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Showing posts from December, 2018

2018: A Year of Success and A Future Full of Challenges

It was another wonderful and challenging year at Heritage Winnipeg! 2018 marked our 40th anniversary and was filled with fantastic events and hard work advocating for Winnipeg's built heritage. As we look back, Heritage Winnipeg is grateful for all of our supports that makes our invaluable work possible, and thank you to everyone who came out to our events to celebrate built heritage with us. Winnipeg's built heritage is an irreplaceable architectural, social and cultural asset that belongs to everyone, and we are privileged to advocate for its conservation so that it may be protected for generations to come.


January 2018 began with the volunteer judging committee of Neil Einarson, Murray Peterson, Les Stechesen, Wins Bridgman and Lisa Gardewine visiting the nominees for the 33rd Annual Preservation Awards. The awards are held annually to recognize the people and building projects dedicated to the protection, restoration and conservation of Winnipeg's built heritage. The …

Winnipeg's Original Christmas Headquarters: The Imperial Dry Goods Store

Before Winnipeg had Eaton’s, it had the Imperial Dry Goods Store. Built in 1899 by wholesale merchant Robert Jones Whitla, the Imperial Dry Goods Block was one of many buildings under Whitla’s control. Whitla, Irish-born, arrived in Manitoba in 1878 where he began selling dry goods out of a store on Main Street. Four years later, in 1882, Whitla partnered with Dawson Kerr Elliot to create R.J. Whitla & Company. Together, Kerr and Whitla supplied wholesale clothing, fabrics, and furs to the rapidly developing Canadian west. By all accounts, the company was a success and between 1884-1899 R.J. Whitla & Co constructed three new warehouses throughout the Exchange District to store their goods.

However, until 1899, Whitla & Co didn’t cater directly to the Winnipeg market.
This all changed when ground broke on Whitla’s newest project: The Imperial Dry Goods Department Store; a brand-new retail wholesaler that was located right in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. The store’s grand …