Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bettes Block (289 Carlton Street, Winnipeg)
Located on the northeast corner of Portage Avenue and Carlton Street in Winnipeg, this four-storey brick building was commissioned by the Ontario, Manitoba and Western Land Company and based on the architectural designs of Lindsay Alexander Wardell and David William Fair Nichols. Construction began in late 1907 with the excavation for the basement and foundation by the General Construction Company, with the first three storeys built in 1908 by the Davidson Brothers.
The structure measured 40 feet along Portage and 80 feet along Carlton, with ground level commercial suites along both frontages (353-355 Portage as well as 289-295 Carlton) and residential apartments on the upper floors. It was completed at a total cost of $25,500 and named for James Whitney Bettes who was Managing Director for the company.
In 1909, it was again expanded using designs of Wardell and Nichols and completed by separate contractors. The addition of the fourth floor cost $19,000 and increased the residental suite count to 28.
Vacant by the early 1980s, the building was demolished during preparation to build the Air Canada Building (355 Portage Avenue) and its site makes up part of the grounds for the Air Canada Window Park.
City of Winnipeg Building Permit 2267/1907, City of Winnipeg Archives.
City of Winnipeg Building Permit 226/1908, City of Winnipeg Archives.
City of Winnipeg Building Permit 357/1909, City of Winnipeg Archives.
Charles E. Goad Company fonds, Western Canada Fire Underwriters’ Association, May 1914, Library and Archives Canada.
“Tenders,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 October 1907, page 2.
“Building and real estate [This week&squo;s building permits],” Manitoba Free Press, 9 November 1907, page 18.
“Bettes Company,” Manitoba Free Press, 24 January 1908, page 13.
“$678,515 in building permits,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 April 1908, page 13.
“Winnipeg realty market shows continued activity,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 November 1909, page 8.
“Some big deals,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 November 1909, page 32.
“Big block today,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 November 1909, page 2.
City of Winnipeg Building Permit 1823/1928, City of Winnipeg Archives.
“Air Canada site selection hailed,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 March 1982, page 4.
“A civic junk collection,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 August 1985, page 11.
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: 18 February 2022