Historic Sites of Manitoba: Simpson House / Wright Apartments (556 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Photos & Coordinates | Sources

Located at the southeast corner side of Bannatyne Avenue at Kate Street in Winnipeg, this 2.5-storey building was designed by architect Victor William Horwood and built by the Jackson Building Company in 1905 for its owner John Simpson. It measured 24 feet wide to a depth of 48 feet, of wood frame construction, and completed at a cost of about $5,000.

Simpson was born at Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario on 22 December 1861, son of John Simpson (1830-1874) and Margaret Forgie (1837-1915) and moved to Winnipeg in 1881 where he married Catherine McLean (1862-1933, daughter of John McLean and Flora McKinnon) on 5 February 1884 and they had a family of seven children: Harold Edgar Simpson (1885-?), Percival McLean “Percy” (Simpson 1886-?), John Frederick Simpson (1888-?), William Alexander “Bill” Simpson, Grace Marguerite Simpson (1895-1982, wife of John R. Guthridge), Leslie Howard Simpson (1896-?), and Albert Edward Simpson (1898-?). They previously resided at 603 Balmoral Street, and after moving here also had a live-in domestic servant (1906). The Simpson the family vacated the premises in 1907 and moved to 58 St. James Place, and later yet resided at 246 Ruby Street. Early on, he worked for Donald H. Smith. He worked 25 years in both the shipping and wholesale grocery business of Kenneth McKenzie & Co and, after it folded, worked with Mason & Hickey. John, who was an uncle to Leslie Alexander Mutch, was a member of the IOOF for 60 years, was a charter member and financial secretary of the North Star Lodge No. 2 (50 years), and served as Grand Secretary of the IOOF Grand Lodge (15 years). Catherine was born at Port Elgin on 18 March 1862 and moved to Winnipeg in 1884. She, who along with her spouse were active members of the Home Street United Church, was also a long-time member of the Queen Esther Rebecca Lodge. Catherine died at the Grace Hospital on 25 December 1933 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery and, following her death, John returned to his native Lanark County (Ontario) where he died at at St. Francis General Hospital at Smith Falls on 18 November 1946 and was buried locally in Aulk Kirk Cemetery at Mississippi Hills.

Next to occupy the residence was William Alfred “Wilfred” Knowles and the Knowles Home for Boys in 1908 and 1909 before they temporarily relocated to 582 McDermot Avenue.

Around 1910, the family of Julius Born (1865-1941) and Bertha Sophie Catherine Matheson (1869-1937) resided here with their four children: Agata [Agate] Borm (1902-?, wife of John Hjaltalin Danielson), Charles Julius Borm (1904-?), Edith Borm (1906-?, wife of Cornelius Alexander Epp), and David Julius Borm (1910-?) in addition to ten lodgers (1911). Born in the Russian Empire on 1 November 1865, Borm immigrated to the United States in 1885 and ended up in Oregon by 1892. In 1896, he left for Winkler where he established a milling business. He sold the venture in 1906 and retired to Winnipeg. The family lived here until around 1920, then going on to reside at 57 Francis Street and 835 McDermot Avenue. Bertha died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 14 October 1937 and Julius died at St. Boniface Hospital on 23 October 1941, with both buried in the Brookside Cemetery.

The balance of the 1920s saw a series of shorter-term occupants including Mrs. W. A. Arnold (c1921), William McLean (c1922), Ernest L. Harrison (c1923), Harold S. Green (c1924-1926, T. Eaton Company employee), D. MacMillan (c1927), R. M. Boak (c1928, Hudson’s Bay Company employee), Fred Beraid? (c1929-1930), and James Reilly (c1931). The building was named the Wright Apartments around 1928 and had up to eight suites available by 1932. Its capacity was increased to 10 during the 1940s and then 12 in the 1950s. By the mid-1950s, the block's name was discontinued from use and by the mid-1960s it reverted to being a single residence. The structure was later demolished.

As of 2022, a structure on this site was built in 1987.

Photos & Coordinates

Wright Apartments

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.90173, W97.15258
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Simpson House (401 Third Street SW, Dauphin)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Simpson House / Margaret Laurence House (312 First Avenue, Neepawa)


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 954/1905, City of Winnipeg Archives.

1901& 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.

Assessment and Taxation, City of Winnipeg.

Birth [Harold Edger Simpson, Percy McLean Simpson, William Alexander Simpson, William Alexander Simpson, Grace Marguerit Simpson, Albert Edward Simpson, Agate Borm, Charles Julius Borm, Edith Born, & David Julius Borin], marriage [John Simpson & Catherine McLean, Agate Borm & John Hjaltalin Danielson, Edith Borm & Cornelius Alexander Epp], and death [Catherine Simpson, Julius Borm, & Bertha Sophie Catherine Borm] registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Attestation papers [William Alexander Simpson], Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

“Roll of Honor [Infantry - Died of Wounds - Lieut. W. A. Simpson],” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 August 1917, page 7.

“What’'s what in sport circles,” by Tim Ching, Winnipeg Tribune, 25 August 1917, page 23.

“Resident of City for half century dies in 71st year,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 December 1933, page 1.

Death notice [Mrs. Catherine Simpson], Winnipeg Free Press, 28 December 1933, page 2.

“[Many friends and relatives attend ...],” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 1933, page 5.

Obituary [Mrs. Julius Borm], Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 18 October 1937, page 6.

Obituary [Julius Borm], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 October 1941, page 4.

Obituary [Julius Borm], Winnipeg Tribune, 24 October 1941, page 23.

“Ex-Winnipegger dies in East,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 November 1946, page 10.

“School was home for city's orphans,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 November 1982, page 59.

“School name change urged,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 1992, Neighbourhoods North page B3.

Elmwood Cemetery burial transcriptions, FindAGrave.

Brookside Cemetery burial transcriptions, City of Winnipeg.

Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.

Preparation of this page was supported, in part, by the Gail Parvin Hammerquist Fund of the City of Winnipeg.

We thank Gordon Goldsborough for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 6 December 2022

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