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Celebrating Heritage Day 2019

On February 18th, 2019 Heritage Winnipeg celebrated Heritage Day. Heritage Day was created by the National Trust for Canada in 1973 to "preserve and promote Canada's natural, architectural, and historical heritage" (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Although it is not a official national holiday, it is celebrated throughout Canada, usually on the third Monday of February.

Heritage embodies both tangible and intangible pieces of our collective history: music, language, stories, pictures, maps, documents, artifacts, regalia, traditions, buildings, meeting places and so much more! It brings us together and reminds us that we are all connected; to each other, the past, the present and the future. What started over 45 years ago as a single day dedicated to heritage has now grown into an entire week. In 2019, Heritage Week is celebrated from February 18th to 24th. The National Trust's theme for Heritage Week in 2019 is "Heritage: The Tie that Binds".


To celebrate Herita…
Recent posts

Modernism for the Masses - The St. Vital Library

St. Vital is home to one of the most unique public library buildings found in Winnipeg. Built in 1962-1963, the International Style building was designed to fit an odd shaped piece of property, resulting in a memorable modernist design. Over 50 years after opening, the building retains its original form and function, providing literature for the public in an outstanding setting. In May of 2014 the City of Winnipeg recognized the historical and cultural significance of the building and added to the List of Historic Resources, ensuring it is protected for generations to come.


In the 1950s the Municipality of St. Vital was experiencing a period of development and modernization, transforming the once rural, agriculturally focused area in to a more urban and populated one. The residents of the area had already expressed their desire for a library in 1948, and their request was finally addressed in 1954, when with it's increasing prosperity, St. Vital opened its first public library. Th…

A Blazing Success - The Bright and Johnston Building

The north east corner of Bannatyne Avenue and Rorie Street in the East Exchange District was once dominated by three buildings, all of a coordinating design. First built was 137 Bannatyne Avenue, in 1882-1883. It was a narrow three storey building with a buff brick facade, design by the Winnipeg architecture firm of Willmot and Stewart. It seems to have been built as a speculative project by the firm Turner, McKeand and Company, a grocery wholesaler that never occupied the building. In March in 1883, the same grocery wholesaler moved 60 feet west to the corner lot and started construction on an identical building designed by the same architect, only this time it was finished in red brick. The red brick building then became the home of Turner, McKeand and Company.


In 1894, a spur line of the Winnipeg Transfer Railway was built between Bannatyne Avenue and Market Avenue. This development was very useful for warehouses in the area and greatly increased the property values. The grocery wh…

Music Meets Modernist - The Centennial Concert Hall

Winnipeg’s Modernist Quarter is a small section in the northern part of the Exchange District, a living example of the architectural boom that took place in Winnipeg from the 1960s to early 1970s. The roots of modernism can be traced back to the late 19th century, when advances in technology allowed increased architectural innovation. Winnipeg’s modernist buildings more draw inspiration from Brutalism and the International styles, which were developed throughout the 1930s and 40s.

Many of Winnipeg’s mid-century modern buildings are located on Broadway, which underwent extensive alterations throughout the 1940s and onwards. A smaller collection exists in the Exchange, limited to a stretch of around four blocks between Princess and Rorie Street. Most prominent are the ones along main street, namely City Hall and the Centennial Center. The Centennial is home to the Manitoba Museum and the Centennial Concert Hall, both designed as part of a project to celebrate Manitoba and Canada’s cente…

From Housewares to Home - The Porter / Galpern Building

Well over 100 years ago, when Winnipeg was in its infancy, there stood a blacksmith's shop at the north west corner of McDermot Avenue and Rorie Street. Owned by John W. Aikins in the 19th century, it was sold to William Camerson around 1900, who subsequently sold it to James Porter and Company. James Porter and Company would replace the blacksmith's shop with the Porter Building in 1906, a six story warehouse that still stands proudly in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District over 110 years later. In 1985 it was added to the City of Winnipeg's List of Historic Resources, recognizing its significance and protecting it from demolition. Today it is an outstanding example of adaptive reuse, taking an historic building and breathing new life into it with a new function while maintaining its historic integrity.


James Porter had arrived in Winnipeg from Ontario in 1881 as a 29 year old. Taking advantage of Winnipeg's booming economy, central geographic location and excelle…