Historic Sites of Manitoba: Eaton’s Printing Plant and Warehouse (130 Galt Avenue, Winnipeg)
This two-storey brick and stone building in Winnipeg occupies an entire block bounded by Lily Street on the west, Galt Avenue on the north, Alexander Avenue on the south, and Waterfront Drive on the east. Designed by local architect John Woodman, it was built for the T. Eaton Company in two stages, the easternmost part between April and September 1926 by John Gunn and Sons, and the remainder between June and November 1927 by Claydon Brothers Company. The older portion housed a printing plant while a track warehouse occupied the newer part. It houses 278,709 square metres of interior space.
The entire building rests on a raised concrete foundation and structural support system of reinforced concrete. Its design used the Turner four-way flat-plate slab and mushroom column system or “Spiral Mushroom System”. It was developed in 1909 and originally patented in 1911 by Claude Allen Porter Turner (1869-1955), bridge engineer and reinforced concrete pioneer. The system made for extremely thin floors which reduced the amount of concrete needed, made mechanical and electrical installations easier because of the lack of beams and joists, and reduced construction time and therefore labour costs because formwork for the beams was unnecessary. The building is topped with an interrupted band of limestone followed by the polychromatic solid brick walls of the superstructure rising above them. It is an early local example of the Art Deco Style, popular in North America from the late 1920s to the 1940s, which emphasized smooth façades, hard edges and low-relief ornamentation, often a series of repeating geometric forms around windows, doors and along the roofline.
The building was owned by Eaton's until 1969 when it was sold to J. K. May Investments Limited (Scott-Bathgate Limited). Other tenant have included Pennings Engraving (1970), Speers McGonigal Limited (1970), Cambrian Clothing Company (1970-2000), and W. H. Escott Company, grocery brokers (1990-present). Both Scott-Bathgate and tenant, W. H. Escott Company use the facility for manufacturing, warehousing and shipping, and the building continues to function much as it has since its construction.
The building appears to be in good structural condition for its age. It has seen some alteration, with basement windows filled in with concrete blocks on the east and south sides, and covered loading docks are on the north side. With many of the windows and doors still intact, the building looks very much like it did originally.
Photos & Coordinates
T. Eaton Company Printing Plant & Track Warehouse, City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings & Resources Committee, March 2017.
We thank Murray Peterson for providing information used here.
Page revised: 18 November 2020