Description of Historic Place
The DeBary (Highgate) Apartments, a three-storey brick block built in 1912-13, occupies a corner site in a residential neighbourhood of south Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the following interior elements: public hallways, including stained-glass windows and wood flooring; entrance doors; and original woodwork.
The DeBary (Highgate) Apartments is an excellent example of luxurious multiple-family rental housing designed in the Queen Anne Revival style, an aesthetic rarely applied to early apartment blocks in Winnipeg. Intended to appeal to an upscale market in the emerging residential district of Fort Rouge, the large, irregularly massed brick structure, with its distinctive European-inspired roofline and grand entrance court, features many of the amenities associated with the comfortable single-family homes that surround it, including quality materials, elegant interior appointments, spacious suites and, in some cases, servants' quarters. Architect C.S. Bridgeman's complex configuration and varied articulation of units gives each apartment a unique floor plan, maximizes occupant privacy and access to natural light and ventilation, and eliminates common walls. Long owned by the Belgo-Canadian Real Estate Co., this block represents the apex of pre-1914 apartment development in Winnipeg, a pre-eminence it recaptured after its rehabilitation and conversion to condominiums in the late 1970s.
Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, November 16, 1998
Key elements that define the site character of the DeBary (Highgate) Apartments include:
- the prominent corner location at southeast Wardlaw Avenue and Daly Street N, just off Wellington Crescent in an established residential area of south Winnipeg
- the building's placement on the site, with its entrance courtyard angled to face the intersection and Wellington Crescent
- the physical and visual connections with surrounding large detached houses of similar age
Key exterior elements that define the building's elegant Queen Anne Revival style and residential function include:
- the complex, three-storey form of rectangular and square volumes irregularly massed in three sections around a deep courtyard and between light- and stairwells, all within an expansive rectangular footprint
- the sturdy construction of a stone foundation and brick walls, with a raised basement and gabled roof
- the bold roofline marked along the north and west sides and in the courtyard by high ornamental gables and the conical roofs of tower-like bays that flank the main entranceway
- the animated north, south, west and courtyard elevations, enlivened by projecting and recessed vertical elements such as porches, bay windows, wall set-backs, truncated corners, wells, exterior staircases, etc.
- the abundance and uniformity of the fenestration throughout, composed mostly of tall rectangular flat-headed windows, supplemented by large porch openings, etc.
- the richly finished principal facades with contrasting dark and light elements, including walls of red-brown tapestry brick with buff-coloured brick recesses, smooth-cut light stone detailing, such as windowsills, various banding elements and gable coping, the bracketed wraparound metal cornice, etc.
- the three courtyard entrances, each with heavy doors of wood and etched glass set atop stone steps with wrought-iron balustrades and framed by ashlar limestone and canopies of wrought iron and glass
- other fine details, including the courtyard's brick, stone and wrought-iron gateway with the name 'Highgate' in gold lettering, the gables' stone crosses and diamonds, the quoin-like detailing on selective corners, the finials on the tower-like bays, etc.
Key elements that define the building's luxuriously appointed interior include:
- the 10-suite layout of each floor, organized into three sections of suites accessed off separate entrances, short public hallways and rear service staircases
- the small entrance vestibules with marble wainscotting, dark wood moulding, brass door fixtures, etc.
- the handsome dark wood main staircases with shaped newel posts and handrails, plain square balusters and wainscotting
- the elegant public hallways appointed with dark wood wainscotting, mouldings and high baseboards, stained-glass windows, dark wood apartment doors, each with a stained-glass panel, wood floors, etc.