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.
“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