Getting Started

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To view the name and description of a building, click once on a point on the map. To see the building in street view, double-click on the point on the map.

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Map Legend

* Does not factor in occupancy
* Further detailed information can be obtained through the Heritage Winnipeg office

Conservation List

The conservation list shows all current conservation buildings and projects in the city.

Edwardian Buildings and the Beaux-Arts School: A Revival of Historicism

Some of America's foremost Beaux-Art firms designed buildings in the District. Their Neo-Classical and Renaissance Revival styles were seen as a reflection of Canadian and American wealth. Edwardian banks and offices constructed of steel faced with decorative stone and terra cotta quickly replaced earlier stone and brick buildings.

Those District Buildings that are transitional between Victorian and Edwardian eras made use of the newer steel frame and concrete technology with masonry load-bearing walls. They often feature dressed or smooth-faced stone foundations, red clay brick walls without much detail, rectangular or round head with stone keystone, and dentilled or toothed metal cornices at the roofline.

Victorian Buildings

Most Victorian buildings in Winnipeg were later replaced by larger structures that would serve its expanding businesses. The Victorian grouping on Princess remains one of the best examples of such buildings in Winnipeg; others can be found on Main Street north of the district. Many Victorian buildings are Italianate in style and constructed of heavy wood post and beam (some include fireproof iron columns) with heavy detailed masonry load-bearing walls, variously arched windows and metal or corbelled brick cornices. The prominent architects of the day, Charles A. and Earle W. Barber, designed more than eighty such structures before 1898. There are only four of Barber and Barber's buildings still standing today, three of which are in the District.

Chicago and the Romanesque Revival

Some of North America's finest American Romanesque style warehouses in North America can be found in Winnipeg. The Romanesque are typically of heavy wood post and construction with foundations of large rough-faced stone blocks set with deep, recessed joints (called rustication) and brick walls with piers and stone spandrels to support heavy loads. The Romanesque or round-head arch is used in the tunnels through the buildings which provided for protected loading and unloading of goods within, and in the large windows which provided natural light to the interior before electric light was affordable.

Winnipeg Builders Exchange

The Winnipeg Builders Exchange was first located at 482 Main Street (in the Leckie Building) from 1904-1909, and later in the Confederation Life Building (1926-1956). The Exchange assisted Winnipeg's contractors with advice on the costs of construction, dealing with workers, and the legalities of the business. Additionally, the Exchange office would be sent tenders for construction on which contractors could then bid. Membership in the Exchange grew from over 40 contractors at the time of its founding in 1904 to over 400 at its incorporation in 1910 - the largest in North America. It is now known as the Winnipeg Construction Association.

The Chicago School

Chicago was the centre of North American architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. These buildings could be built higher than before because the walls were not load-bearing. They often featured stone and simply detailed terra cotta on the exterior, suspended by metal shelves bolted to the frame. Thus the modern building was born.

John D. Atchison worked in the office of Jenny and Mundie, until 1895, first visiting Winnipeg in a professional capacity in the early 1900s. He opened a Winnipeg office in 1905, closing his American office the following year. Atchinson was foremost Chicago School architect in the city. He remained in practice in Winnipeg for about twenty years.

Early Agricultural Industry Buildings & Agricultural Machinery Warehouses

Following the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1881. The Exchange District became the centre of the agricultural industry in Western Canada. Companies based in Eastern Canada which served the industry opened branches in the District. Massey manufacturing Co. and Harris implement Co. which merged to form the Massey-Harris Co., John Deere Plow Co. and the Cockshutt Plow Co. all had warehouses in the area around City Hall and the Civic Market. These warehouses, which were shared with locally based agricultural businesses, had large showrooms and storefront windows for the display of the latest machinery. With the construction of the Exchange Buildings on Princess Street in 1892 and 1898, the importance of the business area west of Main Street had been established. But with the move to the new Grain Exchange Building on Lombard Avenue in 1908, the centre of the grain trade shifted back to the east side of Main Street.


