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St. Vital Firehall

598-600 St. Mary's Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/06/07

Primary elevation, from the east, of the St. Vital Firehall, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Primary Elevation
Detail view of the St. Vital Firehall, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Detail
Rear elevation, from the northwest, of the St. Vital Firehall, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Back Elevation

Other Name(s)

St. Vital Firehall
City of Winnipeg Ambulance Station No. 3
Old St. Vital Firehall
St. Vital Fire and Police Station
St. Vital Civic Offices
Poste d'ambulances no 3 de la ville de Winnipeg
Ancienne caserne de pompiers de Saint-Vital
Caserne de pompiers et poste de police de Saint-Vital
Bureaux municipaux de Saint-Vital

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1914/01/01 to 1914/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The St. Vital Firehall, a 2 1/2-storey brick structure built for an emerging urban municipality in 1914 and later expanded, stands on a river lot near the junction of two main roadways in what is now a sprawling suburb of south Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The St. Vital Firehall is a fine multiple-purpose civic building whose well-appointed exterior, based on Richardsonian Romanesque and Italianate precedents and boldly executed in red brick and light limestone, recalls St. Vital's early twentieth-century transformation from a rural to an urban community. Designed by Alexander Melville, the station in form, features and interior layout is very similar to a standardized series of functional, aesthetically pleasing firehalls that he and his architect-brother William planned in 1904-13 for Winnipeg and its then neighbouring municipalities. St. Vital's facility differed in its initial dual role of accommodating police as well as fire services. Its location was especially strategic, situated near a hub of local commercial activity at the junction of two thoroughfares and next to the Red River from which water could be drawn for the pumpers. For nearly four decades the building also housed St. Vital's council chambers and municipal offices, during which a south addition of complementary design and materials was attached (ca. 1940s). Well preserved and still in municipal use, this structure is a highly visible symbol of St. Vital's early development.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, June 7, 1982

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site character of the St. Vital Firehall include:
- the location on the east bank of the Red River near the junction of St. Mary's and St. Anne's roads
- the building's placement, facing east, with a wide driveway in the front and driveways along both sides giving ready access to the street and a rear service area

Key exterior elements that define the building's blended architectural style and emergency services function include:
- the large rectangular 2 1/2-storey main volume emphasized by a sweeping and moderately steep hipped roof with overhanging eaves, gables and shingled gable dormers
- the brick construction with finishes of deep red brick and light limestone, the latter most striking on the front (east) elevation where rusticated stone covers the main floor and forms an arcade of three large Romanesque-arched equipment doorways
- the tall square Italianate hose-drying tower (northwest corner) with its prominent crenellated parapet, cornice, several levels of fenestration, brick details, elegant trim, etc.
- the ordered, mainly symmetrical front with its equipment bays in a shallow pavilion and with strong visual focus on the central oriel window and corbie-stepped gable with a Palladian opening
- the generous fenestration throughout, provided by paired and single windows, triple dormer openings, large multi-paned arched transoms over the equipment doors, transoms over the pedestrian doors, etc.
- the lower two-level stable and loft at the rear, with numerous flat-headed openings and a flat roof
- features and details such as rough-cut stone lintels, windowsills and keystones, gable coping and finial, the large chimney with decorative brick- and stonework extended through the west gable, etc.

Key elements that define the building's interior character include:
- the layout and materials of the three equipment bays in the main hall, including the pressed metal ceiling, the concrete floor and drain, the south bay's walls of white glazed brick, etc.
- the high-quality materials and finishes throughout, including wood trim and flooring, staircases with ornamental iron balusters, the largely intact basement, including a coal storage room, etc.
- the intact tower with a series of wooden stairs and platforms climbing to its pulley system at the top

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

1982/06/07

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Museum
Government
Office or office building
Community
Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club

Historic

Government
Fire Station
Government
Police Station
Government
Town or City Hall

Architect / Designer

Alexander Melville

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0038

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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