Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Leonard and McLaughlin Garage and Auto Sales Building / CBC Building (541-543 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)

This building located at the northeast corner of Portage Avenue and Young Street in Winnipeg was originally designed by local architectural firm of Pratt and Ross and built in 1927 by the J. McDiarmid Company for Alexander R. Leonard and William J. “Chester” McLaughlin of Leonard and McLaughlin Motors Limited.

Originally a two-storey building, the 36,000 square foot structure, measuring 100 feet by 127 feet, was built at a cost of about $200,000. A 6,000 square foot showroom on its main floor was used to sell Nash, Cadillac, and Dodge automobiles. A twin showroom on the second floor was for used cars along with the corporate offices, telephone exchange, and a well-appointed ladies lounge. The rear of the building was for auto repair. The company operated in this building until 1938 when it relocated to the former Willys-Overland Building.

During the Second World War, the building was used by the Canadian Army for their Mechanical Transport Wing of the Artillery Training Centre, where soldiers were taught to repair a wide variety of military vehicles. After the war, the building eventually was transferred back to private ownership. The Pigott Truck and Tractor Company occupying the building from 1946 until 1952 when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) purchased it and and added two more storeys for a new television studio. Additions were made in 1957 and 1998.

Today, only a small portion of the original building facade is visible along Young street.

Leonard and McLaughlin Garage and Auto Sales Building

Leonard and McLaughlin Garage and Auto Sales Building (1927)
Source: Manitoba Free Press, 12 March 1927, page 45.

CBC Building

CBC Building (May 2019)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88977, W97.15495
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Pratt and Ross

Memorable Manitobans: James McDiarmid (1855-1934)

Memorable Manitobans: Alexander R. Leonard (1869-1942)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Willys-Overland Building / Leonard and McLaughlin Garage and Auto Sales Building (686 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)


“Western Canada’s finest automobile showrooms opens monday,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 March 1927, page 45.

“Winnipeg’s latest addition to automobile row,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 March 1927, page 13.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Winnipeg Architecture Foundation.

541 Portage Avenue - CBC Building” by Christian Cassidy, Winnipeg Places.

This page was prepared by Jordan Makichuk, Gordon Goldsborough, and George Penner.

Page revised: 19 November 2022

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. The information is offered for historical interest only.

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

Inclusion in this collection does not confer special status or protection. Official heritage designation may only come from municipal, provincial, or federal governments. Some sites are on private property and permission to visit must be secured from the owner.

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

Send corrections and additions to this page
to the MHS Webmaster at

Search Tips | Suggest an Historic Site | FAQ

Help us keep history alive!

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2023 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.