Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Frost and Wood Warehouse at 230 Princess Street

Written by Laura McKay, on behalf of Heritage Winnipeg Corp.
Thank you to Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess, for her assistance with photos for this article.
To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.



The warehouse at 230 Princess Street. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report.
The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in western Canada, brought with it a boom in Winnipeg real estate. Land prices and the city's population grew rapidly, and solid brick structures began to replace the small wooden shacks that had been the norm. The city also began to divide itself into sectors - residential, commercial, and industrial - as the landscape changed. 

The view of McDermot Avenue facing west from Main Street ca. 1881. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba, N19876.
The railway brought with it commercial interests, both local and from Eastern Canada - within a very short time, Winnipeg took on the role of the wholesale hub for all of Western Canada. Companies such as R.J. Whitla, Stobart, Eden, and Company, George D. Wood, and J.H. Ashdown were all established in the city prior to the CPR boom.

The same view of McDermot Avenue ca. 1902. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba.
As the centre of commerce for Western Canada and one of the fastest growing urban centres in North America, Winnipeg experienced a period of unchecked growth from 1900-1914. Princess Street was one of the area's most important thoroughfares, and in 1906, that was the location chosen for the construction of the Frost and Wood Warehouse.

The Frost and Wood Company

Original Winnipeg home of Frost and Wood at 164 Princess Street ca. 1905. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the M. Peterson Collection.
Frost and Wood Company Ltd. was a farm implement dealer founded in Smith Falls (60km southwest of Ottawa) in May 1846 by Ebenezer Frost and Alexander Wood. The company grew steadily and expanded across the country, becoming incorporated in 1899. When it came to Winnipeg in 1890, it found a home in the Grain Exchange Building at 164 Princess Street. However, they quickly outgrew this location and built a new warehouse at 230 Princess Street in 1906. 

Warehouse Design

 
Construction of the Frost and Wood WArehouse, ca. 1906. The Cockshutt Plow Company Building is in the background. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and reproduced from the Manitoba Free Press, December 6, 1906 p. 36.

The warehouse was designed by architect J.H. Cadham in the Romanesque Revival style that was popular in North American warehouse districts around the turn of the 20th century. The style makes use of strong, rough textures, its massiveness, the flatness of the elevations, the rhythmic placement of the windows, and the use of the rounded arch. The solid appearance of these buildings made it the style of choice for warehouse districts wanting to portray stability and strength. 

The Peck Building at 33 Princes Street, built in 1893. Photo taken in 2000. Image courtesy of City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the City of Winnipeg.
Winnipeg's Exchange District has a large number of buildings in this style, including the Peck Building (33 Princess Street), which was built in 1893-1894, and the Kelly Block (181 Bannatyne Avenue), which was built in 1904. 

The Kelly Block at 181 Bannatyne Avenue, built in 1904. Photo taken in 2000. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and the City of Winnipeg.
The warehouse at 230 Princess is constructed of solid brick walls with stone accenting and rests on a rubblestone foundation. Large wooden beams and posts throughout provide internal support and the floors are made of vertically-laid planking, making this an extremely sturdy structure. In overall design, it is very similar to the buildings at 250 McDermot and 296 McDermot, which were both designed and constructed by the same architect prior to 1900.

The building has two unusual features for the style: the roof, which was designed with peaks and valleys, rather than the normal flat design, and the windows of the south facade on the second to fourth floors have unusually shaped wooden heads with an arched area above that was bricked in with no set pattern to the bricklaying. The windows on the exterior display no such arching. 

The unusual brickwork on the interior of a window. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and Murray Peterson.
The Cockshutt Plow Company of Brantford, ON was a next-door neighbour for the company on Princess Street and in 1909, acquired an interest in the Frost and Wood Company. They would ultimately take it over, although the Frost and Wood Company was still listed as the owner of the building on Princess into the 1940s. By the late 1930s, the new company was selling machinery around the world. 

Cockshutt Plow Company Warehouse, 238 Princess Street. Built in 1902-3, it was designed by S.F. Peters and was given three upper floors in 1906. Image courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report and reproduced from the Manitoba Free Press, December 6, 1906 p. 49.
Frost and Wood was no longer listed in the city directories by the First World War. Tenants of the Princess Street building included the Empire Cream Separator Company of Canada as well as the Goold Shapley and Muir Company (gas and gasoline engines). 

Vault door that remains in the main lobby of the building. Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.
Over the next six decades, owners of the building would include the Manitoba Co-operative Wholesale Limited (1945-55), Federated Co-operatives Limited (1956-59), and Eatern Smallware and Stationary Limited (1969-76). Tenants during this time also included Boultons Storage, City Dray Company, and Crown Cork and Seal Company (all 1936), Canada Cycle and Motor (1943) and 20th Century Head Wear Limited (1970). 

Clean out door for a heating shaft, dated to 1898, that remains in the building. Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.
Williams Restaurant Supply Limited purchased and occupied the building in 1979. The firm would later become Williams-Cassidy's Restaurant Supply in 1990, in a merge with Toronto-based Cassidy's Limited, the third oldest company in Canada at the time. However, in early 2000, the company was placed into receivership and its assets were liquidated. The Winnipeg store's stock was sold and 34 employees lost their jobs, leaving the building vacant. 

Conversion to the Edge

Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

In the late 2000s, Mark Hofer purchased the property to be redeveloped into apartments now known as The Edge on Princess. News articles about the redevelopment list the cost as approximately $4 million. A showroom/commercial space remained on the main floor.

Loft door that remains in the building. Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

News from the Conversion:

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE A New York state of mind (Winnipeg Free Press)
Housing break for students? (Winnipeg Free Press)
Core eyesore gets new life (Winnipeg Free Press)
More rental units added to apartment plan (Winnipeg Free Press)


Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

Image courtesy of Sabrina Treyturik, Leasing Agent for The Edge on Princess.

Sources & Links

 Like what you see?


To receive email updates from the blog, 



Spread the word - Don't forget to like and share using the icons below!

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating post and wonderful photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete