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Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 143 years

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Robinson, Little and Company Building / Silpit Building (54 Arthur Street, Winnipeg)

This six-storey building on Arthur Street was constructed between 1903 and 1904 on a design by Winnipeg architect James Henry Cadham. Situated next to the Whitla Building, the original owner was the wholedale dry goods firm of Greenshields Western Merchants but it was soon sold to Robinson, Little and Company.

The company, founded at London, Ontario in 1875, moved its headquarters to Winnipeg in the early 20th century and began opening small department stores throughout western Canada. The company operated over 180 “Robinson Stores” until forced into bankruptcy in 1985, and used the building until the 1960s when the Silpit Industries Company that had occupied the Whitla Building now expanded into this space.

The entire complex of two buildings is sometimes known as the Silpit Building. It is a municipally-designated historic site.

The Robinson, Little and Company Building, as well as the Whitla Building beside it, can be seen at left in this view of Arthur Street

The Robinson, Little and Company Building, as well as the Whitla Building beside it, can be seen at left in this view of Arthur Street (circa 1912)
Source: Giles Bugailiskis

Robinson Little Building

Robinson Little Building (September 2015)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89607, W97.14179
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: James Henry Cadham (1850-1907)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: R. J. Whitla and Company Building (70 Arthur Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Greetings from Winnipeg: Views of a Changing City by Gordon Goldsborough, Russ Gourluck, Rob McInnes, Giles Bugailiskis and Randy Rostecki
Manitoba History, Number 55, June 2007


Robinson, Little and Company Building, 54 Arthur Street, City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, May 2007.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 12 January 2022

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