Historic Sites of Manitoba: McArthur Building / Childs Building (211 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)
A 12-storey building at the northwest corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg was designed by architect J. H. G. Russell. Built for lumber merchant John Duncan McArthur between 1909 and 1910 at a cost of about $400,000 by the construction firm of Carter-Halls-Aldinger, worksite operations were overseen by architect Robert Wilson.
Ready for occupancy on 1 May 1910, McArthur had an office on the second floor, with Russell occupying an 11th-floor office. Following McArthur’s death, in 1921 the building was sold to the Childs Restaurant Company which undertook interior alterations and improvements worth around $125,000. The Childs Restaurant on the main floor, named for American brothers Samuel Childs and William Childs, was the company’s seventh Canadian location. It was opened on 29 December 1921 by George Van Vlack. For a time, the building retained the McArthur name but was renamed the Childs Building around December 1947. The structure held its title as Winnipeg’s tallest building into the 1950s, with tenants including the law firm of Walsh Micay and Dingwall’s Jewellers.
In 1974, the building sustained heavy fire damage and, in 1981, safety concerns necessitated dismantling of the upper floor cornice and balcony. The remaining structure was demolished between 13 April and 4 July 1988, along with the adjacent Toronto-Dominion Bank and Nanton Building, to make way for the new 33-storey TD Centre.
“G. H. G. Russell,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 April 1909, page 21.
“Previous year’s building doubled,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 August 1909, page 2.
“McArthur Building,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 April 1910, page 2.
“M’Arthur Block sale expected,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 February 1921, page 1.
“Aggregate loans are $50,000 in excess of 1920,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 June 1921, page 1.
“New Childs’ Restaurant to be opened in the fall,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 July 1921, page 8.
“Shortage in building,” Manitoba Free Press, 23 July 1921, page 6.
“New York not smart,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 December 1921, page 2.
“Feeds millions,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 March 1928, page 13.
“Still builds,” Winnipeg Tribune, 28 May 1949, page 20.
“Historic building fall at famous intersection” by Vince Leah, Winnipeg Free Press Weekly West Edition, 24 April 1988, page 13.
“Walls come tumbling down,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 June 1988, page 3.
“Going, going, gone,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 July 1988, page 7.
“Plenty of gems in walk through old directory” by Vince Leah, Winnipeg Free Press Weekly West Edition, 10 March 1991, page 14.
“Winnipeg’s worst fires rekindle memories,” Mike Maunder, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1997, page B5.
1981 - The Year Past, Report of the City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, City of Winnipeg.
We thank Linda Spear for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 10 September 2021