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Bedford Building

281 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/12/05

Primary elevations, from the southeast, of the Bedford Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Primary Elevations
Wall details of the Bedford Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Detail
Painted wall signage on the Bedford Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Detail

Other Name(s)

Bedford Building
Reiss Furs
Stobart Building
Immeuble Stobart

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1903/01/01 to 1903/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The large and sturdy Bedford Building, built in 1903 with an addition in 1907, is heightened by its prominent corner location in a section of Winnipeg's Exchange District (a national historic site) that contains a number of other visually powerful masonry warehouses. The City of Winnipeg's designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Bedford Building is an important warehouse, developed during a period of rapid expansion of Winnipeg's Exchange District when the city reached the height of its power as the centre for wholesale trade in Western Canada. Carried out in a restrained version of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the structure's symmetry, generous fenestration and minimal low-relief ornamentation emphasize functionality over decoration and presents a solid face to the street. Durability and practicality also characterize the interior finishes and layout, much of which remains. The warehouse and its well-integrated addition, which added two more storeys, were designed by Winnipeg architect James H. Cadham for the prominent pioneer business Stobart, Sons and Co., a major supplier of clothing and dry goods throughout the West. One of the Exchange District's largest warehouses, this building occupies a corner site on two busy streets and contributes to the historical integrity of the immediate neighbourhood, which contains a number of other large warehouses from the same period.

Source: City of Winnipeg Council Meeting Minutes, December 5, 1983

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Bedford Building's site include:
- its location at the northwest corner of McDermot Avenue and King Street, with the warehouse's two public facades set flush to the sidewalks
- the historical and visual connections to other nearby warehouse buildings from the same period

Key elements that define the building's restrained Richardsonian Romanesque style and original warehouse function include:
- its impressive size, with the controlled use of fenestration, finishes and modest detailing to offset its bulkiness
- the heavy masonry walls, including the high rusticated stone base and expanses of yellow brick on all other floors, and the angled southeast facet which contains the main entrance
- the organization of the south and east walls with large window openings, including large arched openings defining the two lower floors and paired rectangular windows above
- the use of simple, but effective detailing, including the modest cornice, rough-cut limestone lug sills below the windows, stone keystones in the arches, heavy wood-framing in their arched openings, etc.
- the large arched opening for the loading door on the west face
- the utilitarian character of the north wall, mostly unrelieved brick and the loading door on the west side
- the painted wall signage on upper levels of the north and west elevations

Key elements that define the building's internal warehouse functions include:
- the open warehouse spaces found on the second to seventh floors and exposed cast-iron columns visible in the basement and lower six floors and wood columns on the top floor
- the pair of freight elevators located at the rear (north) of the building
- the ornate tin ceiling found in the basement and lower four floors and the wood-clad partitioning in hallways, offices, washrooms and loading areas on the top three floors

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

1983/12/05

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1907/01/01 to 1907/12/31

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
Office or Office Building
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Warehouse

Architect / Designer

James H. Cadham

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0057

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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