Winnipeg stages attracted many stars of the British Theatre of Varieties and American Vaudeville theatre. Some of the Vaudeville circuits through Western Canada began in Winnipeg and many vaudevillians got their first break in the city - there was a saying that if an act could make it in Winnipeg, it could make it anywhere. Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Charles Chaplin and the Marx Brothers all appeared on Winnipeg stages (the Marx Brothers first saw Chaplin in this city) and went on to appear in Hollywood films. Winnipeg's discriminating audiences had sent them on their way to stardom. The Pantages and Orpheum circuits which featured their acts were the most popular, offering three shows a day including a matinee. Unfortunately, Vaudeville was overtaken in popularity by Hollywood films staring the famous names that had once tramped the boards in Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg Film Exchange was located in the Lyon Building at 217-225 McDermot Avenue from 1917-23. Through the Exchange, Winnipeg Film could rent copies of the latest Hollywood films. The Winnipeg Film Exchange's theatre at 646 Main Street stands as one of the oldest film theatres in Winnipeg.

Public Works


54 King Street
1910-11 J.P. West Smith, Kerry & Chace, City of Winnipeg Engineers
1913 One storey added (central section) James Chisolm

City Light & Power Company, the first public utility in Western Canada, began operation in 1911. The utility had entered into competition with the Winnipeg Electric (Railway) Co. which operated the first water generated electrical system beginning in 1903. From a generating station on the Winnipeg River at Pointe du Bois to a terminal station in Point Douglas through this substation, electricity flowed to businesses. The new rates brought about by this competition made electricity affordable to District manufactures (primarily in the clothing trade) and dramatically effected their growth. The unique building is constructed of brick and sandstone suspended on a steel frame and is highly detailed; there have been numerous additions since. With the construction of the downtown steam heating plant on Amy Street in 1924, the station became a distribution point for this system.


109 James Avenue
1906 Lt. Col. Henry Norlande Ruttan City of Winnipeg Engineer

The High Pressure Pumping Station severed the District as one of the most sophisticated of its kind in the world. It was constructed under pressure from Winnipeg citizens after river water was pumped into the main water system and typhoid broke out following a major fire in 1904. The Pumping Station supplied over seventy fire hydrants in the downtown with water drawn initially from the Red River, but later from Shoal Lake. Water was pumped through eight miles of mains separated from the domestic supply - the mains system was controlled from the Central Fire Hall (on the present site of Market Square) while City Waterworks operated the gas engine pumping system. Most of the cost was raised through taxation of downtown business which benefited from the reduction insurance rates and the improved fire safety which the system brought about. In the near future structure will be converted to a museum interpreting the original role the building performed.


One of Winnipeg's first four public parks was Victoria Park, opened in 1894 on the site of Victoria and colony Gardens at the foot of James Avenue facing the Red River. Victoria Gardens was an amusement park named in 1885 for the British Empire's long reigning monarch; Colony Gardens before it was begun in 1843 by Alexander Ross, the Red River settlement's first sheriff whose eldest son, William, became its first postmaster in 1855. William Ross constructed a house of the post office. It was built of hand-hewn squared logs in the style known as Red River Frames. Following the death of William Ross in 1856, his widow, Jemima and her second husband William Coldwell continued to occupy the house until 1904. The Ross family was responsible for donating the Civic Market Site and for selling the City Hall site on Main Street to a group of business who in turn donated it to the City.

Ross House was saved from demolition by the Manitoba Historical Society and following two moves, it relocated to Joe Zuken Heritage Park in Point Douglas where it is open to the public.


