Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

Places

Buildings

Ashdown Warehouse

Formerly:Ashdown Warehouse
Address:167 Bannatyne Avenue
Constructed:1895
Architects:S. Frank Peters
Tours:Part of the QR Code Tour

More Information

The massive Ashdown Warehouse is one of the largest structures of this type in Winnipeg. Built between 1895 and 1911, the Richardsonian Romanesque-style facility extends upward six storeys and outward to occupy nearly half a block in the Exchange District, a national historic site. Adjacent development consists of a mix of post-1960 and historic buildings.

The Ashdown Warehouse is an impressive example of the kind of massive warehouse that has come to define Winnipeg's Exchange District. The muscular qualities of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, and inside of heavy mill construction, are eloquently expressed in this building. Built in several stages, beginning with S. Frank Peter's 1895 design for the original eastern section, and then added to over the years (1899 to 1911) with complementary sections designed by J.H.G. Russell, the building also illustrates in its great size, as it stretches down Bannatyne Avenue, the enlargements that often attended these operations, as business expanded rapidly in the early 1900s. The building, which still boldly bears his name in two-metre-high letters, was the product of hardware dealer James Henry Ashdown (1844-1924), whose retail empire ultimately stretched across Western Canada and made him one of Winnipeg's early millionaires. The Ashdown Warehouse retains its visual connection to the Ashdown Store, a block further west at Main and Bannatyne, which was the company's important local retail outlet.

Design Characteristics

Style:Richardsonian Romanesque
  • Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ashdown Warehouse site include:
  • - its location at the northwest corner of Bannatyne Avenue and Rorie Street, adjacent to a former railway spur line right-of-way along its north side
  • - physical and visual connections to other warehouses along the north side of Bannatyne Avenue, creating a nearly seamless wall of brick, and also to the Ashdown Store which is visible on the west side of Main Street a block away
  •  
  • Key elements that define the complex's original use by J.H. Ashdown include:
  • - signage that extends almost the entire length of the Bannatyne face reading: 'THE J.H. ASHDOWN HARDWARE COMPANY LIMITED.'
  •  
  • Key elements that define the Richardsonian Romanesque style and mill construction methods as applied to the Ashdown Warehouse include:
  • - the massive rectangular form of the structure's largest (eastern) section, with the high basement clad in rusticated stone and walls of solid brick minimally ornamented by rusticated stone sills, lintels and belt courses, brick voussoirs and belt courses, arcaded brickwork along the cornice, etc.
  • - the multiple, rhythmically grouped windows on all exposed elevations, including the three-storey arched bays encompassing straight-topped and round-arched openings on the Bannatyne and Rorie facades
  • - numerous loading facilities, including an interior driveway on the south face and large elevated delivery openings on the east and north sides
  • - the complementary, but distinctive, front of the 1899 building at the west end of the complex, including a large round-arched window in the middle bay of the fourth floor, decorative brick panels, mouldings and cornice, etc.
  • - the heavy interior timber framing (beams and posts) and exterior brick walls left exposed in what are now residential suites

Links & Related Buildings