Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Heritage Ball Fundraising Dinner: Honouring Bill & Shirley Loewen

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.

Heritage Ball Fundraising Dinner Invitation
Please consider this your personal invitation!
The Heritage Ball Fundraising Dinner honouring and celebrating the contributions of 
Bill and Shirley Loewen to the heritage community will be held 
Saturday, October 4, 2014 at the Fort Garry Hotel.

All proceeds from this event will go to support the work of Heritage Winnipeg. Our mission is to promote and encourage the conservation of historic/heritage structures and sites and attend to those matters which enhance and complement this purpose. Emphasis will be on restoration, revitalization, preservation, education and advocacy, in order to augment the cultural inheritance of the community, with consideration for pertinent logistics and feasibility. Heritage Winnipeg is responsible for numerous events and programs, including the city-wide Doors Open Winnipeg and the Annual Preservation Awards. Fundraising events such as this dinner help Heritage Winnipeg to continue these valuable contributions to the community and city of Winnipeg.

Bill & Shirley Loewen: A Lifetime of Support


Bill & Shirley Loewen: Philanthropists, Advocates, Volunteers, and Community Leaders
Philanthropists, Advocates, Volunteers and Community Leaders

Over the decades, Bill and Shirley Loewen have worked tirelessly to advocate, educate, and provide financial support for the rehabilitation of our built heritage. This includes their immense contributions and support to the Millennium Centre (former Bank of Commerce) at 389 Main Street, the Telpay building (former Canada Permanent Building/COMCHEQ) at 298 Garry Street, and for their ongoing contributions to the St. Norbert community for over 30 years, including the St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre (SNAC). Moreover, their support has provided the building blocks for many non-profit organizations to continue their mission and providing much needed sustainability for the heritage and arts community.

As part of the Loewens’ legacy, there is a vision to see the Millennium Centre transformed into a Heritage and Arts Centre in the Exchange District, a national historic site. The Heritage Winnipeg office and resource centre would relocate to this space, while the main floor would act as year-round public space and downtown hub for everyone to enjoy, providing important information, workshops, presentations, and exhibits, etc. The success of this heritage project, and its long term sustainability, would confirm that the Loewens understand how ongoing support can help contribute to and transform a downtown, a historic district, and a community.

Below is a sampling of the many projects which the Loewens have supported over the years:

The Millennium Centre
The Millennium Centre

The Telpay Building

The Behavioural Health Centre
Behavioural Health Centre

La Boucherie (St. Norbert)
La Boucherie (St. Norbert)

McDougall House
McDougall House

Ox Cart House
Ox Cart House

Place Saint-Norbert
Place Saint-Norbert

St. Norbert Arts Centre (SNAC)
St. Norbert Arts Centre (SNAC)

Trappist Monastery
Trappist Monastery

Urban Circle Training Centre
Urban Circle Training Centre

Art City
Art City


Heritage Ball Event Details

Heritage Ball Fundraising Dinner - You're Invited!
You're Invited!
WHO: You're invited! We want to see YOU, our generous supporters, at the event!

WHAT: Heritage Ball Fundraising Dinner: Honouring the contributions of Bill and Shirley Loewen to the heritage community.

WHEN: Saturday, October 4, 2014. Cocktails at 5:30pm, Dinner at 7:00pm.

WHERE: Provencher Room at the Fort Garry Hotel, 222 Broadway

WHY: To honour Bill & Shirley Loewen and to raise much-needed funds for our organization to continue our work with many important projects and events.

DETAILS: Door Prize & Live Music; Formal or Business Attire; Sponsorships Available! Event patronage $100 (mention in program).

COST: Tickets are $200 - click the ticket below to purchase yours from Heritage Winnipeg's Online Store! Tax receipt provided after the event. Cheques and credit cards accepted.

Click here to buy your ticket to the Heritage Ball Fundraising Dinner!
Scroll down to the "Event Tickets" section!

Know someone who might like to attend? 
Invite them to join the event on our Facebook page

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ralph Connor House: Best-Selling Author in Canadian History

Article by Laura McKay & Roshanie Balkaran (The Minions), on behalf of Heritage Winnipeg Corp.
To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.
Armstrong's Point
 Heritage Winnipeg staff with host & APA Chair, Thomas McLeod

On Friday, July 4th, Heritage Winnipeg accepted an invitation to the Stampede Breakfast held annually in Armstrong's Point. Hosted by Armstrong's Point Association chairperson Thomas McLeod and family, the breakfast presents a great opportunity to bring the community together. It also gave Heritage Winnipeg the opportunity to speak with mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis and tour the historic Ralph Connor House at 54 West Gate.

