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The Exchange District

Vignettes / The Exchange District / Main

Ryan Block/Macdonald Shoe Store

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Shoe retailer-wholesaler Thomas Ryan had operated a wood-frame shop on the west side of Main Street between present-day Bannatyne and William avenues since the mid-1870s.  In 1883, despite the crash of the building boom that had accompanied the arrival of the CPR, he chose to develop an adjacent lot, part of the former Court House property, into a four-storey building. The elaborately ornamented structure cost an estimated $30,000 to $35,000 and for awhile looked out of place situated alongside Main Street’s wooden storefronts.

The structure was designed by local contractor Johnston Brown and built by the Saul Brothers (masonry), J. Burkholder (carpentry), and Nelson and Bige (stonecutters).  Blaird and Jarrett of Minneapolis carved the facade ornamentation.





Year Built Heritage Status Date Material Floors/Square footage
1883 rebuilt 1903 & 1933 Municipal, 1996, grade III

Original had elaborate façade with red granite columns, belt courses and gargoyles.

1 and 2 storeys/9,375 total floor space

Original Use Present Use Address Architect
Shoe store and wholesaler. Retail 492 Main Street/131-133 Albert Street Johnston Brown, 1883; Joseph Greenfield, 1903; Northwood and Chivers, 1933.





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