165 McDermot Avenue

Address:165 McDermot Avenue
Original Use:Factory and warehouse
Other Work:Renovated for condos, 2016, by 5468796 Architecture
Colin Neufeld
Tours:Part of the QR Code Tour

More Information

The Galpern (Porter) Building, a six-storey steel, brick and stone structure built in 1906, stands at the east end of a group of historic warehouses on McDermot Avenue in Winnipeg's Exchange District. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

The Galpern (Porter) Building, a handsome Chicago School warehouse with modest classical detailing, is a major component of a continuous row of brick buildings from the 1881-1921 period in downtown Winnipeg. The structure, designed by J.H.G. Russell, also is an important example of the aesthetic transition that occurred in the city's warehouse district in the early 1900s from Romanesque-influenced styles to a more restrained commercial architecture. Built for James Porter and Co., a crockery and china wholesaler, this functional facility, with its showroom, office, storage and service areas, has adapted well to subsequent uses, including as the L. Galpern Candy Co.'s factory. Through its tall profile, rich materials and classical composition, the building forms a striking visual anchor at one corner of a significant streetscape in the Exchange District National Historic Site. (Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, June 24, 1985)

Porter and Company sold a variety of products through their business, which are listed on the west side of the building, including the words Crockery, China, Glassware, Lamps, Silverware and Cutlery.

Left vacant and deteriorating for a decade, it was acquired by Alston Properties Ltd. and carefully retrofitted as a residential conversion under the leadership of Bryce Alston. The interior was divided into more than thirty apartments and four townhouses with a rooftop deck, and was fully occupied by new residents in 2018.

Design Characteristics

  • The building's full occupancy of its deep lot at northwest McDermot Avenue and Rorie Street, maintaining a continuous built edge at the terminus of a group of historic structures to its west
  • The building's physical and visual relationships to other designated commercial sites, including the Customs Examining Warehouse and Grain Exchange Building on opposite corners of Rorie.
  • Its deep rectangular form and six-storey height, with a stone and brick foundation, solid brick walls around a steel frame, and a flat roof
  • The dignified and generally flat front (south) and east elevations, clad in brown brick with light stone detailing
  • The symmetrical front with smooth ashlar on the main floor (wrapped around to two east-side bays), a brick mid-section and a distinct attic level crowned by a dentilled and modillioned metal cornice, etc.
  • The fenestration on three sides, most generous at the front and rear, including tripartite transoms over the central entrance and main-floor display windows, three bays of windows above, tall rectangular openings selectively placed on the east side, rows of five segmental-arched north windows, etc.
  • The modest details, materials and finishes, including the rusticated stone foundation, dressed limestone lintels, belt courses, windowsills, etc.
  • Functional elements such as large east and north loading docks, the north metal fire escape, etc.
  • The painted signage on three levels across the north elevation reading: 'L.GALPERN CANDY CO.', 'CHOCOLATES' and 'CANDIES'; and on the upper west side, 'THE HOME OF Milady Chocolates'; etc.

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