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Marshall-Wells Building

136 Market Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/05/11

Primary elevations, from the northwest, of the Marshall-Wells Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Primary Elevations
Secondary elevations, from the southwest, of the Marshall-Wells Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Secondary Elevations
Wall detail of the Marshall-Wells Building, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2006
Wall Detail

Other Name(s)

Modern Women Building
Édifice Modern Women
Marshall-Wells Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1905/01/01 to 1912/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Marshall-Wells Building, a four- and eight-storey brick warehouse complex erected in 1905-06 and expanded in 1912, is situated in the eastern half of Winnipeg's Exchange District, a national historic site of Canada. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the following interior elements: the capitals on the main floor.

Heritage Value

The massive Marshall-Wells Building, erected for a United States-based hardware merchant, is a fine example of the type of substantial structures built in Winnipeg's warehouse district during the pre-1914 boom when rapid prairie settlement opened new markets for wholesalers from across North America and the city, as a hub in the continental rail network, benefited from their investments in new distribution facilities. The complex, the second and third warehouses built in a short time span by the Marshall-Wells Co. next to a railway spur line, is largely function-oriented, emphasizing strength, capacity, fire-resistance and natural lighting. Exterior detailing is limited but striking, including the eight-storey section's strong verticality, rhythmic fenestration, dignified cornice and elaborately carved stone entrance. Designed by separate architects, Hooper and Walker (1905-06) and the Carter-Halls-Aldinger Co. (1912), the complex nonetheless appears as a complementary whole and is a dominant presence on an important corner site. Occupied by the Marshall-Wells Co. until the mid-1950s, the rehabilitated facility now functions as a multi-tenant office building.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Planning and Community Services Minute, May 11, 1987

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Marshall-Wells Building site include:
- the building's location on the southeast corner of Market Avenue and Rorie Street, among warehouses and factories of mostly similar age and style

Key exterior elements that define the complex's heritage character include:
- the elongated rectangular massing, four and eight storeys high, composed of stone foundations, brick walls and flat roofs over heavy post-and-beam frames
- the symmetry of both sections' front (north) facades, defined by large single rectangular flat-headed windows set mainly in bays between brick pilasters or pilaster strips
- the rusticated limestone base that stretches across the main floors of both sections, highlighted by an ashlar stone cornice that doubles as a continuous second-storey sill and by decorative stonework inset with medallions over the openings
- common details such as the wrought-iron balconies beneath the outermost north windows and the less ornate versions on the south, the loading bays, limestone sills, etc.

Key elements that define the exterior character and fine classical detailing of the eight-storey section include:
- the bold verticality and tripartite division of the north and west elevations, finished in buff brick above the stone base, and including at the attic level a distinctive arrangement of smaller-sized windows, brick stringcourses, an elegant metal cornice with brackets and modillions, and a brick parapet
- the ornate cut-stone main entrance adorned with oversized brackets, cartouches and a curved pediment broken by a finial-topped date stone, all framing a double door with a large segmental-arched transom
- the south side's multiple segmental-arched windows beneath radiating brick heads
- the painted Marshall-Wells signage on the upper east wall

Key elements that define the interior details and finishes of the eight-storey section include:
- the formal plan featuring post-and-beam construction and exposed brick walls and large wooden beams throughout
- the double-height foyer and main floor featuring round metal columns and the details, including the vaults, fire doors, ornamental brickwork, 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)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services

Architect / Designer

Carter-Halls-Aldinger Co.


Marshall-Wells Co.

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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