Tuesday, January 17, 2012

464 St. Mary - Mall Plaza & Abbott Clinic / Sussex Realty Building

Mall Plaza / Abbott Clinic
Place: Mall Plaza & Abbott Clinic / Sussex Realty Building
Address: 464 St Mary Ave. / 274 Osborne St. N. (Map)
Cost: $100,000
Architect: J. H. G. Russell
Contractor: W. A. Cameron
Opened: December 30, 1927

David Cooper
came to Canada from Forfar, Scotland in 1907 with less than $5 to his name. An accountant by trade, he took a job with the accounting firm D. A. Pender in 1909 and tutored accounting students on the side. Within a couple of years tutoring became his main business and the Cooper Institute of Accountancy was launched. Months later, the Dominion Business College sprang from the institute with his old boss Mr. Pender as president.

Left ca. 1926. Right ca. 1928

The institute and college began in the Carlton Building then moved to the New Enderton Building at Portage and Hargrave (next to Eaton’s.) In July 1927 they decided to build a building of their own and spent $25,000 to buy a cluster of homes at what had recently become one of the most prominent addresses in the city.

“The Mall” (now Memorial Boulevard) was created just a couple of years earlier, the result of a number of land swaps between the city, province and Hudson’s Bay Company. It allowed the Bay enough land to construct a new downtown department store (1926) and gave the city enough land on which to build an auditorium (1932). The land north of St. Mary was occupied by the U of M but moved to the Fort Garry campus in the following decades.

December 28, 1927, Winnipeg Free Press

The institute portion of the building was opened on Friday, December 30, 1927 by the provincial minister of education.

The comfort of students was top of mind. There was an air scrubber system, normally reserved for places like theatres, to ensure that fresh air was always circulating. The large windows ensured the maximum amount of natural light. There was a cafeteria in the basement that doubled as meeing space for service clubs, social events and speakers.

Mall-Plaza Building

The Tyndall stone facade and detailed stonework around the entrance were chosen so that the building would not look out of place among the existing buildings and those proposed for the boulevard.

There was also a branch of the school at 201 Hespeler (opened 1927) as well as a Manitoba Business College at Portage and Langside. Soon, another branch opened in St. James.

Mall-Plaza Building
February 29, 1928, Winnipeg Free Press

The residential suites of the Mall Plaza opened in February 1928. The 22 suites boasted a number of modern conveniences such as electric lights, ovens and fireplaces in every suite. Murphy Beds were used to maximize floor space. Each suite had a unique floor plan to make the best use of natural light.

In 1947 the institute downsized. Gone was the Elmwood branch and the Memorial Boulevard headquarters was sold off. Operations were centralized at the St. James location which closed in 1951.

Mall-Plaza Building

June 26, 1947, Winnipeg Free Press

In May 1947 the Abbott Clinic bought the building.

The Abbott Clinic was created in the early 1930s by two brothers, Drs. Fred and Clifford Abbott, who worked out of the fourth floor of the Power Building. They converted the institute portion of the building into medical offices. Labs and an X-ray department were set up in the basement. The apartments remained on the upper floors.

In February 2006 Dr. Bill Abbott, son of Fred, announced that the building had been sold and the clinic would close. The management company representing the owner was Sussex Realty.

Mall Plaza / Abbott Clinic
Ca. 1978 ad

In late 2011 the building was rechristened the Sussex Realty Building. The company, formed in 1978 at 427 Academy Road, will relocate there in February 2012.

Source: Metro

While renovating the building, the Abbott Clinic's bronze sign over the front entrance was removed to reveal the remnants of the original Cooper Institute sign !

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