the northwest and southeast quadrants
- the two interior elevator shafts adjacent to the steel fire staircases
- the high ceilings and open spaces with exposed heavy timber columns, beams and joists
- the remaining original finishes and furnishings, including the wood floors




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
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer

CNR Architectural Branch



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places