Mount Royal Apartments

Formerly:Silver Heights Apartments
Address:2265, 2255, 2245, 2235 Portage Avenue
Original Use:Apartments
Architects:W. D. Lount
Engineers:Cowin and Company

More Information

At the time of construction Silver Heights Towers Apartments was one of the largest apartment complexes constructed in Winnipeg to date using the lift-slab technique. Formally known as the Youtz-Slick Lift Slab technique, it was conceived in 1948 by two Americans, Philip Youtz, a New York-based architect and Tom Slick, a Texan. Research and promotion of the method was managed through the Institute of Inventive Research in San Antonio, Texas. The Frank Lount and Son Company were the patent licensee’s of the new building method in Canada.

Silver Heights Apartments was the fourth and largest lift-slab construction job in Canada, and was engineered by Cowin and Company. This method was championed in Manitoba by Charles Lount (1887 - 1971), a graduate of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. The company founded by Charles Lount’s son Graham, the Canadian Lift Slab Corporation (a subsidiary of Lount Construction Corporation) went on to build a number of buildings and parking garages in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Vancouver, including the Winnipeg Clinic (425 St.Mary) and the Saigon Apartments (81 Roslyn Road), the first building in Winnipeg to employ the state-of-the-art method.

The complex included 136 units divided among five separate buildings. Two of the four-storey structures were linked by an elevator core, and the remaining three buildings were designed as walk-ups. The 136 one and two bedroom units cover 130,000 square feet and were constructed at a cost of approximately $1,000,000.

The construction method was selected for its economy, the contractors believed that there was an overall savings of 8 percent over conventional load-bearing masonry construction. With the lift-slab method savings are achieved in part by minimizing the amount of formwork needed; in conventional construction a new set of formwork is required for each floor slab that is poured. With the Youtz-Slick method of assembly the slabs are poured and cured at grade, requiring only edge formwork, directly on top of one another. Additionally, all the structural work on the floor slab is done at ground level, including the insertion of reinforcing steel, the addition of all in-slab electrical conduit and any rough-in work for mechanical fittings.

The structural columns are placed and anchored following the pouring of the base slab and foundation work. Following approximately ten days of curing (dependent on weather and humidity), each slab is hoisted into its correct elevation, one atop of each other, using hydraulic lifting equipment. When the floor slabs are raised to the appropriate height they are levelled and then welded directly to the supporting columns.

The project required 20 slabs (135 by 46 feet, and 9 inches thick); each slab weighed approximately 340 tons. Because of the structural orientation of the building, the exterior walls are non-load bearing curtain walls, constructed of either brick or concrete block, finished in stucco, brick, limestone veneer or render.

Sub contracts on the project were handled by: Walter Iverson, masonry; Stewardt Electric, electrical; Cotter Brothers, plumbing and heating; Peerless Air Conditioning, air systems; L. Mattson, plastering; Hobbs Glass, glass and foam glass insulation; Weatherstone Aluminum Windows; Aetna Roofing; Weston Builders Specialities, millwork.

Design Characteristics

Developer:Frank R. Lount Construction Company
Suburb:Silver Heights
Frontage  Direction:South


  • “Silver Heights ‘Lift Slab’.” Western Construction and Building. December 1952.
  • “Silver Heights Development.” Western Construction and Building. November 1952.

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