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Swiss Building

137 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/12/08

Primary elevation, from the south, of the Swiss Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary elevation
Brick detail of the Swiss Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Brick Detail
Contextual view, from the southeast, of the Swiss Building, consisting of the three bays on the right, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View

Other Name(s)

Swiss Building
Bright and Johnston Building
J.G. Building
Bâtiment Bright and Johnston
Bâtiment J.G.

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1882/01/01 to 1883/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Swiss Building, a four-storey brick structure erected in 1882-83 and later expanded, stands in the eastern portion of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District connected by a party wall and interior driveway to a neighbouring warehouse. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The Swiss Building is a fine expression of early warehouse development in Winnipeg. The building's relatively modest scale, wood post-and-beam frame and restrained Romanesque Revival brick front are typical of the pre-1900 warehouses that formed the nucleus of the Exchange District, now a national historic site of Canada. The structure's location also is illustrative of the district's origins. Set between the Red River and Main Street, the warehouse benefitted from construction of a railway spur line and an interior driveway, part of an adjoining, 1903 warehouse. These amenities were particularly attractive to perishable goods wholesalers who commonly occupied the premises until the 1940s. Designed by Willmot and Stewart and expanded upward by one floor in 1907, the Swiss Building is the oldest of a group of historic structures. It also is a pioneer among contemporary condominium conversions in the warehouse district.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Minutes, December 8, 1986

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Swiss Building site include:
- the building's placement flush to the public sidewalk on the north side of Bannatyne Avenue between the Red River and Rorie Street, and the west party wall and interior driveway connections to 141 Bannatyne Avenue

Key exterior elements that define the building's commercial warehouse character and restrained Romanesque Revival style include:
- the deep, narrow, four-storey rectangular form composed of solid brick walls on a stone foundation beneath a flat roof
- the neat, modestly detailed front, symmetrically organized into three bays by brick pilasters and horizontal stringcourses, and generously lit by segmental-arched, flat-headed and round-arched windows, including narrow basement openings, exceptionally large central second- and third-floor windows, and a trio of small arched lights above
- other openings such as the corner entrance and transom surrounded by elegant wood detailing, symmetrically arranged rear upper windows with arched heads, segmental-arched west loading dock, etc.
- fine materials and details such as the light-coloured face brick, the corbelled brick parapet, radiating brick window heads, brick keystones and window and chimney drip moulding, the stone sills, etc.
- functional details such as wood rails in the loading dock driveway, the metal sign fence that extends atop the front parapets of the Swiss Building and adjoining warehouse, etc.

Key internal elements that define the building's heritage character include:
- exposed structural elements such as wood ceiling beams and brick wall surfaces
- materials and details such as the finely crafted wood staircase that leads to the upper floors, some fir and hardwood flooring, etc.




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1907/01/01 to 1907/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


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

Architect / Designer

Willmot and Stewart



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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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