Constructed in 1903-1904, this building is western Canada’s oldest skyscraper. It combines the technology of steel framing, a rich exterior and an elegant interior to project a sense of modernity and entrepreneurial success. These qualities reflected the image intended by its original owner, the Union Bank of Canada, which played an important role in financing the development of the West. In the sophistication of its architecture, this headquarters building points to Winnipeg’s central position in the rapidly expanding economy of early 20th century Canada. A commemorative plaque by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada stands immediately south of the Union Bank Annex. The building is a municipally-designated historic site.
A plaque on the north exterior of the building, unveiled by Winnipeg mayor Bill Norrie at a ceremony on 6 June 1986, commemorates the founding, in 1922, of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in a seventh-floor office of the Union Bank Building by businessman Melvin McMullen.
Since the repurposing of the building as home for the culinary arts program of Red River College, the main floor of the building has been renovated into a restaurant and kitchen used by the students to practice their training.
Union Bank Tower (August 2003)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough
Union Bank Tower (July 2022)
Source: George Penner
Union Bank Building commemorative plaque (2009)
Source: City of Winnipeg
Melvin McMullen with magician Doug Henning unveiling a plaque on the Union Bank Building, first site of the offices of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (1986)
Source: Transcona Historical Museum
Interior of the main floor of the former Union Bank Building (March 2015)
Source: George Penner
Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89868, W97.13945
denoted by symbol on the map above
Manitoba Business: Union Bank of Canada
Manitoba Business: Royal Bank of Canada
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Union Bank Annex (500 Main Street, Winnipeg)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Early Skyscrapers in Winnipeg Plaque (456 Main Street, Winnipeg)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Plaques for Persons, Events and Sites of National Historic Significance
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Royal Bank of Canada Building (460 Main Street, Winnipeg)
Royal Tower (504 Main Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, June 1993.
Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 July 2022
Historic Sites of Manitoba
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