Historic Sites of Manitoba: Boyd Building (384-392 Portage Avenue / 270 Edmonton Street, Winnipeg)

This nine-storey concrete, steel, brick, and terra cotta building at the southwest corner of Portage Avenue and Edmonton Street in Winnipeg, measuring 88.4 feet by 130 feet, was designed by local architect John Danley Atchison. It was built between 1911 and 1912 at a cost of about $230,000 for businessman William James Boyd by the National Construction Company, using structural steel provided by the Dominion Bridge Company.

Originally intended to be a seven-storey building, during construction the decision was made to increase its height by an additional two floors. The building sat on the western periphery of the downtown business district until the Hudson’s Bay Company built its department store west of it, in 1925.

In the original configuration, the main floor contained four retail spaces along Portage Avenue and one along Edmonton Street while the upper floors contained offices. Retailers that occupied space included Hollinsworth Ladies’ Wear (1917-1972) and later Willson’s Business Services. Offices in its upper levels were typically dominated by the medical profession, including physicians and dentists, as well as support services such as laboratories, x-ray clinics, medical libraries, and the administrative offices of the Manitoba Medical Association. Other occupants through the years included the Monarch Life Assurance Company, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Great West Life Assurance Company, and the publications branch of the Manitoba Department of Agriculture. There were also manufacturers’ agents, artists, dance teachers, architects, and real estate agents.

In 1935, alterations to the ground floor retail spaces to accommodate the new City Hydro Showroom were designed by the local architectural firm of Green Blankstein Russell and completed by contractor Randver Sigurdson at a cost of about $11,000.

Designated in November 1981 as a municipally-designated heritage building, all but the main floor was closed as of December 2017, in anticipation of future renovations. The main floor was later closed too and the building presently (2024) stands vacant.

Boyd Building under construction

Boyd Building under construction (1912)
Source: Manitoba Free Press, 15 June 1912, page 14.

Postcard view of the Boyd Building

Postcard view of the Boyd Building (circa 1912) by Lyall Commercial Photo
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2015-0103

Boyd Building

Boyd Building (June 2015)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89216, W97.14713
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: John Danley Atchison (1870-1959)

Manitoba Business: Kelly-Simpson Construction Company / National Construction Company

Manitoba Business: Dominion Bridge Company

Memorable Manitobans: William James Boyd (1862-1943)

Manitoba Business: Green Blankstein Russell and Associates

Memorable Manitobans: Randver “Andy” Sigurdson (1890-1963)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Hydro Showroom (55 Princess Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 2173/1911, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“New Boyd office building,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 September 1911, page 1.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 2565/1912, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Building and real estate,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 June 1912, page 14.

“$3,000,000 worth of building operations,” Manitoba Free Press, 6 July 1912, page 11.

“New Boyd Building on Portage Avenue,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 July 1912, page 11.

“Building items,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 March 1935, page 11.

“Tenders for interior alterations for hydro showroom in Boyd Building,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 March 1935, page 13.

“Tenders are calling for altering Boyd Building,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 March 1935, page 4.

“Permit granted,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 March 1935, page 3.

“Construction in Winnipeg makes steady advance,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 March 1935, page 20.

“Building notes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 March 1935, page 25.

“Winnipeg Hydro will open Portage Avenue showroom Tuesday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 June 1935, page 8.

384 Portage Avenue, Boyd Building, Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, March 1981.

“New lease on life for Boyd Building,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 December 2017, page 26.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Jordan Makichuk.

Page revised: 23 February 2024

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