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Showing posts from 2016

The Evolution of a Edifice - The Federal Building

The corner of Main Street and William Stephenson Way has a long and complex history, continually evolving to meet the needs of a growing city. An oddly shaped lot, a variety of buildings have stood there before the Depression area Federal Building was erected, providing much needed jobs for hundreds of labourers. In 1990 the federal government recognized its architectural and historical value with a designation as a federal heritage building.

The very first building to stand at that location was the Grace Church, built in 1871. Over the next decade a number of small commercial establishments popped up, as well as a residential unit on that corner which served as a classroom for the newly created Winnipeg School Division before the Central School was constructed.

As it was prime land, and the Northern Pacific Railway Company wanted to build a hotel on it. Their plans were realized when the Manitoba Hotel opened on the site on New Year’s Day, 1892. It predated the Royal Alexandra Hotel

The Firefighter's Museum of Winnipeg

Fire Hall No. 3, located on 56 Maple Street, was an active fire hall in Winnipeg until 1990. It was built in 1904 and was one of five fire halls built in Winnipeg that year. Those plans for Fire Hall no. 3 would be used to build 14 more fire halls in the city.

Winnipeg's early buildings were built primarily with wooden frames. Wood frame buildings are inherently more susceptible to fire, and buildings back then weren't anywhere near what we would consider fire safe by modern standards. Fire was a deadly concern for Winnipeg and other North American cities. The Great Chicago Fire raged for two days in October of 1871. The fire killed 300 people and destroyed much of Chicago's downtown, primarily wooden frame buildings.

Wooden buildings being built closer and closer together made fire a growing concern for the growing city of Winnipeg. On September 24, 1874, Winnipeg's first volunteer fire brigade formed. Some of the members were prominent Winnipeg men. A few of the membe…

The Ukrainian Labour Temple

The Ukrainian Labour Temple at 591 Pritchard Avenue, at the corner of McGregor Street was once one of many such temples across Manitoba and Canada. Now, it is one of the few of its kind left, and it is the largest and oldest of all.

The Ukrainian Labour Temple was constructed from 1918-1919. Individual donations financed much of the project, and volunteer labourers brought the temple from a vision into reality. The Ukrainian Level Temple is recognized as a heritage structure by all three levels of government. It has municipal designation from the City of Winnipeg, provincial designation from the Province of Manitoba, and is a National Historic Site of Canada.

The Ukrainian Labour Temple Association (ULTA) was established in Winnipeg in 1918. The group began planning to build the Labour Temple. They initially raised $5,600 toward the building, and by the end of 1918 they successfully raised $50,000 in donations to go toward the building.

The Labour Temple was designed by Robert Edgar …

The Oldest Home in Winnipeg - Seven Oaks House

Take a guess, what do you think the oldest house in Winnipeg is? Maybe Ralph Connor House? No, too recent. Louis Riel House? Getting closer, but not quite. The oldest home in Winnipeg, is Seven Oaks House at 50 Mac Street.

The house was home to prominent Winnipeg family, the Inksters. John Inkster laid the foundations for the house in 1851. He chose a location in the Parish of Kildonan, near seven large oak trees. These were not just any oak trees, 35 year earlier in that spot, the Battle of Seven Oaks occurred.

John Inkster was born in the Orkney Islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland in 1799. He came to Canada in 1821 at the age of 22 to work for the Hudson's Bay Company as a stonemason.

However, once he arrived, he paid the company a sum of money in return for letting him go from his employment without ever actually doing any stonemasonry work for them. His son Colin said that he believes the foundation John Inkster laid for Seven Oaks House was the only stonemasonry wo…

Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Education Centre

Long before 184 Alexander Avenue was home to the Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Education Centre, the building was home to the British and Foreign Bible Society. The Bible Society was formed in England in 1804, with the intent to bring the word of the Bible to "heathen" people across the world. This Bible society came to Canada in 1808, and they quickly began translating the Bible into numerous languages and distributing copies of it.

The Bible Society hoped they would be able to use the word of God to help the new immigrants and the other poor and disenfranchised people in the North End to better their lives.

The Bible Society purchased the property 184 Alexander Avenue in 1911 at a cost of $14,000 and construction of their building began in the summer of 1912. They chose their location because the North End of Winnipeg was home to a large population of recent immigrants, and many of them were very poor, with few opportunities to make a strong start for their new lives. …

Fort Street & Notre Dame

The Vendome Hotel This week, the Vendome Hotel, located at 308 Fort Street, made it onto the agenda at City Hall to the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Development.   The recommendation was from the Historical Buildings and Resources Committee for this 118-year-old hotel to be added to the List of Historical Resources under the Historical Resources By-law 55/2014 with the following Character Defining Elements:

A.  Exterior:

1.  Four-storey brick building with a flat roof located on the west side of Fort Street, its main facade east onto Fort Street, its south facade partially hidden by neighbouring building, and its west and north facades facing the back lane; and

2.  The front (east) facade with ground floor openings with arched transoms with leaded glass, the upper floors with ornamental brickwork and windows in arches openings and flag pole.

B.  Interior:

1.  Wood finishes of the main (south) staircase including the handrail on the north side.


The Winnipeg Police Service & The Winnipeg Police Museum

Early Winnipeg & The Police In its beginning, Winnipeg grew rapidly. According to the Dominion Census, Winnipeg had a population of just 241 people in 1871. When it officially became a city in 1874, it was close to 5,000. Such a huge jump in population meant more crime, and the Winnipeg Police Force had to respond. When the CPR arrived in Winnipeg in 1881 there was another large influx, and the population rose to 7,985. People came from other parts of Canada, and many immigrants came from overseas. In 1911 the population reached 136,035. The city expanded to new suburbs, and was comprised of about 25 square miles.   Winnipeg was the last urban city point before the “wild" North-West, and Winnipeg always had some of that “wild” in it. There was a lot of liquor and prostitution, both of which were major issues for the police force. The first Chief of Police, John Ingram, had a reputation as a scrapper. The mayor at the time did not think well of him at all. Ingram also had a well-…