Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

Places

Buildings

323-329 Portage Avenue

Formerly:Dayton Building
Address:323-329 Portage Avenue
Original Use:Mixed commercial
Constructed:1955
Other Work:1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, Interior alterations
Architects:Green Blankstein Russell
Contractors:Claydon Company Limited

More Information

The Dayton Building was among the earliest curtain wall structures in Winnipeg, demonstrating a notably modern trend in architectural design. Over its life the building has housed a variety of small commercial tenants as well as bar and restaurant occupants.

The building original held Dayton's, a clothing store which gave it's name to the building. The building featured a steel frame which held the glass panels. The glass was tinted green to contrast with the surround Tyndall stone and brick buildings. Another feature of the glass was that it was insulated to protect the building from Winnipeg's harsh winters. The interior of the building was designed with tick floor tiles and ceiling tiles to reduce noise, soft bulbs to light the store, and a platform five feet off the ground for maintenance men to access the pipes, wires, and phone lines. Eventually a mezzanine level was constructed to maximize space for the store.

The top two floors were leased out as office space while the basement of the Dayton building held David Pollock's Holiday Restaurant. The restaurant included a dining room, coffee counter, and tea room. The entrances to the Holiday Restaurant were located within the clothing store and another separate entrance off Portage Avenue. Although the restaurant was located in the basement of a clothing store and office, the atmosphere was light and inviting. The restaurant was decorated with bright red upholstery, walnut tables, white drapes, and travel posters along the walls in keeping with the holiday theme.

In 1973 a fire from the neighbouring building left the Dayton building with minimal water and smoke damage. Unfortunately in 1976 another disaster would hit. A car, swerving to miss another, collided with the glass building. In order to sell off the damaged merchandise Dayton's had a "Drive-Thru Sale".

1984 marks the beginning of the Dayton building's life as a nightclub and in 2007 the club underwent a large $2 million renovation. By 2010, with the opening of the MTS Centre, the building then became a sports bar. Currently the building is opened as a twenty-four hour gym.

Design Characteristics

Style:Modernism
  • Plan area: 10,586 square feet (983.44 square metres)
  • Gross floor area: 53,066 square feet (4,929.83 square metres)
  • Curtain wall
  • Original sales floor over twenty feet high
  • Initially contained restaurant in the basement
  • Tinted green glass was used to contrast the Tyndall stone and brick buildings in the area
  • The glass used for the curtain wall was insulated to protect from the cold winter season
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Sources

  • Great Winnipeg Industrial Topics 15 3 (April 1955). 4.
  • University of Manitoba, Microfilm #32, file on "Construction 1937-1962.", "Here's what's happening in Winnipeg - Gateway to the West," Winnipeg Tribune, Construction Supplement, June 18, 1955 and "Winnipeg Area Leads Nation - '55 Accomplishments." Winnipeg Tribune. 31 December 1955.
  • University of Manitoba, Microfilm #42, file on "Daytons 1955."
  • "Winnipeg Building." Western Construction and Building, 7, 3 (March 1955), pp. 4, 7.
  • "Work in Progress - Millon Dollar Office Building," Western Construction and Building 7 6 (June 1955): 16, 18.
  • Winnipeg Core Area Initiative, Final Status Report: Program Activities to September 30, 1987 under the 1981-1986 Core Area Agreement.
  • Winnipeg Downtown Place, Christian Cassidy
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Locations of Supporting Information

  • City of Winnipeg Archives