Armstrong's Point Association Heritage House Tour
The Armstrong's Point Association 
will be hosting their bi-annual Heritage House Tour! 
September 7, 2014 from 11:30am - 4:30pm
Tickets $25 from McNally Robinson

Ralph Connor House (54 West Gate)

1913-1914 - Construction of Ralph Connor House at an approximate cost of $50 000.

1976 - Rev. Gordon (Ralph Connor) was recognized as a Person of National Historic Significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

1983 - Designation of Ralph Connor House as an Historic Site by the City of Winnipeg.

2004 - The University Women's Club is recognized with a Heritage Winnipeg Distinguished Service Preservation Award for its ongoing commitment to conserving, protecting, and promoting Ralph Connor House.

2005 - Ralph Connor House is designated as a Provincial Historic Site.

2009 - Designation of Ralph Connor House as a National Historic Site.

Laura: I am ashamed to admit that until we went on this tour, I had never heard of Ralph Connor before, nor are the titles of his books familiar to me. As an English Major and someone who has taken Canadian Literature classes, this astonishes me. The beautiful house he left behind astounds me even more. Stepping through those doors is like stepping back in time; great care has been taken to preserve the house as it was, staying true to the small details. Our guide, Pam, even showed us shelves in one of the closet that still had the names of the Gordon children written on them. It may seem an insignificant detail, but in my opinion, that is what makes the history personal and gives the visitor something to connect with. We were so engrossed in our tour that we forgot to take many pictures, so my apologies for the lack thereof. However, I highly recommend taking a tour of this place - a picture doesn't quite do it justice anyway!

Reverand Charles W. Gordon, aka Ralph Connor
Pictured above is Reverand Charles W. Gordon, who wrote extensively under the pseudonym Ralph Connor. His published work includes fiction, non-fiction, and numerous pamphlets and short stories, as well as articles on the unemployment crisis of the day. He is considered the best-selling author in Canadian history, having sold millions of copies of his books. For a complete bibliography, click here. Besides being an accomplished author, Rev. Gordon was a minister, WW I chaplain, diplomat, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, one of the founders of the United Church of Canada, labour conciliator, philanthropist, negotiator, public speaker, social activist as well as father of seven children.
Helen Gordon, one of the first female graduates of the University of Manitoba
Helen Gordon and six of her children (photo from the Ralph Connor House website).
His wife, Helen Gordon, was also one of the first women to graduate with a degree from the University of Manitoba and ensured that all of her children were university educated as well. Helen Gordon was also very active and well-respected in her community and the United Church of Canada, of which her husband was one of the founders.

Ralph Connor House Exterior

Ralph Connor House was built in 1914 for Rev. Gordon and his family, who lived there until shortly after his death in 1937. Since 1939 it has been the home of the University Women's Club of Winnipeg. It is also currently used as a meeting and event centre, dedicated to fostering work in education, social justice, human rights, music, and literature. The Friends of Ralph Connor House own and maintain the building, much of which is completely original to the house. Many of the rooms look much the same as they did when they were used by the family, particularly Rev. Gordon's study, which is filled with books either owned or written by the esteemed author.

Ralph Connor House Exterior (Archival Photo)

University Women's Club of Winnipeg

The University Women's Club of Winnipeg was founded in 1909 and have called Ralph Connor House home for over 70 years. When it was founded, the Club was a means for recent female university graduates to stay in contact. Both the Club and its founder, Margaret McWilliams, were instrumental to the social and education reform in Winnipeg and Canada. Over the years, the Club has hosted guests such as J.S. Woodsworth, first leader of the CCF Party, predecessor to the New Democratic Party; Nellie McClung, a suffragist who was instrumental to Canadian women being declared persons in 1929; Dr. Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist; and more recently, Canada’s Governor General, Michaelle Jean.

For more information, check out the UWC Website.
University Women's Club of Winnipeg

For more information about what the future holds for the UWC and Ralph Connor House, check out this brochure for the "Ralph Connor House: Renewal for the 21st Century" project.

Sources & Links

Armstrong's Point: A History by Randy Rostecki
Canada's Historic Places - Ralph Connor House 
City of Winnipeg Historical Reports - Ralph Connor House/54 West Gate
Friends of Ralph Connor House 
Historica Canada - Article on Ralph Connor
Manitoba Historical Society Memorable Manitobans - Rev. Charles William Gordon
Manitoba Historical Society Article - Helen Gordon  
The Official Ralph Connor House Website 
Ralph Connor House National Historic Site of Canada 
University Women's Club Website
Stay tuned for another article about Armstrong's Point
their Heritage House tour that took place last weekend!

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A Minion Farewell

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

Roshanie (and Laura) finished work at Heritage Winnipeg the last week of August
Roshanie (and Laura) finished work at Heritage Winnipeg the last week of August.
Well the time has come for us to say goodbye - this week we will be returning to university, but first we wanted to leave you with a little tidbit of what it was like to work for Heritage Winnipeg this summer.

