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Closing the Door on the 14th Annual Doors Open Winnipeg Event

It was a time to celebrate at the 2017 Doors Open Winnipeg Volunteer Reception and People's Choice Awards at the King's Head Pub in the Exchange. Heritage Winnipeg hosted the event, thanking the dedicated volunteers in attendance who generously contributed endless hours to make Doors Open Winnipeg an incredibly successful event. Over 500 volunteers helped make this year's event the biggest, most successful event to date. It was also the seventh year in which the People's Choice Awards were held.

The People's Choice Awards represent five categories, Best Restoration, Best Guided Tour or Programming, Best Architecture, Best Experience and the Hidden Gem. Online voting was open to the public, showcasing 91 amazing buildings and walking tours. Hundreds of votes poured in the week following Doors Open Winnipeg, making for a close race in several of the categories. In the end, the votes were tallied and the winners were rewarded for their efforts with framed original drawings of their buildings by local artist Robert Sweeney.

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre at 61 Carlton Street

The Dalnavert Museum and Visitor' Centre has undergone an incredible transformation through detailed restoration that is immediately visible to guests as they enter the 1895 home of Sir Hugh John MacDonald, son of Prime Minister John A MacDonald. The grand old house was nearly lost in the 1970s, and was slated for demolition. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and philanthropists, restoration to the house began almost immediately after the purchase.

Then again in 2014 Dalnavert Museum was closed and in risk of being lost forever. The Friends of Dalnavert Museum was formed and took over ownership with a new business model. In 2015 the museum officially reopened stronger than ever, guaranteeing it will be part of our social and architectural fabric for generations to come.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Dalnavert Museum and Visitor Centre was the manager of Dalnavert, Thomas McLeod and Susan Moffatt.
Vaughan Street Jail at 444 York Avenue

An unassuming building located at the corner of Vaughan Street and York Avenue, the Vaughan Street Jail represents our province's judicial history. The brave souls who dared to enter for Doors Open Winnipeg were treated to an theatrical tour and introduced to some of the prison's most infamous inmates. The performances were brought to life by Friends of the Vaughan Street Jail volunteers.

Originally the Eastern Judicial Gaol, the Vaughan Street Jail, designed by architect Charles Osborne Wickensen, was built in 1881 by the Province of Manitoba on land purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Children, women and men were all imprisoned in the building during its history, with the mentally ill receiving the most treacherous treatment. Significant hangings at the jail include those of notorious serial killers John "Bloody Jack" Krafchenko and Earle Leonard Nelson, the "Gorilla Killer". Today it no longer functions as a jail but instead has become the oldest provincially owned building still standing within city limits. 

Heritage Winnipeg would like to congratulate the Vaughan Street Jail for their unprecedented third win in the category of Best Guided Tour or Programming. Accepting the award on behalf of the Vaughan Street Jail was Kristen J. Treusch.
Now available for purchase
Forgotten History: The Untold Stories of Manitoba's First Provincal Jail 1881-1930  
by Kristen J. Treusch

Canadian Museum for Human Rights at 85 Israel Asper Way - new this year

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights was a delight to the eyes of guests who came to marvel at the winning design envisioned by architect Antoine Predock. The soaring glass museum is the fruition of 14 years of planning, fundraising and construction, offically opening its doors on September 20, 2014.
"The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is rooted in humanity, making visible in the architecture the fundamental commonality of humankind-a symbolic apparition of ice, clouds and stone set in a field of sweet grass. Carved into the earth and dissolving into the sky on the Winnipeg horizon, the abstract ephemeral wings of a white dove embrace a mythic stone mountain of 450 million year old Tyndall limestone in the creation of a unifying and timeless landmark for all nations and cultures of the world."
-Antoine Predock, architect
Representatives of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights accepted the award on behalf of the museum.
The White House at 234 Portage Avenue

In 1904, Oldfield, Kirby and Gardener, then one of Winnipeg's most recognized and respected accounting firms, commissioned Winnipeg architect J.D. Atchinson to design a building that would command the attention of every passer by. The result of Atchinson's commission was The White House, a classical structure that retains its sense of impact to this day. The architectural equivalent of an exclamation point, The White House's impeccable design has continued to attract tenants long after its original owners went out of business in the late forties.

Michael Fillion and Richard Irving purchased The White House in 2006 with the intention of converting the 103 year old heritage structure into a personal residence and home office. The restoration took two and a half years with the final product being well worth the time and effort. Five original character elements were preserved, the main staircase was beautifully restored and marble colonnades and Romanesque busts added contributed to the neo-classical aesthetic. We applaud the owners for their dedication and commitment to the conservation of our city's built heritage.

Accepting the award on behalf of The White House was owner Michael Fillion.
McBeth House at 31 McBeth Avenue

On the west side of the Red River, a sprawling piece of land granted to the McBeth family in 1815 went on to become the family home for the next 134 years. Originally just used for farming, the first home on the property was built by Robert McBeth Sr. around 1850. It was a log building with a small store attached, of which only the foundation remains today.

Robert McBeth Jr. inherited the property from his father and after expanding his land holdings, commissioned the construction of a new house in 1912. William W. Cross designed the new house, built of red pressed brick in the Edwardian-style. The two and a half story home was located on the newly acquired land, adjacent to the older property. Far more spacious than the log building and elegantly appointed, it was indicative of upper class families of the period. McBeth Jr. died in 1915 but the house remained in the family, continuously lived in by members until 1984. At that time, the last living daughter of McBeth Jr., Isabel, passed away, willing the house to the City of Winnipeg. Today the house is a hidden oasis is a lush park like setting, providing a wonderful meeting place where all walks of life can enjoy with the dedication and commitment of volunteers.

Accepting the award on behalf of MeBeth House was Edna Krosney, senior's centre chair (tenants of the house) and board member.
And so concludes yet another successful Doors Open Winnipeg! Heritage Winnipeg would once again like to thank everyone who came out to visit some of our city's architecturally, socially and culturally significant heritage buildings. It is apparent by the incredible turnout of over 30 000 site visits that this event truly resonates with Winnipegger's and visitors. We feel it is imperative that we continue to showcase our city's incredible built heritage and have it contribute to the future of our community. Please remember to follow Heritage Winnipeg on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news on upcoming events. We hope to see you next year during the last weekend of May, the 26th and 27th of 2018!


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