Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Garry Telephone Exchange Building
474 Hargrave Street,
Winnipeg

 Garry Telephone Exchange Building

Designation Date: June 26, 1987
Designation Authority: Honourable Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation
Present Owner: Hargrave United Housing Co-op (Manitoba) Ltd.

Until l906, many small, competing telephone companies provided unreliable service to Manitobans. Recognizing the growing importance of communications, the Conservative government of Sir Rodmond Roblin created Manitoba Government Telephones as the first provincially owned telephone system in Canada. Creation of this public utility marked a significant step in the emergence of a mixed public and private economy in Manitoba.

This building, designed by Provincial Architect Samuel Hooper, was begun in l907 and was the first exchange erected by the new company. It served as headquarters and as a visual symbol of the Manitoba Telephone System until l932, when head office demands outgrew the building. Following the construction of new headquarters on Portage Avenue East, the "Garry" continued to function as one of the main downtown exchanges.

Declared surplus in l952, the "Garry" was converted into a garment factory two years later. During l986–87, this building was converted to cooperative housing.