Tuesday, February 14, 2012

123 Princess Street - Miller & Richard Building

Source: MB Historical Society ca. 2011

Place: 123 Princess Street (Miller & Richard Building)
Location: 123 Princess Street (Map)
Opened: 1905
Frank Peters


123 Princess Street
April 21, 1905, Winnipeg Free Press

The building was designed by Frank Peters and constructed in 1905 as the Western Canadian branch of the Scottish company Miller & Richard.

April 21, 1905, Winnipeg Free Press

Miller & Richard was a type foundry whose roots went back to 1809. They created numerous popular type fonts used in magazines, catalogues and newspapers around the world. In fact, some fonts used today, such as Century Oldstyle and Bookman, are descendants of their work.

The general manager was Harry Patterson, who had been the Western sales rep for M & R for a number of years.

Ad ca. 1906

The company carried their entire line of type face, cast in Scotland, and typesetting equipment. They were also sales and repair agents for a number of printing press manufacturers and dealt in related machinery such as bindery equipment and paper cutters.

Ad ca. 1906

The third floor of the building was rented out to Douglass McIntyre Printing Company, a commercial print shop. They used the address 171 Princess.

Miller and Richards closed the branch in 1931, though they kept a sales office for a time on the third floor of the Nokomis Building on Cumberland. Douglass and McIntryre stuck around until the early 1940s.

Lögberg, August 26, 1948

In 1932 the Western Elevator and Motor Company / Power and Mines Supply Company bought the building. Created in 1919, Western was one of the city's first elevator firms.

The Electrical News, 1921 Edition

The creator was George E. Miles. Born in Britain in 1886 he trained as an electrical engineer and came to Canada in 1906 to work stints with Otis Elevator then the CPR. After time in Minnesota he came to Winnipeg to work for Canadian Westinghouse.

In World War I Miles served as a captain with the Canadian Mounted Rifles. When he returned in 1919 he created the
Western Elevator and Motor Company and Power and Mines Supply Company. He spent a number of years on the board of the Manitoba Electrical Association and served on the school board in 1931 and 1932.

In 1948 he sold his companies and he and wife Gladys retired to their Yale Avenue home, though he continued to consult for the Department of Defence. George Miles died in July 1961

Lögberg, August 26, 1948

In 1948 Grettir Eggertson bought the company and brother Ragnar Eggertson became Vice President. They were sons of Icelandic businessman and developer Arni Eggertson.

rom 1948 - 1971 the tenant's space was leased to Crabb and Company, a real estate agency with roots back to 1923.

Grettir Eggertson was born in Winnipeg in 1903 and graduated from the U of M in 1925 with a degree in electrical engineering. His work took him around the world. During World War II he supervised the construction of a number of hydro-electric plants in Iceland, including the power distribution grid for the city of Reykjavik. For this work there he was later awarded the Commander Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon.

Ragnar died in 1961 and Grettir retired from Western Elevator in the early 1980s. In 1988 the firm merged with another elevator company called Excel Elevators to create Excel Western Elevators. The Princess Street location soon closed and the company appears to disappear in the late 1990s.


The building sat underused or vacant until 1999 when a new owner decided to try something unique: residential style lofts in the west side of the Exchange. At that time the Ashdown Warehouse was one of the few, if not only, legal conversions that existed. In 2002 the Western Elevator Lofts went on the market.

The building was converted into six residential units and a penthouse suite was added. The main floor and basement became commercial units. Currently, the commercial space is home to Vixin Salon and in February 2012 Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall, (the new incarnation of Aqua Books), announced that they will relocated there.

Winnipeg's Cultural City Hall Finds New Home West End Dumplings
Condo conversion case study CMHC
123 Princess Heritage Winnipeg
121-123 Princess Historic Buildings Committee
Living in the Past Winnipeg Free Press (2003)

1 comment:

  1. Here is some added information:
    In the late 1970's my father John Lewis a long time employee of Power and Mine Supply purchased from Grettir Eggertson 123 Princess Street, Power and Mine Supply and Western Elevator. In the early 1980's my father sold Western Elevator to Norm Poldulski (spelling?) who inturn sold the business to EXEL elevators.In 1985 he sold 123 Princess Street to a buyer unknown to me and moved Power and Mine supply to Scurfield Street in Fortgarry. In 1993 my father sold Power and Mine Supply to Dan Shamlock where it still prospers today under Dans sons tutelage in a new Winnipeg location.