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Birks Building

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The building at the corner of Portage Avenue and Smith Street was Winnipeg’s first ‘permanent’ facility for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

The YMCA, organized in England in 1844 as an educational, recreational and social agency with evangelical roots, set up a Winnipeg branch in 1879 in rented space on Main. It obtained the Portage property in 1890, opening one of the best outfitted YMCAs in Canada in early 1901. The building was designed by George Browne and constructed by J.A. Girvin and P. Burnett at a cost of $68,500 with another $20,000 for land and furnishings.





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Year Built Heritage Status Date Material Floors/Square footage
1901 NA NA 4 storeys

Original Use Present Use Address Architect
Hostel/Athletic facility, then retail/offices. Vacant 276 Portage Avenue George Browne, 1901, Percy Nobbs, 1914.


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