1913 – Snippets from the construction of Manitoba Parliament, Winnipeg

Architect: Francis Worthington Simon



From The Building News, February 16 1912: “Mr. Leonard Stokes, P.R.I.B.A., has been appointed by the Government of Manitoba to act as assessor in the competition for the new Government Buildings in Winnipeg. It is expected that he will leave England about the middle of next month, and will be away for several weeks. The last date for sending in plans, under the extension recently made known, is March 31 and it is stated by Canadian papers that although the competition was an open one, owing to the short time afforded to the preparation of designs, it will be practically restricted to practitioners in the Dominion. The appropriation for the buildings is 2,00,000 dol., exclusive of heating, lighting, [plumbing, and fittings. Provision is required for 183 rooms with a total floor space of over 220,000sq.ft. Out of the plans submitted, five will be selected by Mr. Stokes. The authors of these plans will receive 2,000 dol. each. Mr. Stokes will pay a second visit to Winnipeg in the autumn and will select from the five completed designs, one for execution. The architect whose plans are finally adopted will be paid 4 per cent. only upon the estimated cost of the work as represented in the accepted tender.”

From The Building News, May 10 1912: In this preliminary competition, in which the Government of Manitoba invited designs for a building of the estimated cost of£400,000. Mr. Leonard Stokes, P.R.I.B.A., has selected the following five architects to take part in the final competition ; Messrs. Brown and Vallance, Montreal ; Messrs. Clemshaw and Portnall. Regina, Saskatchewan ; Messrs. E. and W. S. Maxwell, Montreal ; Messrs. Sharp and Murray, Toronto: and Mr. F. W. Simon, F.R.I.B.A., Liverpool. Each of these competitors will receive a sum of 2.000 dollars. The competition was limited to architects being subjects of the British Empire and practising therein. May the best man win. anyhow, English or Canadian! Meanwhile, our congratulations to Mr. Simon on his securing a look-in for the old country.”

From The Building News, March 19, 1919: “The final competition which was held among five selected firms in 1912 resulted in the choice of the design submitted by Mr. Frank W. Simon, F.R.I.B.A., then living at East Grinstead, in Sussex. The assessor, Mr. Leonard Stokes, went out to Canada to advise the Government of Manitoba and make his award. The scheme has in the meantime been carried out nearly in accordance with the original drawings, but various changes necessarily have been made, as will be seen by the copies of the architect’s working drawings which we give to-day. This new Parliament Building is now rapidly approaching completion under Mr. Frank Simon’s personal supervision. The estimate originally was £400,000, but the precise cost already incurred, so far as we are aware, has not been publicly stated. The illustrations given to-day include the two main plans which, owing to their large scale and complicated detail as furnished by the big working plans, had to be redrawn to reproduce clearly within the restrictions of our limited space. The other double page given herewith shows the elevation of the entrance front as carried out. We shall at an early day publish the longitudinal section and side facade to scale. The competition drawings were given in our issue for September 27. 1912.”