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Saturday, 8 January 2011

A look back at 925 Logan Avenue

925 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg
The century-old former Ontario Wind Engine and Pump building at 925 Logan has an appointment with the wrecker's ball this weekend. (Note that the Arlington Bridge and a couple of lanes of Logan will be closed).

When I first saw the fence and read OMC's post I thought perhaps it wasn't a full demolition. After all, it's still listed as for lease (only two units left !) at DTZ Barnicke. A couple of companies, including Minhas Creek - which has trucks coming and going to the site as of this afternoon - and Ducharme Design, still list it as their address. There's also no sign of a demo permit in the City Hall information database.

925 Logan and Arlington
It appears that it is a full demolition and that's too bad. It's a handsome building. In many cities it could be looked upon as a gem but here, with our embarrassment of great architecture, it's completely disposable.

For what it's worth, here's a look back at 925 Logan Avenue.

Above: June 22 1904, Manitoba Free Press

Above: July 13, 1905. L'echo du Manitoba
Logan Avenue Area, Winnipeg
The Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Co. had a presence in the Logan neighbourhood since 1904. That's when they built their first warehouse on Chambers Street, the sign is still visible. When they decided to expand in 1910 they went just a block east to Logan Avenue and Arlington Street.

925 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg

George A Miller of Toronto and contractor Alex Johnson built a $100,000, five-storey Twin City brick and Tyndall stone warehouse for the company. The footprint of the building itself was 100 feet wide by 70 feet deep but a row of metal engine sheds stretching to Trinity street and a CPR spur line gave it an original frontage of over 300 feet.

In October 1911 the building opened with room to spare. On the main floor there was a Bank of Toronto branch and the excess warehouse and office space was leased to companies like Maytag Appliance and the Minnesota Steel and Machinery Company.

March 2, 1917, Winnipeg Free Press

During World War I, the Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Co. converted their entire manufacturing base to munitions production, making the Winnipeg warehouse unnecessary. A fire at their main (shell making) plant in Ontario and other financial difficulties punished the company and they began to sell off assets, including the Winnipeg property.

Winnipeg Free Press July 4, 1922

The company survived the war but as a fraction of what it once was. Gone was the engine division. It was back to its roots selling pumps and windmills (source). The Winnipeg property finally sold in 1922 to Winnipeg Hydro for $90,000 to be used as a warehouse.

Jan 23, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

A few decades later, 925 Logan becomes the new headquarters for the American Electrical and Heating Equipment Supply Company, they called it the American Electrical Building.

In 1980 it was up for sale again, asking price $650,000. In 1981 Charles Golfman, founder and owner of Regal Furniture Manufacturing Ltd. moved in. Like Ontario Wind, Regal had already been part of the neighbourhood for a decade before expanding to 925 Logan.

June 6, 1990 Winnipeg Free Press

Regal Furniture specialized in upholstered furniture: hide-a-beds, sofas, armchairs. Hotel chains and Eatons were major customers.

In 2001 a fire caused $200,000 damage to the building and the company lost $500,000 worth of stock. It was being warehoused awaiting shipment to a major hotel chain.

Golfman sold Regal in 2004 to Buhler Furniture and soon after operations wound down at that location.

From then until 2010 it was home to a numerous office and warehouse tenants.

The last gasp of a dying corner ? One Man Committee
More photos of 925 Logan

Brewery may rise after run down landmark falls Free Press

Update 2:

Photos from Saturday (for more go here)

925 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg
925 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg
925 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg


One Man Committee said...

Excellent research, Mr. C. Thanks for posting those details about this building.

There's an article in the Free Press today referring to how Minhas Creek might one day open a brewery on that site. That'll happen the day Minhas Creek beer wins a gold medal.

This incident does expose a certain weakness in laws related to heritage buildings, though. Heritage designation is supposed to apply to buildings that have some significance to them. This building doesn't have any great significance that I'm aware of - it's basically an old warehouse. But losing it will still be to the great detriment of its surroundings. It might be time to consider expanding the definition of "heritage" to protect buildings like this from being demolished willy-nilly.

Christian Cassidy said...

What really disappointed me was that nobody even an attempt to look into it before grating a permit. Heritage Winnipeg and the city historic buildings people couldn't figure out when it was built ? Please. This post was done in an evening.

In one of the 2007 photos on my flickr page it said "built 1910-11". At the very least a few minutes of googling could have got them the date.

It would be great if Minhas opened something there but right now they don't even brew beer - they just market a beer made for someone else. Sort of like a car dealership saying one day we hope to build our own cars ! Yes, it's possible but don't try to spin that into a positive why the building is being torn down !

John Dobbin said...

I'm surprised at the demolition. Did anyone see this on the books?

Another temporary parking lot. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

My father worked at the building on King str in Toronto from 1923 - 1933 , when he was laid off due to the depression. i am looking for any paper during this time that anyone is willing to sell.