Public Safety Building (Winnipeg)

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Public Safety Building
Limestone cladding with steel brackets holding it in place

The Public Safety Building is a building in the Exchange District of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, that was used as the Winnipeg Police headquarters.

Built in 1965, the structure was designed by Libling Michener & Associates in the brutalist style of modernism, and is clad in Tyndall limestone.[1] On December 21, 1964 Winnipeg City Council awarded a contract for the construction of the new Public Safety Building and Civic Parkade at a cost of $4.8 million.[2] Both the Public Safety Building and Civic Parkade are connected to the City Hall by an underground walkway.[2]

The land that the building resides on is approximately one half hectare. The plot of land was originally part of a 100 acres (40 ha) river lot granted to Alexander Ross, a Scottish-born fur trader and an early settler of the Red River Colony.[3] Winnipeg was officially incorporated in 1875, and on June 7, 1875, the third generation of the Ross family signed over a portion of the remaining land to the municipality at the below-market rate of $600, with a stipulation that the land be always be kept for civic purposes, otherwise it would revert to the family.[3][4] Sale of the property would need to be vetted by one of the Ross descendants, of which there are an estimated 19 still alive.[3] The plot now has the Council Building at city hall, the Public Safety Building and a portion of the Civic Centre parkade on it.[4]

The limestone cladding on the building has degraded over the years, due to moisture seeping in between the cladding and Winnipeg's freeze-thaw cycles separating the limestone sections from their braces.[5] In many places steel brackets have been added to keep the stone sections in place.[6] Some of the limestone cladding has fallen off of the building's façade and there is continued risk of stone falling off. Because of this, the city enclosed the sidewalk below with a $100,000 sheltered walkway in 2006.[3][7]

The Police headquarters moved into the Public Safety Building shortly after its construction in 1966, out from the former Rupert Station.[8] In 2009, the city of Winnipeg purchased the former Canada Post mail-processing facility in downtown Winnipeg, and as of 2013 there are plans to move the city's police headquarters to the renovated facility. As of the end of 2013, the new facility's renovations have cost $210 million and are on-going.[9]


  1. ^ Bellamy, Brent (25 February 2013). "PSB, St. B cop shop examples of polarizing architecture". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "1965 – Public Safety Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba". Archiseek. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hopper, Tristin (30 July 2012). "Winnipeg navigates tricky sale of Métis-donated land in bid to build new police headquarters". National Post. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Bartley Kives; Jen Skerritt (26 July 2012). "Descendants of 1875 donors found". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Jen Skerritt; Bartley Kives (15 July 2011). "Renovation costs soar". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  6. ^ WHITE, PATRICK (23 August 2012). "The Public Safety Building - enter at your own risk". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Protective hoarding to be built around Public Safety Building". 2006 News Releases. City of Winnipeg. 3 May 2006. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Staff Sergeant Jack Templeman (5 September 2008). "PART SIX - INTO AMALGAMATION". History of the Winnipeg Police. City of Winnipeg. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Kives, Bartley (16 December 2013). "Police fear for safety at old, new HQs". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 

Coordinates: 49°53′59″N 97°08′28″W / 49.8997°N 97.1410°W / 49.8997; -97.1410