Links and documents
1909/01/01 to 1909/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Contrasting sharply with its unornamented post-1960 neighbours, the Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner Building presents an intricately embellished terra cotta front to Portage Avenue, one of downtown Winnipeg's main corridors. The two-storey office building, developed in 1909 by a local financial firm, has been designated a Grade II structure by the City of Winnipeg. The designation includes the building footprint and following interior elements: brass doors and staircase in the main foyer; volume of the main-floor banking hall complete with attached pilasters, ceiling details and banking hall offices, including the office in the southeast corner with the built-in cabinet and fireplace; the arched ceiling and skylight on the second floor; and vaults.
The Neo-Classical-style Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner Building, with its exquisite exterior detailing, is an excellent Winnipeg example of the use of architectural terra cotta on a small-scale commercial structure. Most of the other pre-1920 terra cotta buildings in the downtown are large facilities such as office towers. Designed by John D. Atchison these premises also are valued for the quality and integrity of their interior ornamentation. For more than half a century, the building served as the headquarters of Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner Ltd., an investment, real estate and insurance business which operated across Western Canada.
Source: City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee Meeting, June 17, 2004
Key elements that define the structure's Neo-Classical design and terra cotta cladding include:
- the symmetrical main facade fronting a long narrow rectangular form, with a granite base, cream-coloured terra cotta with green accents above, and large square-headed windows and door openings
- the classical elements, including the end pilasters; the attached three-quarter Corinthian Order columns, each with an embellished base, fluted shaft and richly detailed capital; and the elaborate modillioned pediment with winged cherubs, a medallion, sheaves of grain, garlands of fruits, vegetables and flowers, and various mouldings
- the additional decorative features, such as the ornate window surrounds and spandrels, floral designs, low-relief sculptural elements, etc.
Key elements of the building's rich interior include:
- the finely appointed foyer, with its brass and multi-paned glass entrance doors and marble and metal staircase to the second floor
- the volume of the main-floor public and office spaces and detailing such as the attached pilasters, beamed ceiling and the office in the southeast corner with its built-in cabinet and fireplace
- the second-floor arched ceiling and skylight and vaults (on various floors)
Key elements that define the building's connection to Oldfield, Kirby and Gardner Ltd. include:
- the raised letters reading 'Established 1881' in the pediment medallion, a reference to the company's Winnipeg origin
City of Winnipeg
City of Winnipeg Act
Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
Architect / Designer
John D. Atchison
Location of Supporting Documentation
15-30 Fort Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, File: "234 Portage Avenue"
Cross-Reference to Collection