Historic Sites of Manitoba: Great West Life Building / Chamber of Commerce Building (177 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg)

Constructed by local builder C. W. Sharp between 1909 and 1911, this building on Lombard Avenue in Winnipeg was designed by one of Manitoba’s foremost architects, J. D. Atchison, who had trained and practiced in Chicago. Built as the Great West Life Assurance Company’s first permanent headquarters, its construction materials were principally of Canadian origin. The neo-classical façade is of Kootenay marble from British Columbia, a quality material rarely used for prairie office buildings. Originally raised as a four-storey structure with provisions for an additional ten floors, only four storeys were added in 1922-1923. Incorporated in 1891, Great West Life was for many years the only Winnipeg-based life insurance company, and was symbolic of Manitoba’s growing importance in Canadian affairs. As one of the nation’s leading life insurance firms, the company moved to larger new quarters in 1959. A plaque is mounted on the southwest corner of the building.

Great West Life Building

Great West Life Building (September 2015)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Great West Life Building

Great West Life Building (February 2021)
Source: George Penner

Great West Life Building commemorative plaque

Great West Life Building commemorative plaque (2009)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89638, W97.13775
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Great West Life Building Annex (185 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Provincially Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Manitoba Business: Great-West Life Assurance Company


Great West Life Building (177 Lombard Avenue), Manitoba Historic Resources Branch

Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 2 June 2022

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