Winnipeg Architecture Foundation



Rubin Block

Address:270 Morley Avenue
Architects:Max Zev Blankstein

More Information

This three-storey mixed use building was designed by Max Zev Blankstein for Reuben Cohen (1865 - 1955).

Cohen had arrived in Winnipeg from London with his wife, Jessie, and brothers, Abe and Solomon, in 1906. Along with his brothers, Reuben Cohen helped create the Hebrew Sick Benefit Society, in October 1906. A hall was established for the organization (see 239 Selkirk Avenue), which would be renovated by Max Blankstein. Cohen's other works include establishing Mount Carmel Clinic (also designed by Max Blankstein) and the Hebrew Free Loan Society.

After developing homes in Crescentwood/Fort Rouge, Cohen hired Max Blankstein to develop an apartment block on Morley Avenue. Although the Henderson Directory lists Rubin Block in 1915, it is likely that it was not completed until later that year.

Tenants include Merchants Bank, a barber, and a tailor. Despite having the inscription "Merchant's Bank of Canada" above the north-west door, the bank was not an original tenant. Owners of the building included Timco Investments Company (1915-1925), J. A. Forlong (1925-1931), Lonsdale Investment Limited (1933-1943), H. Sokolov and M. Wolinsky (1944), and Samuel Werier (1947-1948)

The building has been vacant following fires in 2007 and 2014. In 2019 Rubin Block was added to National Trust of Canada's Top 10 Endangered Places List.

Design Characteristics

Developer:Rueben Cohen
  • Rubin Block has two separate but distinctive facades: A commercial facade facing onto Osborn Street, and a residential facade facing onto Morley Avenue.
  • The Morley Avenue side featured Juliette balconies that have since been removed.
  • The eastern and western portions of the building appear to be built at different grades, likely to accommodate the storefront.
  • The top two levels of the building utilize a different colour of red brick than the lower levels.
  • Characteristic of the era, dentilled eaves are used.
  • The Osborne Street facade has four separate entrances: three commercial and one residential .
  • Each storefront entrance is different, including an ornate carved stone doorway, a recessed glass storefront, and a storefront using a third colour of brick built within the greater facade.
  • Curiously, there is no apartment number 13, only 12 and 12 1/2

Links & Related Buildings