Historic Sites of Manitoba: Northwest Investment Building / Kirkwood Block (575-581 Portage Avenue / 351-357 Langside Street, Winnipeg)

This two-storey brick building on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, measuring 82 feet by 135 feet, was designed by local architect John Danley Atchison and built in 1912 at a cost of about $50,000 by Davidson Brothers for the Northwest Investment Company. In its original configuration, the building contained seven retail spaces on the main floor (four along Langside Street and three along Portage Avenue) while the second floor hosted a Pentecostal Mission.

Original tenants included pharmacist William Kirkwood (1885-1967) who operated the Kirkwood Drug Store on the main floor and later owned and renamed the building for himself. He retired in 1946. In February 1956, entrepreneur Harry Smith opened the Club Morocco nightclub on the upper level. After 33 years in business, it was renamed under new ownership in 1989.

The building was destroyed by fire on 2 February 2022.

Kirkwood Block

Kirkwood Block (May 2018)
Source: George Penner

Kirkwood Block

Kirkwood Block (February 2022)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88952, W97.15611
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: John Danley Atchison (1870-1959)

Manitoba Business: Davidson Brothers

Memorable Manitobans: Harry Smith (1913-1997)


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 1978/1912, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Many building permits,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 June 1912, page 8.

“Permits mear $10,000,000,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 June 1912, page 17.

“Club decorated in Moroccan motif,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 February 1956, page 7.

Winnipeg fire insurance map, #133 February 1963, City of Winnipeg Archives.

Obituary [William Kirkwood], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 October 1967, page 47.

“Pop beat,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 September 1989, page 35.

Kirkwood Block (Club Morocco), 575 Portage Avenue by Murray Peterson, Peterson Projects, February 2009.

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

Page revised: 30 January 2024

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