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Endangered Top 10
Endangered
Top 10
2019

Manitoba History No. 89
Manitoba
History

No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
War
Memorials
in Manitoba

This Old Elevator
This Old
Elevator

Abandoned Manitoba
Abandoned
Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans
Memorable
Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Union Bank Building / Royal Bank Building (504 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Constructed in 1903-1904, this building is western Canada’s oldest skyscraper. It combines the technology of steel framing, a rich exterior and an elegant interior to project a sense of modernity and entrepreneurial success. These qualities reflected the image intended by its original owner, the Union Bank of Canada, which played an important role in financing the development of the West. In the sophistication of its architecture, this headquarters building points to Winnipeg’s central position in the rapidly expanding economy of early 20th century Canada. A commemorative plaque by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada stands immediately south of the Union Bank Annex. The building is a municipally-designated historic site.

A plaque on the north exterior of the building, unveiled by Winnipeg mayor Bill Norrie at a ceremony on 6 June 1986, commemorates the founding, in 1922, of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in a seventh-floor office of the Union Bank Building by businessman Melvin McMullen.

Since the repurposing of the building as home for the culinary arts program of Red River College, the main floor of the building has been renovated into a restaurant and kitchen used by the students to practice their training.

Postcard view of the Union Bank Building under construction

Postcard view of the Union Bank Building under construction (circa 1903) by George Barrowclough
Source: Rob McInnes, WP1314

Union Bank Tower

Union Bank Tower (2003)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Commemorative plaque beside the Union Bank Building

Commemorative plaque beside the Union Bank Building (2009)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Melvin McMullen with magician Doug Henning unveiling a plaque on the Union Bank Building, first site of the offices of the International Brotherhood of Magicians

Melvin McMullen with magician Doug Henning unveiling a plaque on the Union Bank Building, first site of the offices of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (1986)
Source: Transcona Historical Museum

Interior of the main floor of the former Union Bank Building

Interior of the main floor of the former Union Bank Building (March 2015)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89868, W97.13945
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Union Bank of Canada

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Union Bank Annex (500 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Early Skyscrapers in Winnipeg Plaque (456 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Plaques for Persons, Events and Sites of National Historic Significance

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Royal Bank of Canada Building (460 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Some Old Winnipeg Buildings by Randy R. Rostecki
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 29, 1972-73 season

Sources:

Royal Tower (504 Main Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, June 1993.

Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

We thank Rob McInnes and George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 15 August 2019

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Browse lists of:
Museums/Archives | Buildings | Monuments | Cemeteries | Locations | Other

Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.


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