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Showing posts from October, 2017

Haunted Heritage

As Halloween will soon be upon us it seems like a good time to talk about heritage and hauntings. A great number of heritage buildings are said to be haunted. This should not be unexpected as supernatural and heritage worlds both share a common connection to the past. This connection is especially true when talking about museums. Museums are places that showcase the past. They exhibit to the visitor the way we used to live but they can be much more than that. As Jay Winters says: “Museums are, in a way, the cathedrals of the modern world, places where sacred issues are expressed and where people come to reflect on them.”[i] The theme of reflection fits well with the spirit world. If museums function as the connection between the past and the present, and ghosts come from the past to visit the present, it should not be surprising the museums would often find themselves the home of supernatural activity.
In the early 1900s Winnipeg was growing rapidly and plans were drawn up to build sev…

The Stories Our Buildings Tell: Tragedy and Mystery in North Point Douglas

Behind the buff brick walls of 187 Sutherland Avenue in Winnipeg hides a story of mystery and intrigue. An unassuming two story building in the North Point Douglas neighbourhood, the façade gives no hint as to what tragedy transpired there in 1928. Cheerful arches with decorative keystones grace the entrance and windows on the front façade, with a brick cornice detail running along the roofline, giving no suggestion of heartache. In a neighbourhood where immigrants came to start a new life, a little girl’s life was cut short leaving unanswered questions that haunted those involved for years to come.
In 1812, the Selkirk Settlers arrived at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. With Fort Gibraltar already established by the North West Company at this location, Governor Miles Macdonell choose to lead the settlers further north along the Red River, to an area on the west side which had been cleared by fire in recent years. The land was divided into long narrow river lots for set…

Heritage Heroes: Historic Oak Room Preserved for a New Chapter in Our History

In 1904, two referendums on prohibition had failed to ban liquor in Manitoba. A livery stable stood at 285 Smith Street in Winnipeg and the 31 year old, Winnipeg based Dominion Express Company opened the doors to it new stables at 108-112 Alexander Avenue. Fast forward 113 years to 2017: Manitoba’s three year old Liquor and Gaming Control Act is the first major liquor legislative update since 1956, and the St. Regis Hotel at 285 Smith Street is set to be demolished for a parkade and a new micro distillery is opening in the former Dominion Express Company Building. The three events may seem unconnected, but they are set to join forces and make new history with Winnipeg’s heritage.

Liquor has been legislated in Canada since 1657, with the Hudson’s Bay Company playing a large role in the control of liquor sales until 1870. Eight years later in 1878, a provincial liquor commission was established in Manitoba, which decided the bar to people ratio in the province should be 1:300. By 1883 Ma…