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Showing posts from December, 2014

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…