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Casa Loma Building

644 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/02/14

Exterior view of the front (north) and west facades, Casa Loma Buildng, Winnipeg, 2004; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2004
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1909/01/01 to 1909/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/09/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Casa Loma Building is a bulky, brick and stone structure completed in 1909 that features a layout common to buildings found in most of the city's neighbourhoods: retail space on the ground floor and residential suites on the upper levels. The City of Winnipeg's Grade III designation applies to the building footprint and the following interior elements: the Sherbrook Street entrance vestibule, adjacent stairs and wainscoting and the extant Murphy beds.

Heritage Value

The Casa Loma Building is an excellent example of the type of mixed retail/apartment block structure built in Winnipeg's burgeoning downtown district in the 1900-1915 era. Designed by local architect J.H.G. Russell and built by contracting firm Carter-Halls-Aldinger Company, the building's robust design, fine exterior finishes and impressive interior layouts and finishes are of importance. In 1928, the building was the site of a major fire, the resulting loss of life forced changes in the enforcement of fire regulations in the province. The Casa Loma Building also has important locational value, situated at the intersection of two busy thoroughfares, Portage Avenue and Sherbrook Street, where its grand size and powerful visual character make it an important landmark.

Source: City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee Meeting, 2004-01-15

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the building's important location include:
- its highly public corner site with main facades facing north and west
- its height and the high degree of ornamentation that amplify its conspicuousness in relation to many of its surrounding structures
- its relationship with the elegant Manitoba Telephones ' Sherbrook Exchange Building, located just to the south

Key exterior elements that define the building's impressive classical façades, and of the integrity of its exterior features and details, include:
- its five-storey height and massing, including a large brick and stone accented light well on the west façade highlighted by a brick and stone balustrade and two small light wells on the east side
- highly embellished Portage Avenue (north) and Sherbrook Street (west) façades featuring red brick walls interrupted by giant order brick pilasters from the second to fifth floors, large paired windows, a complete entablature with heavy overhanging cornice and parapet.
- modest, unadorned south and east elevations completed in common clay brick, uninterrupted save for the numerous unmatched window openings and the previously mentioned east side light wells
- stone detailing on the north and west façades including the heads and bases of the brick pilasters, belt course, sills, accenting in spandrels, throughout the west side light well
- door and window at the south end of the west façade, heavily embellished with stone blocks

Key elements that define the integrity of the building's interior include:
- Sherbrook Street entrance foyer with wood and tile embellishments and ornate wooden staircase leading to the second floor
- wide hallways with high ceilings, wood accenting at floor level, on walls and around doors and transom windows in residential space
- high ceilings throughout the building, including some original tin cladding in areas of the ground floor retail space
- one- and two-bedroom suites with high ceilings, interior hallways, transom lights, wood accenting, and Murphy beds that are designed to look like fireplaces when closed (operational beds located in Suites 32, 50, 51 and 58)




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Multiple Dwelling

Architect / Designer

J.H.G. Russell



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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