Ashdown Hall, University of Winnipeg

Address:515 Portage Avenue
Architects:Green Blankstein Russell and Associates
Engineers:Pearson Construction Company
Tours:Part of the QR Code Tour

More Information

Ashdown Hall is named for the Ashdown family, who for several generations maintained a strong connection to United College and later the University of Winnipeg. J. H. Ashdown was chairman of the board of Wesley College from 1907 to 1924. Son H. C. Ashdown was also a long-time board member and in 1950 laid the cornerstone for Ashdown Hall. The familial relationship with the institution continued into the next generation with grandson Judge Philip Ashdown studying at United College and his children attending the University of Winnipeg. In 1999, Judge Ashdown made a significant donation to the University’s library, specifically to support and extend the Ashdown Collection of Canadiana.

Ashdown Hall was constructed as part of the expansion of the former United College, in the years directly preceding the incorporation of the University of Winnipeg. Green Blankstein and Russell designed a structure built of masonry block and faced with brick. The building contained classrooms and offices for the College’s growing student and faculty population. The structure has been largely obscured by the construction of Centennial Hall. Centennial Hall does not physically touch Ashdown Hall but rather piggybacks over it, obscuring Ashdown from view. The best view of the structure is from Balmoral Street.

Design Characteristics

  • Cost of Construction: $1,018,000
  • 3-storey building constructed of pre-cast concrete blocks, faced with buff-coloured brick.
  • Sited below Centennial Hall


  • "Ashdown Family's Support for U of W Carries On." Demonstrating Excellence Newsletter, University of Winnipeg (Fall 1999).
  • "Sod Turned at United." Winnipeg Tribune. 12 September 1958.
  • "United College Opens New Building This Weekend." Winnipeg Free Press, 2 December 1959.
  • Canadian Underwriters' Association, Plan Division, Insurance Plan of the City of Winnipeg, V. I. (Toronto: the authors, December 1944, partially revised 1963 and 1973) Plate #113.
  • University of Winnipeg Archives, VI. All Colleges #26 -- United College and University of Winnipeg -- Annual Reports 1960-1981, AC-26-2. The Principal's Report 1959-1960. 8 , 16. [note was made to the advantages provided by the addition of Ashdown and Manitoba Halls to the campus. Final costs of the project (with furniture) were reported in The Principal's Report 1960-61. 2.]
  • University of Winnipeg Archives, VI. All Colleges #33 -- Board of Regents Minutes and Memos 1955-1959, AC-33-2. [The following minutes from regular and special meetings cover key decision points in the Manitoba and Ashdown Hall projects (including plan approval and consideration of construction tenders): Minutes of the Board of Regents, February 24, July 2, August 20 and September 22, 1958.]
  • University of Winnipeg Archives, VI. All Colleges #33 -- Board of Regents Minutes, Memos and Correspondence 1932-1965, AC-33-3, File #1 for the period 1960-1962. [The final costs of Manitoba and Ashdown halls were reported in: Minutes of the Board of Regents, February 22, 1960.]