Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

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Malcom Construction

Biography

The long-established firm of Malcom Construction began as Malcom Brothers – a contracting enterprise founded in 1900 by brothers David, John and William Malcom. In the 1880s, the three – in partnership with their two other brothers – had previously opened a brickyard in Owen Sound, Ontario, before moving to Winnipeg in 1892 to work as masons and bricklayers. Early notable projects included Augustine United Church (444 River Avenue, 1902), a Gothic revival edifice constructed of Tyndall stone with extensive decorative embellishment. The building was designed by architect J. H. G. Russell (1863-1946) with whom the brothers would work frequently. During this era the firm was also responsible for the Richardsonian Romanesque brick Bole Drug Company Building (70 Princess Street, 1903), which originally featured an innovative system of "speaking tubes" for interdepartmental communication; the Winnipeg Lodging and Coffee House, 175-81 Logan Avenue, 1905 (demolished); All People’s Sutherland Mission (119 Sutherland Avenue, 1908), again by Russell; Augustine Presbyterian School (Pulford Street, 1909); the heavy, red brick with limestone Fort Rouge Methodist Church (525 Wardlaw Avenue, 1910); the addition to the R.J. Whitla and Company Building (70 Arthur Street, 1911; with Russell); the Edward Brown House (Wellington Crescent, 1912; demolished) and the Wilson House (Wellington Crescent, 1924). Many of these projects involved a substantial reliance on masonry, often of a highly intricate sort. This pattern appeared in the firm’s addition to Wesley College (515 Portage Avenue, 1912), later named Sparling Hall, which was likewise designed by Russell and wherein a skilful use of brick decoration is highly apparent. A similar but decorative use of brick is found in the firm’s work on the two-storey Dawson Richardson Building (171 McDermot Avenue, 1921), designed by Charles S. Bridgman (1875-1965).

In 1908, William Malcom departed from Winnipeg to return to Owen Sound. Ten years later – when the Malcom Construction Company Limited was incorporated – brother David was the principal executive. Subsequent to his 1935 passing, Malcom Construction was run by his son, Wilbert Guy (Bert) Malcom (1895-1980) until 1974. Maintaining such family connections, the company was owned and managed by Wilbert’s son David into the 1990s. By that later point, Malcom was the oldest family-owned construction firm in Manitoba and was responsible for structures across Manitoba, northwestern Ontario and Western Canada, with a speciality in commercial and office buildings. Beyond their Winnipeg branch, for many years the firm operated a busy office in Thompson, Manitoba. David Malcom was highly involved with the Winnipeg Construction Association and was made an honorary life member of this organization which honoured him, as well, with a chamber given the name Malcom Room. Malcom also was the recipient of the Robert Stollery Award for outstanding achievement as an individual by Canadian Construction Association. Amongst the many projects the firm completed in the years following the era of its founding partners are fourteen two-storey, dual-purpose row-house residences at Royal Canadian Air Force Station Winnipeg in 1955; the high modernist Purves Motors Volkswagen Headquarters (136 Lombard Avenue, 1956), by architects Libling Michener; the International Style Mutual Life of Canada offices (1111 Portage Avenue, 1959) , designed by Green Blankstein Russell; and the Seven Oaks Centre for Youth (1983).

Projects

  • Bole Drug Company Building, 70 Princess Street, 1903
  • Winnipeg Lodging and Coffee House, 175-81 Logan Avenue, 1905 (demolished)
  • Augustine Presbyterian School, Royal Street (now Pulford Street), 1909
  • Fort Rouge Methodist Church, 525 Wardlaw Avenue, 1910
  • R.J. Whitla and Company Building, 70 Arthur Street, large addition, 1911
  • Edward Brown House, Wellington Crescent, 1912 (demolished)
  • Wesley College (University of Winnipeg), 515 Portage Avenue, large addition, 1912
  • Dawson Richardson Building, 171 McDermot Avenue, 1921
  • R.R. Wilson House, Wellington Crescent, 1924
  • 133 Market Avenue, 1946
  • Inkster School, 633 Inkster Boulevard, 1947
  • 200 Osborne Street North, 1947-1948
  • 210 Osborne Street North, 1952
  • Purves Motors Volkswagen Headquarters, 136 Lombard Avenue, 1956
  • 412 Portage Avenue, 1958
  • North America Life, 219 Kennedy Street, 1959
  • Mutual Life of Canada Building, 1111 Portage Avenue, 1959
  • Peguis Pavilion, Kildonan Park, 2015 Main Street, 1964-65
  • The Garrick, 330 Garry Street, 1967
  • 279 Garry Street, 1972
  • Seven Oaks Centre for Youth, 1983

Sources

  • “Jack St. John Opens Fully Modern Drug Store: New Premises Located at Sargent Ave. and Lipton St.” Winnipeg Free Press. 31 August 1940.
  • “Stevenson Field Has Everything —Even A Beauty Parlor.” Winnipeg Free Press. 25 May 1955.
  • “Advertisement.” Winnipeg Free Press. 14 September 1959.
  • “Tender.” Winnipeg Free Press. 29 January 1983.
  • “Obituary: David Malcom.” Winnipeg Free Press. 25 November 1999.
  • “444 River Avenue: Augustine United (Presbyterian) Church.” Winnipeg: City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, 2007.
  • Monahan, John. Manitoba Business. 1 March 1995.