Laura: So just as a reminder, I was hired at the end of May 2014 through the Young Canada Works program.

Roshanie: And I started at Heritage Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Foundation's Summer Internship Program at the beginning of July. This week I will be starting my first year at the University of Manitoba's Asper School of Business. 

Laura: And I will be returning for my fourth year in the Honours English Program through the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Arts. 

Laura at work in the Heritage Winnipeg office
Laura working in the Heritage Winnipeg office.
Laura: I can honestly say that working for Cindy at Heritage Winnipeg has been a very unique experience - I had worked both in the historical/non-profit sector before, but never on this scale. The sheer amount of organizing involved with putting on Doors Open Winnipeg completely blew my mind. And I was only there for the last two weeks of the prep work! It's very different from working in a little museum in a small town, where my previous experience lay.

Roshanie: I would have to agree with you - working with Heritage Winnipeg was my first opportunity to work for a non-profit, which was very different for me. It is a much more relaxed atmosphere, which made me a lot more independent - instead of someone always telling me exactly what I had to do, I needed to figure it out for myself. It was also different being in the office every day with only two other people, instead of a whole team of people you barely know. You get to know one another and become very comfortable with each other. 

HW Executive Director Cindy Tugwell, Roshanie, and Laura at the Millennium Centre.
HW Executive Director Cindy Tugwell, Roshanie, and Laura at the Millennium Centre.
Laura: Yeah, non-profits have very different priorities. It isn't about how much money you can make but rather about the relationships and the ways you can benefit the community, which is a totally different attitude from a business. Because of this, we were able to do some really unique things this summer - tours, events, a membership drive, and even starting this blog. 

Roshanie: We also got the chance to meet some really cool people, from people who work at city hall to passionate caretakers of our local heritage. For example, I got the chance to meet Rina Ricci and Murray Peterson from the city's Urban Design Division on a trip with one of my mentors, Giles Bugailiskis. 

Laura: Another example would be the tours we were privileged to go on - we did several that were really interesting but hands down, my favourite was Ralph Connor House (blog post to come). As an aspiring writer, it was inspiring to be in a place that was built with the wealth acquired by a successful author. I just love the vibes in that place.

Cindy, Laura, and Roshanie at Armstrong's Point, before the tour of Ralph Connor House.
Cindy, Laura, and Roshanie at Armstrong's Point, before the tour of Ralph Connor House.
Roshanie: You and your vibes. I adored the scenery along Waterfront Drive that we saw while on our East Exchange District BIZ Walking Tour. It was relaxing and there weren't a ton of cars - you really didn't feel like you were downtown. It's kind of hard to believe that the area used to be part of the rail system in Winnipeg.

Roshanie and Laura with Exchange District BIZ tour guide, Maddi.
Roshanie and Laura with Exchange District BIZ tour guide, Maddi.
Laura: Some other places we went included McBeth House Centre, the West End BIZ Mural Tour, the Millennium Centre and the Music at the Millennium that was held on Tuesdays at noon.

Roshanie: Don't forget City Hall, the Manitoba Archives, the city's Planning Property & Development Department, and our explorations of the Exchange District for the Membership Drive.

Laura: By the way, if you haven't renewed, there will be another draw on September 30, 2014 - we were perhaps a little over-enthusiastic gathering donations and the businesses in the Exchange were so generous, we were able to extend the drive for one more month!

Roshanie: A little over-enthusiastic? We went to town! It was amazing to see that the local businesses were so willing to contribute to our organization. However, visiting all of those businesses to ask for donations made me much more comfortable in a part of the city that I didn't really know before. I was quite shy when it came to actually speaking to the owners but with Laura's help, we were successful in our mission.

Roshanie poses with the "Explore the Exchange" Membership Drive prize packs for August and September
Roshanie poses with the "Explore the Exchange" Membership Drive prize packs for August & September.
Laura: You make it sound like we went to outer space or something haha. On a totally different note, I must say that we really lucked out this summer - sometimes you end up with coworkers that you don't really click with very well, and that can make two months drag on forever. We had the opposite problem. We clicked and now we can't believe the summer is already over! Where did those two months go?

Roshanie: Like peanut butter and jelly!   

Laura: I prefer peas in a pod. Less creepy. 

Roshanie: Anyway... In all seriousness, this summer was one of the best and most productive for me. Now do not fear - you will still see posts from us throughout the winter months because we've archived many of our experiences for future posts. 

Laura: I will also be volunteering this fall writing more posts, to carry the blog up to the arrival of next year's student(s). 

So cheers from both of us and thanks for a great summer!

Yours Truly, 
The Minions

The Minions, Roshanie and Laura, in front of McBeth House
The Minions, aka Roshanie and Laura, in front of McBeth House
What was your favourite post this summer? 
Tell us in the comments! 

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