Monday, April 5, 2010

309 Hargrave - The Norlyn Building

Slated for demolition Summer 2012. See Centrepoint Development
Norlyn Building
Place: The Norlyn Building
Address: 309 Hargrave Street Map
Opened: 1903
Davidson Brothers


The Norlyn building opened in 1903 as simply '309 Hargrave' as home to the Modern Laundry & Dye Works. The original structure was two storeys with a footprint of 60' x 80' and a neighbouring boiler house. One of the investors in this venture was Police Chief John McRae.

Norlyn Building

Sometime between 1903 and 1928 the building underwent a major expansion. You can see above the change in style of bricks and windows where old and new come together.

Norlyn c. 1928 (Source: Andy6)

In May 1951 Modern was sold and the equipment auctioned off.
In 1952 the building was renovated and rechristened the Norlyn Building, an office block with main floor retail space.

Time Fire (source)
On June 8, 1954 the Time Building fire destroyed three buildings and severely damaged the Norlyn building (the above photo shows the Dismorr Building collapsing with the Norlyn in the background, top-left). The Norlyn's upper floors were completely gutted.

Norlyn Building businesses that were destroyed or extensively damaged were: Brinks Express, Wagon Wheel Restaurant, Bedford Leather Co, Theatre Posters Co., Community Purchasing Services, Henry's Cleaners, Independent Order of Foresters, Moore's Business Forms, Alcoholics Anonymous, Winnipeg Ballet, British-Israel World Federation, Kolchin and Boxer, Department of Indian Affairs, The Little Gallery, Alcoholics Anonymous and the Winnipeg Bridge Club.

Wardrobe room at the RWB on Hargrave (source)

The saddest loss was that of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. They had taken the entire upper floor of the Norlyn for their studios, offices and stores, a total of 5,000 square feet. The fire destroyed everything: costumes, sets, curtains, books, original choreography and scores plus $10,000 worth of music. The loss was around $40,000, just one-third of which was covered by insurance. (Source: Winnipeg Free Press, June 15, 1954.)

Dec. 11, 1954 WFP

By the end of 1954 the Norlyn building was renovated, though it appears to be one storey shorter, and tenants began to move in. Some old tenants found new space around town but some, such as Indian Affairs, Alcoholics Anonymous and Wagon Wheel Lunch, returned.

In 1957 the building began taking on the medical flavour that it has today by calling itself the Norlyn Medical Building. Initially it attracted a hearing aid centre, medical insurance company and a pharmacy. In 1978 the building began advertising space specifically for doctors and dentists with newly renovated spaces and shared waiting rooms.

Norlyn Building

Today the Norlyn Building is being emptied of tenants. It is to be demolished to make way for the parkade of a new hotel complex slated for Portage Avenue.

Also see Wagon Wheel.

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