News / Winnipeg

Sweet, sweet history: Nutty Club nominated for heritage building list

The five-storey brick-and-stone structure on Pioneer Avenue was built in 1905, and houses the still-running success story in Winnipeg's former warehouse district.

The Nutty Club building in Winnipeg's Exchange District is being considered by city council for heritage status.

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski/ Metro

The Nutty Club building in Winnipeg's Exchange District is being considered by city council for heritage status.

The Can-D-Man’s home in the Exchange District is so iconic, local architecture experts say the only nutty thing would be not recognizing its significance.

On Thursday, Winnipeg’s historical buildings and resources committee considered the Scott-Bathgate Building on Pioneer Avenue—better known as the Nutty Club building—as a property worth adding to the city’s list of historical resources.

Susan Algie, director of the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, said if any city has a building that is “in that good condition, in constant use for over 100 years, and it does have this significance, why wouldn’t you go forward and designate it as historical?”

She explained that the five-storey building was built during a railway-fuelled industrial boom that was “essential to the development of Winnipeg,” and stands as a landmark indicative of that era.

“People forget the early history of the area,” she said. “But I think it’s important to celebrate that.”

Researcher Murray Peterson recognized the same historical significance in the building synopsis he prepared for the committee, noting, “many distributors located in Winnipeg” at that time.

“Scott-Bathgate Company was one such company,” he said, adding its early success as a distributor has since translated into its manufacturing business that continues today.

He commented that the warehouse is an example of “Romanesque revival style” which was popular in warehouse districts like Winnipeg’s throughout North America from the 1880s into the 20th century.

Peterson highlighted defining elements such as the rusticated stone base, arched window and door openings of the south façade, and the iconic “painted signage” on all sides.

Algie said those features, and the “great wall art” especially, are amongst the reasons “you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the city who wouldn’t instantly recognize the building and its function.

“There’s a lot of historical significance in that.”

The committee still needs to make a recommendation to council within 60 days to list the building, which, if approved, would protect it and its defining elements.

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