Historic Sites of Manitoba: Imperial Oil Cooperage / Courier Press Building (955 Alexander Avenue, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Photos & Coordinates | Sources

Located on Alexander Avenue in Winnipeg, at what was previously the northeast corner of its junction with Knox Street [no longer a public road], the Imperial Oil Company expanded their local presence and capacity by building a cooperage to fabricate, maintain, and repair oil barrels. Designed and built by local architect-contractor James McDiarmid in the latter half of 1910, the one-storey factory measured 38 feet wide and 128 feet long and was completed at a cost of about $7,500. The brick structure was expanded in 1911, again by McDiarmid, adding a second floor at a cost of $3,000. A overhead barrel runway, since removed, was installed across Knox Street to allow the gravity-assisted transfer of empty barrels between the cooperage and a warehouse directly opposite on Knox.

In 1914, the cooperage underwent a $7,000 interior overhaul and was converted into office space for the company, with McDiarmid again doing design and construction. Further interior alterations were made in 1920 at a cost of $10,000 although with the work handled by Thomas Sharpe. At some point prior to 1917, a small two-storey vault was added to the north side of the structure.

From the late 1950s onward, the building housed the offices and printing presses of the Courier Press Limited. It published the German language newspaper Der Courier. The building suffered a fire on 30 January 1962 but operation was quickly restored. In 1969, the newspaper Der Nordwesten, itself founded in 1889, merged with Der Courier to become Manitoba Courier-Nordwesten (1970-1980) and subsequently Kanada Kurier (1980-2004). Publication of the Kanada Kurier ceased following the 10 June 2004 edition.

Photos & Coordinates

The former Imperial Oil Cooperage

The former Imperial Oil Cooperage (1970)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Archives of Manitoba photo collection, Architectural Survey -
Winnipeg - Alexander Street - Sheet 2 - No. 8/70

The former Imperial Oil Cooperage

The former Imperial Oil Cooperage (November 2021)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Site Location (lat/long): N49.91085, W97.16491
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: James McDiarmid (1855-1934)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Imperial Oil Warehouse (960 Logan Avenue, Winnipeg)

Manitoba Business: The Imperial Oil Company Limited / Imperial Oil Limited

Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Sharpe (1866-1929)


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 2138/1910, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Troublesome poles bob up once more,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 May 1910, page 22.

“Object to centre posts in streets,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 August 1910, page 1.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 1705/1911, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Building permits,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 June 1911, page 8.

“Building permits,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 June 1911, page 21.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 155/1914, City of Winnipeg Archives.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 67/1920, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Permits to total of $35,000 issued,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 March 1920, page 3.

“Assistant editor,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 January 1958, page 24.

“Canada's national German-language newspaper [ad],” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 October 1960, page 11.

“Fire hits newspaper building,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 January 1962, page 1.

“Der Courier presses roll on schedule,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 February 1962, page 2.

“German-Canadian paper faces loss of mother tongue,” by Manfred Jager, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 August 1989, page 31.

“[456 - General] Typesetter wanted [ad],” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 September 1992, page D4.

“Newspaper needs reliable part time [...],” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 November 2000, page C18.

Western Canada Fire Underwriters Association, H7 614.41 edc - Series 2 - Volume 2 - Winnipeg - December 1917 - Sheet 263, Archives of Manitoba.

Western Canada Fire Underwriters Association, H7 614.41 edc - Series 3 - Volume 2 - Winnipeg - April 1931 - Sheet 263, Archives of Manitoba.

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

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 7 November 2023

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