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

This warehouse on Arthur Street, designed by architect James Henry Cadham, was the third built by Robert Jones Whitla for his expanding dry goods business, in 1899. Two storeys were added to the original five in 1904. With its clear and simple geometric lines, the structure is Richardsonian-Romanesque in style.

Some employees of the company who were killed during service in the First World War were commemorated at a 61st Battalion concert held at the Walker Theatre on 13-14 December 1915, in a 101st Battalion souvenir program dedicated to Colonel Henry Norlande Ruttan on 24 April 1916, or in a 144th Battalion military vaudeville held at the Winnipeg Theatre on 9-11 March 1916.

The entire complex of this building and the adjacent Robinson, Little and Company Building is sometimes known as the Silpit Building. A plaque is mounted on the northeast corner of the building, which is a municipally-designated historic site.

Whitla Building

Whitla Building (circa 1903)
Source: An Illustrated Souvenir of Winnipeg, William A. Martel & Sons, 1903.

Whitla Building

Whitla Building (September 2015)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Whitla Building commemorative plaque

Whitla Building commemorative plaque (2009)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89721, W97.14123
denoted by symbol on the map above

First World War Casualties





Birth Date

Death Date

George Clarence Fargey
[Next of Kin, St. Matthews Anglican]


8th Battalion, Canadian Infantry


30 September 1887

10 November 1917

William Clark Gibb
[Next of Kin]

Dry Goodsman

43rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry


4 June 1888

28 September 1918

William Gill
[St. Matthews Anglican]

Technical Chemist

44th Battalion, Canadian Infantry


6 July 1888

23 August 1917

Thomas William Norris


8th Battalion, Canadian Infantry


26 March 1877

25 April 1915

Albert Edward Wilson
[St. Matthews Anglican]

Dry Goods Clerk

43rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry


26 July 1879

28 August 1918

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: James Henry Cadham (1850-1907)

Memorable Manitobans: Robert Jones Whitla (1846-1905)

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

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites


R. J. Whitla and Company Building (70 Arthur Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, May 2007.

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 Darryl Resch and Darryl Toews for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 March 2024

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