During the 1980s, a number of major construction projects lay the foundation for present day Winnipeg. From skywalk expansion to the completion of Portage Place mall, check out this collection of photos from a transformative decade in the city’s history.

Winnipeg Square, ca. 1980

winnipeg-square-1980 Photo: University of Manitoba

At the dawn of the ‘80s, Winnipeg Square was still shiny and new, celebrating its one-year birthday. The underground mall still has the distinction of being the largest retail destination of its kind in the city.

Royal Trust Building, ca. 1981

royal-trust-building-1981 Photo: University of Manitoba

With its angular mirrored-glass facade, the Royal Trust Builder signalled the style of a new decade when it rose at 330 St. Mary Avenue in 1981.

Osborne Street North, ca. 1983

great-west-life-building-1983 Photo: University of Manitoba

In the late ‘50s, the Great-West Life Assurance Company had its head office completed at 80 Osborne Street North. In the early-‘80s, it build a monolithic concrete structure next door.

Law Courts buildings, ca. 1985

law-courts-1984 Photo: University of Manitoba

The historic Winnipeg Law Courts at 391 Broadway not only lived through the ‘80s, but also received a new addition in the form of the adjacent provincial courts, which opened in 1985, off Kennedy Street.

Portage Avenue Overpass, ca. 1987

portage-avenue-overpass-1987 Photo: Peter Tittenberger/Flickr

Portage Avenue in the city’s downtown was altered considerably in the decade. One obvious change was the way in which Winnipeg’s network of pedestrian skywalks spilled across the wide avenue.

Portage Avenue ca. 1987

393-portage-place-1987 Photo: University of Manitoba

Skywalk expansion was spurred by the revitalization of three blocks of downtown Winnipeg, which wrapped up in 1987, yielding Portage Place mall, seen here the year it opened.

Portage Place, ca. 1987

393-portage-place-1987-2 Photo: University of Manitoba

The shopping centre preserves something of the street’s past. Terra-cotta tiles from the buildings that once lined this strip of Portage Avenue were used as ornamental touches.

The Childs building, ca. March 1988

childs-building-winnipeg-1988 Photo: Peter Tittenberger/Flickr

The Childs building, which was the tallest building in Winnipeg when it was completed in 1909, shortly before it was demolished.

201 Portage construction, ca. 1988


201-portage-1988-2 Photo: Peter Tittenberger/Flickr

Construction on 201 Portage, currently the tallest building in Winnipeg, began in 1988 at the northwest corner of Portage and Main as the Childs Building met the wrecking ball.

280 Stradbrook, ca. 1988

280-stradbrook-1988 Photo: University of Manitoba

This cubist office building is still standing off Stradbrook. The wood-paneled station wagon likely isn’t.

Power Building, ca. 1988

power-bldg-1988 Photo: Peter Tittenberger/Flickr

Conspicuously absent is the nearby 344-foot-tall Manitoba Hydro Place, which builders finished in 2009 and is currently the fourth tallest tower in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg skyline, ca. 1988

portage-avenue-looking-east-1988-2 Photo: Peter Tittenberger/Flickr

Prior to being overtaken by the 420-foot-tall 201 Portage tower in 1990, the Richardson building (407 feet tall) and 360 Main (384 feet tall) dominated the Winnipeg skyline.

Portage Avenue and Main Street aerial, ca. 1990

portage-and-main-1990 Photo: winnipeg.ca

Portage and Main has been dubbed the windiest intersection in Canada. While this remains unproven, judging by the cluster of high-rises here, a serious wind-tunnel effect is understandable.

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