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Showing posts from September, 2018

Barber House: Over 150 Years in North Point Douglas

Barber House is located at 99 Euclid Avenue in North Point Douglas, and was built in 1862. Notable for its connections to Winnipeg's earliest families, it is a municipally (1990) and provincially (1987) designated heritage building. 

A small, brightly-painted house sits on Euclid Avenue in Point Douglas, with a little diamond window on the second floor attic. Although newly restored, the house is over 150 years old, and has seen more of Winnipeg's history than almost any other building still standing. Barber House is named for Winnipeg's own Edmund Lorenzo Barber, a humorously unsuccessful merchant that immigrated to what was then the Red River Settlement in 1860. Barber, an American, moved to Canada to head up a store that his cousin had brought from dry-goods wholesaler W.G. Fonseca.

Soon after moving to the Red River Settlement, Barber made one of the most, if not the most, business-savvy moves of his career and married Barbara Logan, the Countryborn (Anglo-Metis) daugh…

The Streetcar and the Strike: A Reflection on the 100th Anniversary

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 has been forever immortalized by L.B. Foote's photo of strikers tipping a streetcar in front of City Hall. As a result, the streetcar has become a symbol of the strike itself, workers uniting to fight for a better life. Streetcars have a history of being involved in labour reform, and were both operated by and used by the many of the people who went on strike in 1919. The streetcar would even became the center of a violent conflict between strikers and officials in 1919 that ultimately brought the Strike to an end.

The first electric streetcar took to the tracks of the Park Line in Winnipeg on January 27, 1891, with free rides for all on opening day. Owned by the Winnipeg Street Railway, the introduction of the electric streetcar in Winnipeg was result of young Albert W. Austin's dogged efforts. Winnipeg became the fifth city in Canada with electric streetcars, ahead of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and even New York. Doubtful city councillors h…

Historic Houses in Winnipeg - From Settlement to Spectacular

Winnipeg as we know it is the "smallest big city around" - home to over 700,000 people and yet most everyone knows someone you know. With new developments expanding the city limits (looking at you, Bridgewater Forest), it's difficult to imagine what Winnipeg was like over 150 years ago, before it was even officially a city. Let's rewind a few dozen years and look at what kinds of houses people were living in when they came to Winnipeg.

1851 - Seven Oaks House
Originally home to John Inkster, previously site of the Battle of Seven Oaks, and currently home to the Seven Oaks Museum at 50 Mac Street, this house was built from 1851 - 1853 and is one of the earliest surviving examples of its kind. Inkster seems to have spared no expense and splashed out on imported glass windows for his new home. Coming from the barren Orkney Islands in Scotland, Inkster represents one of the earliest waves of immigrants to Manitoba. The house itself is a simplified Georgian style, with lar…

Rising to the Challenge - The James Avenue Pumping Station

The James Avenue Pumping Station is located at 109 James Avenue, just north of the East Exchange District. It received municipal heritage designation on November 15, 1982, and it is currently being redeveloped into a mixed use building. 

The stately grandeur of the James Avenue Pumping Station at 109 James Avenue is immediately apparent when approaching the building - set back from Waterfront Drive, the ghost of the former rail lines lies in the extra space between the pumping station and the road. When it was built, the James Avenue Pumping Station was the largest and most impressive building of its kind in North America, and was built to last. The architects, engineers, and construction workers who built this high pressure pumping station subscribed to a different kind of motto - solid, massive structures that would last not just one lifetime, but several.

The James Avenue Pumping Station was opened in 1907, designed by Henry Norlande Ruttan, who was the first City of Winnipeg Engin…