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The Vaughan Street Jail - Part Two

The former Vaughan Street Detention Centre at 444 York Avenue was originally called the Eastern Provincial District Gaol and opened its foreboding doors in 1881. Over the next 50 years it would serve as a prison for inmates serving two years or less that arrived from Western Ontario, the territories of Alberta and Saskatchewan and all of what later became Manitoba.


Men were incarcerated for various crimes such as theft, cattle stealing, opening letters, drunkenness, arson, rape and murder. Of the more infamous characters were two men convicted of a mass murder, killing a family with a shotgun and axe. These two men were the first to hang at the eastern Gaol. Others include Bloody Jack Krafchencko and Earl Nelson, Winnipeg's first serial killer.

Women often were arrested for similar crimes but in addition, infanticide and prostitution. The youngest of inmates consisted of children as young as five years of age who were arrested for such crimes as theft, truancy, harassing horses, a…

The Vaughan Street Jail - Part One

The former Vaughan Street Detention Centre at 444 York Avenue was originally called the Eastern Provincial District Gaol and opened its foreboding doors in 1881. Over the next 50 years it would serve as a prison for inmates serving two years or less that arrived from Western Ontario, the territories of Alberta and Saskatchewan and all of what later became Manitoba.

Men, women, and children served sentences here, sharing cells with each other and also people suffering from mental illness were housed here. This building, unlike any other in Winnipeg, serves as a marker for many different aspects of Winnipeg's history, not just criminal history but also history of corrections in Manitoba, working class and women's history, medical and psychiatric history, and children's history too.


Above all, this old and under-used structure offers a unique aspect to our province's history, shedding light on events and people that not only altered local history but also the nation'…

A Tasteful Change: The Ashdown House

Winnipeg's premier steakhouse, 529 Wellington, is an excellent example of adaptive reuse of a heritage property. It is an iconic home in the Crescentwood neighbourhood, from a time when Winnipeg was booming, that now functions as a successful restaurant. In many ways this building reminded might you of Ralph Connor House - both are mansions built for the city's elite of the day. Owned and run by WOW Hospitality, 529 Wellington still carries the air of a family home. You half expected children to come running down the stairs while you waited to be seated!


Over several years, Heritage Winnipeg played an important advocacy role in working together with the community and the City of Winnipeg, to approve the re-zoning and re-use of this historic home. The designation still allowed the building to be re-modeled as a restaurant all the while keeping and protecting its heritage integrity. Ultimately it is a great way to continue occupying this significant heritage property and by op…

Heritage at Risk: The William E. Milner House

A brief history of the William E. Milner House at 51 Balmoral Street, which as of 2014 is at risk of demolition by neglect.


1865 - William Edwin Milner is born in Brampton, Ontario, where he would eventually serve as mayor for four years prior to his move to Winnipeg.

1893 - William H. Milner, eldest son of William E. and Charlotte Milner, is born in Brampton, Ontario.

1903 - Land originally granted to James Spence is subdivided into 63 lots along the south side of Balmoral Street and the east side of Spence Street. James Spence was an  former Hudson's Bay Company employee who had farmed the property for many years.

1907 - William E. Milner moves to Winnipeg as the new western manager of the Maple Leaf Flour Mills Company, bringing his family along with him.

1909 - A house is built for William E. Milner and family at what is now 51 Balmoral Street. The work was completed by local contractor George W. Ford for a cost of $8000. It is constructed based on a revival of the Dutch Colo…

Dalnavert Museum & Visitors' Centre (Sir Hugh John Macdonald House)

Article by Laura McKay, on behalf of Heritage Winnipeg Corp.
To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.


"Built in 1895, Dalnavert is a fine regional example of the Queen Anne Revival style, popular from about 1880 to 1914. Its asymmetrical composition in brick, varied massing and rich interior decoration are typical of this eclectic style, which is loosely based on late medieval and early Renaissance British models. The expansive verandah, common to the style in Canada and the United States, unites the house and its setting. Designed by Charles H. Wheeler, Dalnavert was built for Sir Hugh John Macdonald, premier of Manitoba 1899-1900." ~ text from plaque installed by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (1995) ~
Brief History of 61 Carlton Street

1893 - Hugh John Macdonald purchases the land at what is now 61 Carlton Street.

1895 - The house at 61 Carlton Street is built for Hugh John Macdonald and his f…