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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Electric Company Mill Substation and Steam Plant (41-55 Mill Street, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Photos & Coordinates | Sources

The two-storey brick building located on Mill Street in Winnipeg was built in 1905 by the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company at a cost of about $80,000 and went into service in mid-1906, about a year later. The interior initially housed 15 transformers with a capacity of 25,000 horsepower, seven direct-current generators, each with a 1,400-horsepower motor, a travelling crane to handle heavy apparatus, a Hylo room to convey incoming high-voltage current to the transformers, and outgoing low-voltage current to consumers, and control boards containing a maze of ammeters and switches.

In 1911, a two-storey auxiliary steam turbine plant was designed by local architectural firm of Pratt and Ross and added to the east end of the substation at a cost of about $72,000. The building held turbo-generators and ten coal-fired boilers vented by a 225-foot smokestack. In 1913, a separate one-storey building was built at 55 Mill Street, at a cost of about $17,000, to hold storage batteries and a switchboard room. This structure was converted seven years later to a workshop, garage, offices, lunch room, and locker room for emergency crews. Further changes were made in 1922 and 1924 to incorporate more switchboards and transformers, plus an electrolytic hydrogen and oxygen plant for company's gas department.

In 1937, outdoor transformers were set up at 41 Mill Street in place of the substation's 1913 annex. At 55 Mill Street expansion of the office/stores were designed by local architectural firm of Pratt and Ross and built by the firm of Carter-Halls-Aldinger which included larger garage doors and a second floor addition to the building’s west end.

In January 1953, the company was sold to the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board. This structure was taken over by the Winnipeg Hydro-Electric System and gradually its functions were taken over by the King Street Substation and a new outlet at York Avenue and Garry Street. A large smokestack, long an identifying feature of 41 Mill Street, was demolished in 1969-1970, followed a few years later by removal of the 1911 steam plant. Finally, the substation was closed after being stripped of its remaining equipment and demolished. The site of the facility is now occupied by a baseball stadium.

Photos & Coordinates

Winnipeg Electric Company Mill Substation and Steam Plant

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89466, W97.13329
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Winnipeg Electric Railway Company / Winnipeg Electric Company


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 1197/1905, City of Winnipeg Archives.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 699/1937, City of Winnipeg Archives.

Fire Insurance Map, Winnipeg, August 1906, Volume 1, page 55.

The Years Past, 1994-1996: Report of the City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, pages 47-50.

This page was prepared by Jordan Makichuk.

Page revised: 11 August 2022

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