Description of Historic Place
The 1907 Dominion Bank Building, a two-storey brick and steel structure, stands at one end of a group of commercial facilities of similar age and scale on Main Street near the northern edge of downtown Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the following interior elements: main-floor banking hall volume of space, skylight and layout, and second-floor layout and finishes, including woodwork, transoms and mouldings.
The Dominion Bank Building is one of the first branches established by a chartered bank outside Winnipeg's primary financial district, in this case to capitalize on commercial development near the Canadian Pacific Railway Station. Designed by H.C. Stone of Montreal, the bank is an excellent Winnipeg example of Beaux-Arts Classical architecture applied on a reduced scale but still conveying an image of corporate tradition and solidity. An enriched facade made extraordinary by fluted Ionic columns and dark-hued terra cotta, along with an ornate banking hall and other quality features, express the building's functional and symbolic importance and its aesthetic kinship with the monumental bank headquarters built in the same period further south on Main Street. Occupied by the Dominion (later Toronto-Dominion) Bank until the early 1980s and sympathetically restored as offices, this exceptional structure supports one end of a group of historic business buildings on a revitalized part of Main Street.
Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, February 27, 2007
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Dominion Bank Building site include:
- its placement flush to the sidewalk on west Main Street between Henry and Higgins avenues, and its physical and visual relationships with the historic commercial structures to its south, the former Canadian Pacific Railway Station on Higgins further east, etc.
Key exterior elements that define the building's exemplary Beaux-Arts Classical style include:
- the elongated two-storey form, with a flat roofline, brick walls, stone foundation, frame of brick columns and steel I-beams, and interior light well
- the striking, classically formal, three-bay front, symmetrical, richly clad by dark-hued terra cotta, and including a pair of two-storey round, fluted columns with exaggerated Ionic capitals, smooth, squared end pilasters, an entablature with a detailed cornice and a geometrically ornamented parapet balustrade
- the square-headed openings, including the tripartite upper front windows, the centred entrance with a large transom, the main-floor windows with deep terra cotta sills on oversized stylized brackets, etc.
- the elegant details and functional features, including the front's foliated, bead-and-reel, egg-and-dart and other mouldings, 'THE DOMINION BANK' in raised letters on the frieze, the bank emblem over the entrance, the metal night deposit box, the tall brick chimney, etc.
Key interior elements that define the building's heritage character and original functions include:
- the formal rectilinear plan, including the main-floor banking hall, the side and rear stairwells, the intact second-storey layout of front offices and rear residence organized off long hallways and the light well
- the deep, classically detailed banking hall with a high coffered ceiling, square columns, skylight, delicate plaster mouldings, mosaic tile floor with a Greek key motif, etc.
- the details and finishes, including the upper floor's dark-stained oak woodwork, plaster walls and ceilings, hardwood flooring, high transomed doorways, light well windows, etc.; the solid main- and second-floor vaults with heavy steel doors; the basement's built-in vaults with thick brick walls; etc.