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The Last One Standing: The Ukrainian Labour Temple

The Ukrainian Labour Temple (591 Pritchard Avenue) is the only surviving labour hall associated with the events of the Winnipeg General Strike. In the early twentieth century, labour halls were meeting places for unions to discuss social activities, campaigns, and strikes. In 1919, the Ukrainian Labour Temple was the hub for Ukrainian culture, farmer political activism, and the trade union movement.

The Ukrainian Labour Association, who built the temple, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. This past February, the building also celebrated its centennial!

For this year's Doors Open Winnipeg, the Temple will be open Saturday (May 25) and Sunday (May 26) from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, with food, dancing, singing and tours from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The oldest mandolin orchestra in Canada, the second oldest on the continent, will be playing during Doors Open at 1:15 pm and 1:00 pm on Sunday.

Today, I visited the Ukrainian Labour Temple to take photos. Here are some of the beautiful par…
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The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: The Strike Shuts Down Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council (WTLC) took a vote on whether or not to support the two union Councils and the two strikes that started on May 1st and 2nd. The WTLC represented a range of affiliated unions from different sectors in the city - manufacturing, sewing trades, city workers, transport workers. A vote of the 94 member unions was taken on May 6th - 8,667 voted for a general strike, while 645 vote against.


Within a week, about 12,000 unionized workers joined in a general strike. They supported the demand for a living wage and recognition of collective bargaining as a principle for labour relations with employers. They knew that supporting the striking workers would affect the bargaining power of all unions, and therefore there was a common interest in demonstrating union solidarity.


The WTLC put out a call to start the general strike at 11:00am on May 15. However, for about 500 telephone operators who were coming to work at 7:00am that day, a shift change was an opportu…

Ready, Set, Celebrate! Doors Open Winnipeg 2019

Doors Open Winnipeg 2019 is almost here! Are you ready to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike? This year we are excited to have over 100 buildings, events and tours opening their doors to welcome you on May 25th and 26th. No matter what your interest, Doors Open Winnipeg has something for you! This year we are featuring 18 new buildings and tours - so there is something fresh and exciting to see for even the most seasoned Doors Open Winnipeg visitor. It is time to start making plans for your Doors Open Winnipeg weekend and get ready to submerse yourself in Winnipeg's rich architectural and cultural history!


What is Doors Open Winnipeg? Doors Open Winnipeg is a FREE annual event, held on the last weekend of May, when buildings, events and tours with historical, architectural and cultural significance open their doors to the public throughout Winnipeg. Presented by Heritage Winnipeg, this year's event will the the 16th annual Doors Open Winnipeg, a…

Crescentwood - "Winnipeg's Best Residential District"

In the late 19th century, the City of Winnipeg was rapidly expanding. Previously residential areas were being turned over to accommodate the growth of the downtown area, which was bustling. The opening of the grain exchange in 1881, and the national railway connection in 1882, meant that there was suddenly a lot more business in Winnipeg than there had been before. With all this change in the downtown area, people began looking for a somewhat quieter place to call home.
Comparisons are odious and perhaps it is not well to call attention to the occupancy of some of the thoroughfares which were considered Winnipeg's finest streets some 6 - 10 years ago...(they are) central and built up, they have begun to deteriorate -advertisement for Crescentwood lots Free Press, September 13, 1902
The area south of the Assiniboine River was the answer. Although a few wealthy businessmen had built their homes by the river in the late 1880s, the area was still very much out of the way for many people.…

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: Breaking Point - Contract Negotiations Stall

The specific catalyst, the breaking point for the workers that provoked the Winnipeg General Strike, was a bargaining impasse between industry employers and a group of unions representing employees. Negotiations over a key issues in early 1919 seemed impossible to resolve as positions vigorously polarized. Two sets of contract negotiations converged in April and neither was going well.


The Metal Trades Council was bargaining for increased wages and shorter working hours. The owners of the ‘big three’ industries in the north end of Winnipeg: Manitoba Bridge and Iron Works, Vulcan Iron Works (which remains on Sutherland Avenue), and Dominion Bridge Company were adamant they would not bargain with the Council that sought to represent the various unions and their members – metal workers, tinsmiths, boilermakers, and machinists.


At the same time, the Building Trades Council, which represented workers in the skilled trades such as electricians and carpenters, was negotiating with the Build…

The Gated Glory that was Kilmorie: The Nanton Estate

In the early 20th century, Kilmorie, the estate of Sir Angustus and Lady Nanton was at the heart of Winnipeg's elite social and business circles. A family home, philanthropy base and entertainment hub, it was a sprawling, beautiful and luxurious property that spoke to the prosperity of the young city. Its grandeur was its downfall, demolished by the very people who owned it, unwilling to cover the cost of its upkeep. Now the gatehouse, converted into residential space, is also facing the wrecking ball, another piece of Winnipeg's irreplaceable history soon to be lost.

Augustus Meredith Nanton was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1860. His alcoholic father, a barrister, passed away when Nanton was just 13, leaving a wife and five children behind. To help support his family, Nanton left school and took up a position as an office boy for the real estate firm. After two years in real estate, Nanton moved to the brokerage firm of Pellatt and Osler to work as a junior clerk. The move was …

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: The Western Labour Conference in Calgary

In March 1919, about 240 union delegates attended the Western Inter-Provincial Convention in Calgary to discuss a number of common issues. The conference followed the Quebec City TLC convention the previous September, and the purpose was to assure “the voice of protest should be heard”. Delegates from Winnipeg put forward one resolution on a six-hour work day and a five day week for all labour. Union representatives discussed strengthening their bargaining power and endorsed the concept of industrial unionism. The model proposed was to create One Big Union (OBU) to bring together all the unions in Canada, to collaborate and provide both bargaining and political support. While the idea of unifying unions across Canada was not novel, the industry base versus the craft base to unionization was reflecting significant change to come. The unions were seeing proof they could exert more power when workers collaborated with other trades or within industrial sectors.


The impetus for this collab…