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Ambassador Apartments

379 Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/05/05

Primary elevations, from the northwest, of the Ambassador Apartments, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Primary Elevations
Main entrance bay of the Ambassador Apartments, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007
Balcony detail of the Ambassador Apartments, Winnipeg, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2007

Other Name(s)

Breadalbane Apartments
Ambassador Apartments
Appartements Breadalbane

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1909/01/01 to 1909/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The 1909 Ambassador Apartments, a five-storey wedge-shaped building of reinforced concrete and brick construction, occupies a corner site in the northwest quadrant of downtown Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

The impressive Ambassador Apartments is a significant Winnipeg example of early twentieth-century apartment building, of particular interest due to its dramatic flatiron appearance and concrete construction. The block's plan makes efficient use of an irregularly shaped site to maximize profit, as well as street views, and to create strong visual impact through two long balanced facades joined by an elegantly curved corner bay. Innovation also is found in architect John Woodman's use of fireproof materials and wells that provide many suites with natural light, ventilation and double entrances, features that reflect the suitability and safety issues of the day. With its restrained Neo-Classical style and variety of suite sizes, this physically prominent structure, first called The Breadalbane, remains a vibrant source of downtown residential accommodation.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, July 28, 1986

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ambassador Apartments site include:
- the lot's triangular configuration at the convergence of Hargrave Street with Cumberland and Qu'Appelle avenues in a mixed-use area of downtown Winnipeg
- the building's conspicuous situation, occupying its site up to the public sidewalks and lane, with its rounded northwest corner highly visible at Hargrave and Cumberland and its main entrance facing Qu'Appelle

Key elements that define the block's striking flatiron massing and Neo-Classical style include:
- the substantial wedge-shaped form, five storeys in height, with brick walls, a flat roof, high basement and large light wells on the west (front) and south sides
- the generally smooth appearance of each elevation, with the west and north walls joined by a curved, well-lit corner bay adorned by bracketed wrought-iron balconets
- the classical composition of the west, north and short east facades, divided into three distinct levels by stone belt courses and channelled brickwork and capped by a large metal cornice and a low brick parapet
- the numerous tall rectangular flat-headed windows in wood casings throughout, set in various symmetrical arrangements
- the stately, recessed front entrance, executed in smooth-cut stone with a cantilevered metal canopy, including dual staircases leading to an arched and balustraded platform, columned upper-storey balconies, a well-lit enclosed area on the fifth floor and a brick pediment
- the two enclosed north stairwells marked by doorways, distinctively aligned upper windows (round-arched and flat-headed) and plain brick panels
- the fine materials and features, such as the light-brown finish brick, quoin-like brick detailing, ashlar stone base, windowsills and other trim, stone and metal balustrades, main entrance elements with 'THE BREADALBANE' in raised stone letters and the date 'A.D. 1909', etc.
- the utilitarian south wall with its plain brick finish and details

Key elements that define the building's interior character and construction include:
- the front lobby with an elevator and elegant wrought-iron staircase
- the innovative mushroom-shaped concrete columns
- the expansive interior layout, with suites organized around central hallways
- the wide variety of suites, many with high ceilings and features such as hardwood flooring, built-in cupboards, 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

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Architect / Designer

John Woodman



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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