Description of Historic Place
Sherbrook Pool, a two-storey reinforced concrete, steel and brick recreational facility built in 1930, faces a busy thoroughfare in a mixed-use area of Winnipeg's West End. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
Sherbrook Pool, erected on the western edge of downtown Winnipeg as a relief project during the Great Depression, was the city's first and for many years only Olympic-size pool. At the time of construction, it was also the finest pool in Western Canada, serving as the site of many competitions and as a training centre for advanced swimmers, in addition to being a much used community amenity. The building's design by R.B. Pratt and D.A. Ross, with its sharp straight edges and stepped-back main entrance, is a good example of the Art Deco style, popular in North America in the 1930s but used only rarely in Winnipeg during that time. As Winnipeg's oldest municipally owned pool, this facility is a well-known local landmark that continues to serve as an accessible recreational outlet in the city centre.
Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, June 26, 2001
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Sherbrook Pool site include:
- the location on the east side of Sherbrook Street between Portage and Ellice avenues in an older residential-commercial neighbourhood, with the building set back slightly from the public sidewalk
Key elements that define the pool's Art Deco-style exterior include:
- the linear two-storey horizontal form with a flat roof, sharp edges and low-relief surface detail
- the sturdy construction of reinforced concrete and steel and local materials such as clay brick, Alsip red tapestry finish brick, smooth-cut Manitoba limestone accents, etc.
- the overall symmetry, defined by the high continuous stone base and parapet coping, the rhythmic arrangement of windows on each elevation and the shallow brick pilasters on three sides
- the generous fenestration throughout, comprised of flat-headed rectangular openings of various sizes, including two levels of windows aligned vertically in singles, pairs or trios on the eight-bay front (west) and rear elevations, etc.
- the main double-door entrance, set back at the northwest corner within smooth-cut stone surrounds minimally adorned and with a large raised panel carved with the words 'PUBLIC BATHS'
- the modest details, including the clustered brick pilasters at the corners of the main entrance, the plain, slightly raised stone pilaster capitals along the front elevation, the smooth-cut stone windowsills, etc.
Key elements that define the pool's interior character and recreational function include:
- the straightforward layout, including the front lobby-office area, the open, bright, high-ceilinged pool area with bleachers, etc.
- the convenient circulation patterns provided by the central lobby stairways to the men's and women's basement change rooms, the side stairways to the bleachers, etc.
- the large tile-lined pool, 15.3 by 22.9 metres, with decorative tile detailing on the deck, tile messages along the sides of the pool indicating depth, distance and safety precautions, etc.
- the wooden bleachers on the west, east and north sides
- the finishes and features, including the terrazzo tile in the lobby, front desk area and committee room