Thursday, March 22, 2012

111 Lombard Avenue - Kemp Manufacturing / Brick's Fine Furniture Building

Former Brick's Fine Furniture Building
Place: Kemp Manufacturing / Brick's Fine Furniture Building
ocation: 111 Lombard Avenue (Map)
Opened: 1903
James Cadham

Size: 6 storeys,
120,000 sq. ft.
Cost: $130,000


The Kemp Manufacturing Company of Toronto were manufacturers of heaters, stoves, tin boxes, siding and roofing materials. In the late 1890s they entered the Winnipeg market by purchasing a two-storey, 60 x 100 former barbed wire factory on McDermot Avenue East.

May 26, 1906, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1903 the company had architect James Cadham design this three-storey building on Lombard Avenue which combined their offices, warehouse and main floor show room.

A unique feature of the three-storey version was its fire suppression system. A 20,000 gallon water tank on the roof fed an internal sprinkler system. It was a joint experiment with the General Fire Equipment Company of Toronto and the Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Company to see how such a system would work in extreme weather. Sprinklers were beginning to appear in buildings in some U.S. cities but this was considered the first in Canada.

In 1906 the building was expanded to six storeys.

June 5, 1915, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1911 Kemp Manufacturing changed its name to Sheet Metal Products Ltd and in 1927 company president Edward Kemp retired and sold the firm to General Steel Wares. The company continued to occupy 111 Lombard into the 1940s.

September 8, 1949, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1956 there was a new main tenant named Devonware Limited. Created in 1940, Devonware produced figurines, lamp bases, wall plaques and pottery that was sold across the country at large retailers like Eaton's and the Bay.

August 21, 1945, Winnipeg Tribune

Devonware was a division of Kahane of Canada Limited, a manufacturer of toiletries, creams and cosmetics.

Kahane was founded in 1940 by Abraham Kahane
, a Romanian immigrant who came to Canada in 1909. With sons Maurice and Jack, they opened shop on McDermot Avenue and by 1945 were located at 143 Smith Street. In the mid 1960s Kahane also moved into 111 Lombard with Devonware.

During much of this time the main floor retail tenant was
Canadian Office Supplies Ltd. and there were other, smaller tenants in the building as well.

Devonware ceased production in 1967 and Kahane carried on until 1976.

October 9, 1969, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1976 Brick's Fine Furniture purchased the building.

Brick's was founded in 1969 by Fred and Cynthia Brick. Fred worked for Wholesale Furniture Mart on the second floor of 288 Princess Street. When the owner died suddenly, the Brick's took over the business and renamed it Brick's Wholesale Furniture House.

September 30, 1976, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1975 the name was changed to Brick's Fine Furniture and on September 30, 1976 they opened at their new location. (For more on the history of Brick's Fine Furniture see here and here.)

In 2008 the Brick's sold 111 Lombard so that it could be converted into an office building. Seeking a new home in the same neighbourhood, they approached Nygard International which was located at 145 Market Avenue. Nygard agreed to vacate and allow Brick's Fine Furniture to take over their 13,000 square feet of retail space.

In 2011 the new owner of 111 Lombard, United Equities Group, announced a $25 million renovation of the building. One tenant will be the province's Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Department which will take up about 10 per cent of the building's 120,000 square feet of space.

Brick's Brick's Fine Furniture


Government has new life for old Brick's Free Press (2012)
Amazing race for office space Free Press (2009)

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