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Portage Avenue:
Dreams of Castles
in the Sky


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Page 8

RICHARDSON BUILDING
NAR: George Richardson heads up Winnipeg's Richardson family. His grandfather started life as a tailor in Kingston Ontario, but discovered a more profitable business.

GEORGE RICHARDSON
Very soon he found it was more fun to trade grain than to make clothes. In the early days Portage Ave. was thought to be the crossroads of western Canada. It just became obvious if you are going to be in the grain business then this is the place to be.

In the 20s my father was very desirous of building a building at the corner of P&M. And obtained the property, had the building designed, and actually started the excavation. They were well down the excavation when the crash came. My father thought this was not the time to build a building so he cancelled the project, paid off the contractors, filled in the hole and turned the corner into a parking lot. It was never if a building was to be built, it was simply a matter of when.

NAR: Finally in 1964 Winnipeg's first true skyscraper started to rise

GEORGE RICHARDSON
JAMES RICHARDSON & SONS
The building is just over 400 feet…600,000-sq. ft. The exterior of the building is precast Manitoba granite. The fondest memory of the building, probably the completion, the topping off of the building. We'd finally made it.

We are still in Winnipeg because if you are going to be in the grain trade it's the only place to be. There is a big advantage to Winnipeg; it has all the amenities of life. It's the centre of North America and the only place really to be.

COMMODITY EXCHANGE TOWER
NAR: The next tower to rise at Portage and Main was the Trizec tower built in 1979 at the Southwest corner.

FRANK SHERLOCK, BUILDING MANAGER
The Commodity Exchange Tower is comprised of the Tower, the shops of Winnipeg Square, the parking garage and the Bank of Nova Scotia. The tower itself is 535,000 sq. ft, 31 storeys. Anodised aluminium and glass.

We have quite a variety of tenants... law firms national accounting firms, stock brokers, of course the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange. When people come into work they can park underground, do their shopping, go for lunch, and stay inside. The merchants in these shops of Winnipeg Square are doing very well. The reason these shops do well is because of traffic. Those number 100,00 people a week.

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