What is the Buildings Conservation List?

What is the purpose of the City of Winnipeg’s Buildings Conservation List? Greg Petzold (Assessor, City of Winnipeg) reviews how buildings on the list are graded.

One of the reasons for the City of Winnipeg leasing 457 Main Street is to contribute to the preservation and occupation of heritage buildings in downtown Winnipeg.

457 Main is a Grade II on the City of Winnipeg’s Building Conservation List. Most listed buildings are categorized as Grade II or III. Examples of the relatively rare Grade I are Macdonald House (61 Carlton) and the Upper Fort Garry Gate. A Grade II listing preserves the exterior of a building and may include a specified interior element such as a particularly significant room.

From the historic building committee annual (2009) report:

“The Buildings Conservation List includes buildings that have been declared historic by City Council based on recommendations by the HBC [Historical Buildings Committee].”

“The Committee applies the following criteria to determine whether a building is worthy of designation:

• Significance in illustrating or interpreting history in the city.

• Association with important historic persons or events.

• Illustration of the architectural history of the city.

• Distinguishing architectural characteristics of a style or method of construction.


Listed buildings are classified by a grade system:


Grade I buildings represent outstanding examples of architectural and historical merit. The entire building – interior and exterior – is to be preserved in perpetuity, and all repairs or alterations must be appropriate.

Grade II buildings represent the majority of Winnipeg’s heritage stock. Sympathetic alterations and additions to the exterior and listed interior elements of these buildings may be allowed in order to maintain economic viability. In certain instances, the adaptive reuse of listed interior elements may be permitted.

Grade III buildings represent moderately significant historical examples worthy of listing. Exterior alterations and modifications may be permitted where deemed suitable. There is usually no restriction on the design of interior alterations.


Since 1977, over 200 buildings have been placed on the Buildings Conservation List.

Recent battles center around “demolition by neglect” as some property owners have allowed listed buildings to deteriorate beyond repair. The most recent controversy involved 104 King Street at Old Market Square, where the former Ryan Building became structurally unsound after sitting vacant and fire-damaged for 20 years. The brick façade was reconstructed around a new parkade on the site.


104 King Street under “reconstruction”

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