Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Hydro Showroom (55 Princess Street, Winnipeg)
This Winnipeg building, backing onto the King Sub-Station No. 1 on King Street, was commissioned in 1919 by the municipal City Light & Power Department and designed by local architectural firm of James Chisholm & Son. It was built by the firm of Thomas Kelly & Sons with subtrades including the Dominion Bridge Company Limited (structural steel), R. Y. Kilbert & Co (terra cotta), Truss Concrete Steel Company of Canada Limited (steel sashes), Hooper’s Marble & Granite Company Limited (marble and tile), Acme Sash & Door Company (interior woodwork), Taylor Painting & Decorating Company (painting, glass), and the Canadian Steel Metal Roofing Company (roofing & sheet metal). Intended to be ready by spring 1920, occupation was delayed until the fall. The ground floor, comprising around 6,600 square feet, featured showcases for an array of electrical appliances and wall trimmings finished in oak. The second floor was used for general office space. The building was completed at a cost of around $100,000.
The facade was unveiled publicly on 16 July 1920 and the showroom opened to the public in mid-August. The facility was opened officially with a public reception and gala on 5 October 1920, attended by Mayor Charles F. Gray, Winnipeg Hydro Electric Company Manager John G. Glassco, city councilors, and hydro officials.
The building was occupied by Winnipeg Hydro into the late 1950s and later by the Signals Branch of the City into the late 1970s. It became a municipally-designated historic building in 2019.
“[Photo caption] City Light builds new show rooms,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 February 1920, page 2.
“Employes [sic] of Light Dept. in new offices,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 July 1920, page 5.
“I saw it in the Tribune [The wooden protection across],” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 July 1920, page 6.
“Now open,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 August 1920, page 8.
“Speakers name Winnipeg of electric world,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 October 1920, page 5.
“You are invited to attend a public reception,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 October 1920, page 8.
“Nearly 50-fold increase in appliance business a reason for new $100,000 show room,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 October 1920, page 27.
Winnipeg Hydro Show Room (55 Princess Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, 2004.
Page revised: 13 January 2020
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