Born in 1918, Walter L. Katelnikoff received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Manitoba in 1944. Following graduation, he worked for one year in the offices of Moody and Moore, and then joined fellow architect Ernie Smith in an apprentice position with the firm Northwood and Chivers. In 1947, Katelnikoff joined with fellow University of Manitoba graduates Ernie Smith and Dennis Carter to form the firm of Smith Carter Katelnikoff; here Katelnikoff completed the final six months of his architectural certification program, registering as an architect on November 6, 1947.
As a new practice of young men, Smith Carter Katelnikoff began with modest commissions, but quickly moved to take advantage of the post-war boom in construction. As early as 1951, Katelnikoff was the partner in charge of construction of Varennes School for the St. Vital School Division. Due to the demand for services for Winnipeg’s expanding population, schools were an important part of Katelnikoff’s practice. In the 1950s, Smith Carter Katelnikoff also designed Glenlawn Collegiate, Norwood Collegiate Institute (now Nelson MacIntyre Collegiate), Ecole Marion and Silver Heights Junior High. This intense activity led the trio of architects to take on a fourth partner, E. Fitz Munn, in 1954, who stayed with the firm until 1956.
Katelnikoff left the practice in 1958 and established his own office with associates John Stuart Allison and James P. Lewis. The practice, Walter L. Katelnikoff and Associates, was located at 412 Rue Des Meurons in St. Boniface throughout the 1960s. Lewis was a university contemporary of Katelnikoff, Smith and Carter but service overseas during the Second World War had delayed his education. John Stuart Allison left Katelnikoff and Associates in the late 1950s, while the remaining partners moved their offices to 130 Scott Street. In 1965, Lewis also left (to teach as a member of the faculty of the School of Architecture). Katelnikoff remained in practice, working on such projects as the Transcona Public Safety Building (730 Pandora Avenue West) in 1968. Not long before his death, in 1974, Katelnikoff entered into an association with architect Mel Craven, at Katelnikoff’s Scott Street office. Notably, Walter Katelnikoff lived at 762 South Drive – he was one of several architects living on that street at that time. Others included Roy Sellors, Allan Waisman, Dennis Carter and John Russell.