Named for Winnipeg's longest serving mayor, Stephen Juba Park on the Red River was opened in 1984. It is part of the Red River Corridor, a system of parks which stretches from St. Norbert, south of Winnipeg to Netley Creek on the north. This park occupies a site which, prior to the arrival of the transcontinental railway in 1881, several as the commercial centre of Winnipeg. Ship Street suggests the early history of his area when most settlers and goods coming to the new city were transported by boat from St. Paul, Minnesota where the closest rail line passes. Alexander Dock still stands at he northern end of the park. More recently, a railway spur line that had serviced the many warehouses which were built in the District has been removed and the land has been redeveloped as a landscaped walk called Theatre Way. Freight trains continue to pass over the bridge at the southern end of the park.

Banks and Other Financial Buildings

Main Street's "Banker's Row" was so named for the many banks which opened their doors in Winnipeg at the turn of the century. There were over twenty banks and other financial institutions on Main Street banks and other financial institutions on Main Street between City Hall and Portage Avenue including the Bank of Montreal, the Canadian Bank of Commerce and Imperial Bank (which merged to form the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), the Royal Bank, and the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank (which merged to from the Toronto-Dominion Bank). Most of the banks had their Western regional headquarters in Winnipeg and one, the Union Bank of Canada, moved its Canadian headquarters to the city. As well, many important financial institutions such as the Great-West Life Assurance Co. and other trust and insurance companies were founded in the city.

Newspapers and Printers

McDermot Avenue was the home to many newspapers and Business serving the printing and publishing industry at the turn of the century. It became known as "Newspaper Row" and was an attraction to Winnipeg who often congregated outside the offices of the Manitoba Free Press, the Winnipeg Telegram or the Winnipeg Tribune to read the latest news posted on the walls or shouted through megaphones broke out between the Free Press (Liberal), the Telegram (Conservative) across the street and the Tribune (Independent) next door, but it was the Free Press that was the most influential, promoting the policies of Liberal governments of the day. Of the many daily newspapers published in the District at the turn of the century, only the Free Press remains in print today.

Hardware, Dry Goods and Grocery Wholesale Warehouses

The Canadian Pacific Railway held a monopoly on freight rates in Winnipeg at the turn of the century which greatly affected the cost of shipping goods from eastern Canada and throughout the West. Winnipeg businessmen fought for preferential rates and in 1886 and 1890, the CPR granted concessions to the city. This ensured that The Exchange District would become the major wholesale centre for all goods being sold in Western Canada. Major Eastern Canadian companies and Winnipeg-based business- Thomas Ryan Co., George D. Wood Co., R.J. Whitla & Co., Gault Bros. Co. and J.H. Ashdown Co. among them-opened large warehouses in the District to supply the growing west. many of the warehouses were located on railway spur lines where goods could be shipped in large lots, broken down into smaller lots and then packaged with the wholesalers' own labels for sale in Western Canada. Today, the names and products of these inportant companies can still be seen on the rooftop and wall signs on buildings throughout the District.

Manufacturing and Wholesale Agents

The Exchange District was the home base for thousands of salesmen who travelled throughout Western Canada selling wholesale goods manufactured or stored in warehouses in the city. The Northwest Commercial Travellers Association, an organization providing services to travelling salesmen based in Western Canada, was founded in Winnipeg in 1882. Association members were provided with office space, club and dining rooms, reduced train and hotel rates and insurance policies. The Association had two thousand members when the Travellers Building, its new headquarters, was erected on Bannatyne Avenue in 1906. Today, it has approximately 10,000 members.

Later Agricultural Industry Buildings

The Winnipeg Grain and Produce Exchange moved to the new Grain Exchange Building in 1908 and with it, the center of business shifted to the east side of Main Street. Renamed the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, it had become the most influential institution in the development of Winnipeg. The Grain exchange Building was the largest office building in the Dominion at the time of its construction and from its two-storey trading floor, business was carried on with the rest of the world. Most of Winnipeg's grain companies conducted business from within the Grain Exchange Building and to this day, many still remain in the District. Main Street and Lombard Avenue also became the home of other financial institutions which had been attracted to Winnipeg by the Exchange. The Exchange moved to its new home at the southwest corner of Portage and Main in 1980.