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Bank of Hamilton

395 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1979/11/07

Contextual view, from the west, of the Bank of Hamilton, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
Detail view of the Bank of Hamilton, Winnipeg; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Interior view of the main staircase in the Bank of Hamilton, Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006

Other Name(s)

Bank of Hamilton
Hamilton Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1916/01/01 to 1918/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/05/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The imposing, yet graceful, nine-storey Bank of Hamilton is located in the heart of Winnipeg's Exchange District, a national historic site, and its Bankers' Row. Built in 1916-18, the office tower occupies the southeast corner of Main Street and McDermot Avenue, surrounded by commercial structures of various types and vintages. The City of Winnipeg's Grade I designation applies to the building footprint and the entire interior.

Heritage Value

The Bank of Hamilton is one of Winnipeg's excellent examples of a Chicago School-style skyscraper, whose height, method of construction and Italianate detailing set it apart from buildings of the pre-1900 era. Designed by noted local architect John D. Atchison, the building is noted for the abundance and integrity of its exterior limestone ornamentation and the interior ground-floor, mezzanine and second-floor finishes and layouts. The building is one of the anchors of the only remaining unaltered block of pre-1920 financial institutions on Bankers' Row, a section of Main Street occupied by monumental banking structures from which came much of the financing for Western Canada's pre-1930 development.

Source: City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee Meeting, August 18, 1978

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the site include:
- its location at the southeast corner of Main Street and McDermot Avenue, an important corner in the Exchange District
- its location at one end of a block of pre-1920 monumental financial institutions, the last unaltered block in the city's historic Bankers' Row

Key elements that define the Bank of Hamilton's Chicago School-style character include:
- its height and steel-frame support system
- the tripartite division of the exterior (highly detailed upper and lower levels and subdued middle storeys) and the use of refined materials for exterior cladding
- the plain, grid-like pattern of the fenestration in the midsection

Key elements of the building's exterior integrity and extensive Italianate detailing include:
- the symmetrically designed north and west facades featuring sculptured accents carried out in Manitoba-quarried limestone, including a large cartouche in the northwest corner, a festoon between the sixth and seventh floors, wreaths, shields, embellished belt courses above the mezzanine level and second-storey windows and a cornice accented with dentils, modillions, mouldings and gargoyles
- the ground-floor windows featuring five large arched openings on the north (McDermot Avenue) elevation and square-headed openings on the front (west) facade with ornamental stone frames, bracketing and metal grating
- the raised entrance on the front facade embellished with a massive arch and ornate keystone, recessed bronze and glass doors below a grille, fanlight and the Bank of Hamilton's coat of arms all carried out in bronze
- the regularly arranged square-headed windows of the third to eighth storeys topped by the ornately accented ninth-storey windows, with a complete entablature and railed parapet above

Key elements of the building's interior layout and finishes include:
- the marble-lined foyer with ornate ceiling, elliptical staircase with bronze handrail, bronze mail box, etc.
- the volume and embellishments of the banking hall and mezzanine levels, including beamed ceilings with coffers richly painted and adorned with gold leaf, bronze screens and railings, the ornately detailed manager's office door, etc.
- the former manager's office on the ground floor and the second-floor boardroom featuring wood finishes and leaded- and stained-glass windows




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
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

John D. Atchison



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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