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Travellers Building

283 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1979/11/19

Contextual view, from the east, of the Travellers Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Contextual View
Primary elevations, from the southeast, of the Travellers Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Primary Elevations
Entrance detail of the Travellers Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Entrance Detail

Other Name(s)

Butler Centre
Northwest Commercial Travellers Association Building
Centre Butler
Édifice Northwest Commercial Travellers Association
Travellers Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1906/01/01 to 1907/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Travellers Building, a six-storey masonry office structure built in 1906-07, sits on a prominent street corner in Winnipeg's Exchange District, a national historic site. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the following interior elements: fifth-floor ornamental fireplace and internal staircase.

Heritage Value

The Travellers Building, a dignified Neo-Classical-style structure, holds significance as one of a national chain of exclusive service facilities erected for the North West Commercial Travellers' Association (NWCTA), founded in Winnipeg in 1882 to advance the interests of travelling salesmen. The city's regional role as a wholesale and manufacturing centre meant it teemed at the turn of the twentieth century with commercial representatives who regularly criss-crossed the rapidly growing West to promote their employers' products. Their association's substantial building, designed by Darling and Pearson of Toronto and highly visible due to its red brick facades and important corner location, gave the members access to rental offices, display, meeting and banquet rooms, a restaurant and various other resources, all in proximity to local employers, customers, hotels and railway stations. Since the NWCTA's departure in 1945, the modestly ornamented yet durable facility has remained notable as an example of innovative building reuse, serving successively as offices and rehabilitated commercial and residential space.

Source: City of Winnipeg Council Meeting Minutes, November 19, 1979

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Travellers Building site include:
- the building's full occupancy of its corner location at northwest Bannatyne Avenue and King Street, overlooking Market Square
- its physical and visual relationships to the many surrounding historic warehouses and commercial buildings, including the Sanford Building and Maw's Garage to its west and the King and Gault buildings to the south

Key exterior elements that define the building's refined character and classical styling include:
- the elongated rectangular massing with the symmetrical main facades composed of red brick, the secondary elevations in less dramatic buff brick, a flat roof and large north light well
- the ample fenestration throughout, including the south and east sides of the main floor completely filled with large display windows separated by pilasters with decorative capitals; the upper levels with rectangular windows, all featuring flat arches and smooth-cut limestone sills save the fifth floor with its round-arched windows and keystones; etc.
- the grand main entrance in a double-storey cut-stone frontispiece with a simple entablature, double doors flanked by side and top lights with decorative mullions and a panel reading 'TRAVELLERS BUILDING'
- the details, including the striking metal modillioned cornice painted to contrast with the brick, the less dramatic cornice atop the main floor, the quoins, the smooth-cut upper limestone belt course, high brick parapet, west-side metal fire escapes, etc.

Key elements that define the building's interior details and finishes include:
- the informal open plan, with floors organized by a grid of concrete columns and various ceiling heights, some with exposed concrete beams
- the staircase featuring a cast-iron balustrade and marble risers and treads
- details such as the ornamental fifth-floor wooden fireplace, some wood moulding and trim, etc.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Manitoba

Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date

1979/11/19

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Residence
Multiple Dwelling

Historic

Architect / Designer

Darling and Pearson

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

W0008

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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