Historic Sites of Manitoba: Steiman Block / Merchant’s Hotel / Merchants Corner (541 Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg)

This three-storey brick building on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg, measuring 33 feet by 105 feet, was designed by local architect Max Blankstein and built between 1913 and 1914 for hardware merchant Robert “Bob” Steiman (1873-1953) at a cost of about $20,000. He operated as the Robert Steiman Company Limited as well as the R. Steiman Hardware and Furniture Company, officially renaming to the Globe Hardware and Furniture Company Limited in July 1923, though other name variations were also used. He maintained a retail store and warehouse on the main floor and offices on upper levels, with occupants including physicians Dr. J. P. Oshanek and Dr. Bernard J. Ginsburg (1894-1962).

In 1933, Steiman converted the building into the Merchant’s Hotel on a design by local architectural firm Green Blankstein Russell and Associates. He retired in 1947, sold the building to John Konosky, and moved to Los Angeles, California. The building was later purchased by the provincial government and was being redeveloped into a multi-use building focused on education with housing and retail components. While the work was underway in early May 2017, it sustained an arson fire.

Opened in 2018, Merchants Corner is an educational, student housing, and retail complex featuring 30 units of affordable housing. It is intended to be an educational hub hosting the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Inner-City Studies and CEDA-Pathways to Education program. It includes a common space, open to the community, in which literacy programming for preschoolers will be offered among other activities.

The Merchant’s Hotel

Steiman Block (no date)
Source: Irena Knysh Fonds, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

The Merchant’s Hotel

The Merchant’s Hotel (1960s)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Architectural Survey - Winnipeg, Selkirk Avenue, No. 13/70.

The former Merchant’s Hotel under renovation

The former Merchant’s Hotel under renovation (April 2017)
Source: George Penner

The former Merchant’s Hotel under renovation

The former Merchant’s Hotel under renovation (April 2017)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Merchants Corner

Merchants Corner (May 2018)
Source: George Penner

Merchants Corner

Merchants Corner (January 2023)
Source: Jordan Makichuk

Site Location (lat/long): N49.91631, W97.14666
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Max Zev Blankstein (1874-1931)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Merchant’s Hotel (383 Eveline Street, Selkirk)


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 147/1913, City of Winnipeg Archives.

Death registrations, British Columbia Vital Statistics.

“An unusual event - first annual clearance sale,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 December 1914, page 11.

“Coyote frolics among chimney pots on roof,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 March 1927, page 2.

“For Sale by,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 May 1929, page 2.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 4247/1933, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Notice to creditors [In the matter of the bankruptcy of Robert Steiman Limited],” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 August 1935, page 2.

“Mount Carmel Clinic appoints Hechter head,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 February 1936, page 6.

“Introducing to you --- [Great Improvements in Winnipeg Merchants Hotel],” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 July 1939, page 21.

“Mount Carmel Clinic hears annual reports,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 December 1940, page 2.

“Former city man Robert Steiman dies in Vancouver,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 August 1953, page 36.

Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 405R Robert Steiman Limited, Archives of Manitoba.

541 Selkirk Avenue, Merchants Hotel (Steiman Block), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, February 2013.

We thank Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer, Gordon Goldsborough, and George Penner.

Page revised: 17 June 2023

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