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January 15, 2010

Peters, S. Frank

Born in England, Peters was raised and educated in London, Ontario, and went to Toronto University for a civil engineering degree. After graduating he began his practice in London, Ontario in 1872 and moved to the larger opportunities in Toronto nine years later. In 1892 Peters moved to Winnipeg and set up an office at 392 Main Street (where he was joined by his brother, W.A. Peters, in 1902).

S.F. Peters designed several Winnipeg structures including the Ashdown warehouse in 1896. This building at 157-179 Bannatyne Avenue reflects the wealth and power of J.H. Ashdown and the excellence of Peters’ design. Another Peters’ creation is the London Building at 432 Main Street built in 1898. This retail space was designed for two stores and several offices. The building included an elaborate projecting cornice as well.3 Peters was also responsible for designing the F.W. Alloway Building in 1898 at 179 McDermot Avenue. He also designed the 1904 addition to the Massey Building at 294 William Avenue. The design is simple and functional much like other Peters’ structures.

Peters was the loss of one of his arms in the 1885 Riel Northwest Rebellion. Peters was commander of a company of the 7th Fusiliers regiment of London, Ontario.

Peters’ warehouses are architecturally based on the Richardsonian-romanesque style that influenced most of Winnipeg’s architects in the 1890s and into the 1900s. Peters himself, however, may not have agreed with categorizing his designs in such a way as, for example, when he described the new Ashdown Warehouse and refused “to allow it to be called by any high sounding name but [said] the building is modern commercial style”. In any case, the large rounded arches, simple designs with little ornamentation and rough textures all grew from the Richardsonian school and Winnipeg examples are numerous.

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