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Showing posts from June, 2018

City Hall: The Heart of Winnipeg's Decision Making

The current City Hall is the third of Winnipeg's municipal government centres. It was built in 1962-1963 and officially opened in 1964. A classic and defining example of the Modernist style of architecture, City Hall consists of two separate buildings, one for administrative works and the other for council. City Hall, including both buildings and the associated outdoor spaces, was given municipal heritage designation on January 5th, 2015, and has often welcomed the public for tours during Doors Open Winnipeg

Those familiar with Winnipeg's history would be able to tell you that the current iteration is in fact the third City Hall building in Winnipeg over the years. The very first City Hall was built in Winnipeg just three years after Winnipeg was incorporated (although the settlement had been called Winnipeg for a few years prior). So in 1876, around $40,000 was spent to construct the first City Hall building - right on top of a poorly-filled-in Brown's Creek. Brown'…

Pantages Playhouse Theatre: "Unequalled Vaudeville"

The Pantages Playhouse Theatre is one of of 75 theatres (today only six remain) built by Alexander Pantages in the early 20th century, and is the last-standing vaudeville theatre in Winnipeg. It is located at 180 Market Avenue east in the heart of the East Exchange District. It is a municipally (1981), provincially (2004), and federally (1985) designated heritage building.

Picture this - Winnipeg, in the early years of the 20th century, buoyed by the prosperous grain farmers on the surrounding prairies, the city is in its prime. After the bustling workday is through, Winnipeggers had their choice of evening entertainment at the many different theatres the city had to offer. Elegant productions were shown at places like the Walker Theatre (now the Burton Cummings) or those inclined could choose more lively variety shows - Vaudeville. There were a number of dedicated vaudeville theatres in Winnipeg: the Dominion Theatre, the Bijou Theatre, and the Orpheum Theatre, but only one remains t…

Ross House - Historic House, Community Pride

Ross House Museum, owned by the city of Winnipeg, is located at 140 Meade St. N in North Point Douglas, and has been opened annually in the summertime since 1953, except in 1984 when it was moved from Higgins Ave to Joe Zuken Heritage Park. The oldest post office in Western Canada was built on land gifted to Alexander Ross in the 1820s, and was occupied by the Ross', a prominent Metis family, for many years. 

When Alexander Ross brought his Okanogan/Syilx wife Sarah, and his four children, to the new Red River settlement, they quickly made it their home. It was Alexander and Sarah Ross' son, William Ross, who would build Ross House in 1854 for himself and his wife Jemima. 
"The Rocky Mountains, or Back Lone of America, is truly a great sight. We had to pass them in the customary manner on snow shoes. My destination is Red River, a colony settled in Hudson Bay by the late lord Selkirk. This colony is said to be thriving. In my next letter I shall give you a full account of i…

Heritage at Risk: The former Carnegie Library - City of Winnipeg Archives

The former Carnegie Library is located at 380 William Avenue, aptly named for the $75,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, was built in 1905 as the city's very first public library, and is currently owned by the City of Winnipeg. It was designed in the Classical Revival style by notable Winnipeg Architect Samuel Hooper (appointed provincial architect in 1904), and features the Manitoba crest on its pediment. This year, the National Trust of Canada included Winnipeg's former Carnegie Library on their 2018 Top Ten Endangered Buildings. Unless action is taken soon to repair this historic building and re-occupy it, damage will continue to occur until the building's repairs become too cost-prohibitive to be feasible.

The former Carnegie Library is one of the most at-risk buildings in Winnipeg, from the National Trust for Canada:
...the former Carnegie Library remains empty and in limbo with no funds allocated by the City for restoration, and an active search is underway for a new long…