Friday, October 25, 2019

260 Toronto Street - Hekla Block

© 2019, Christian Cassidy
Place: Hekla Block
Address: 260 Toronto Street
Constructed: 1911 - 1912
Architect: James Pinder West

The 21-unit Hekla Block was constructed in 1911 – 12 based on a design by South African James Pender West. He resided in Winnipeg for just three or four years and designed a handful of buildings in the city, most notably Hydro Substation No. 1 on King Street.

Construction magazine, April 1912

The Hekla one of dozens of three-storey walk-ups built in the West End around this time that were financed and constructed by Icelandic builders. Its design was noted in the April 1912 edition of Construction Magazine for its use of bay windows and side court yards to bring the most natural light and fresh air as possible into its suites.

The initial roster of heads of households in its suites show that it was a good, middle class building. they included:

- Percy Hand, solicitior for Dominion Express Co.
- T J Harrison, lecturer at the Agricultural College
- Alice Hunt, stenographer at Hitchings Paper Box Co who lived with her daughter, a stenographer at Acme Glove Works
- Edwin Lebourveau, CNR employee 
- Edith MacLean, teacher at Somerset School. MacLean came to Winnipeg from Wentworth, Nova Scotia around 1908 to be a school teacher. After a 30 year career, she retired in 1938 and died in 1941. 
- Louis Leipsic, insurance agent with office in Bon Accord Building. He would later join forces with his brother-in-law A. H. Arnovitch to form Arnovitch and Leipsic, a well known insurance and real estate company that carried on for decades after their deaths.

Since 1990, the building has been owned and operated by the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation.

Two years of extremely dry summers, 2017 and 2018, caused a portion of the foundation to fail. Further inspection showed additional foundation problems. The decision was made to demolish the building, which got underway in late 2019. it will be replaced by a new affordable housing block once funding has been secured.

More photos of the Hekla Block

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