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LOST! Winnipeg's Spectacular Streetcars

Winnipeg's streetcars have vanished - sold, scrapped, crushed, burned and buried - erased from history with only the fading memories of an aging generation to cling to. Once the height of modernity which made Winnipeg a desirable place to live and drove its development, today the streetcars have disappeared without a trace, without a single reminder of their invaluable contribution to the making of a prosperous young city. Why have they faded from our collective conscious when other cities capitalize on their rich history and endearing charm, drawing in locals and tourist alike? Of the 433 magnificent streetcars that once road the 120 miles of rail in Winnipeg, today only one remains, Streetcar 356. Reluctantly rescued, volunteers have steadily worked on restoring it to its former glory, determined to save this last precious remnant of Winnipeg's streetcar history before it is lost forever.


On a crisp October morning in 1882, Winnipegger's excitedly gathered on Main Street…

Main Street's Bankers' Row - An Historically Significant Streetscape

At the close of the First World War an informed pedestrian walking south on Main Street from the gingerbread style city hall to Portage and Main would have marvelled at Winnipeg's magnificent bank architecture representing most of Canada's major financial institutions. Along the west side of Main Street our pedestrian would have passed the Union Bank high rise with one of the tallest flag poles in the British Empire, the small but attractive Trader's Bank, the palazzo style Royal Bank, its elaborate marble colonnaded Bank of Toronto neighbour, the highly eclectic Dominion Bank and the neo-Palladian Bank of British North America. Across Main Street the buildings became even more elaborate. There our pedestrian would have admired the Imperial Bank executed in what was considered to be the Bank of England style and the recently completed Bank of Hamilton with a two storey monumental banking hall base. Nearing Portage Avenue the monumental and neo-classical Canadian Bank …

Flexibility for Sustainability - The St. Boniface Normal School

Tucked away at the corner of Masson Street and Aulneau Street, in the center of St. Boniface, is the St. Boniface Normal School building. An old teaching college repurposed and adapted to the fit the changing needs of the community, it still stands today as a landmark of the area’s history.


Several years after the Public Schools Act of 1897 allowed bilingual education in Manitoba, the St. Boniface Normal School at 210 Masson Street was established as a means of training new teachers for the French speaking community.

When the school opened in 1902, the first floor featured a kitchen, dining hall and other small rooms. On the second floor there was classroom space and a library, while the top floor was reserved for dormitories. Much like other institutional buildings of the time, the facade of the St. Boniface Normal School was modestly ornamented, featuring neoclassical elements, which can be seen in the design of the one particularly grand part, the front portico. Supported by eight…

Majesty on Main Street - The McLaren Hotel

The McLaren Hotel opened to great acclaim in 1911, said to be one of the finest hotels in Canada. An unmistakable red brick building in the downtown, the hotel has long outlived many of its contemporaries, still standing over 100 years later at the intersection of Main Street and Rupert Street. It was the final and greatest achievement of the three McLaren brothers, pioneers in Winnipeg's hospitality industry, and all that remains of their empire. Although much has changed inside the hotel over the century, from ornate accomidations to low income housing, the exterior is still a direct connection to early 20th century Winnipeg. Now nominated for a municipal heritage designation, the importance of the building is being recognized and will hopefully allow it to shelter those in need for many years to come.


When the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Winnipeg in 1883, it ushered in an era of prosperity and growth that saw the city flourish until the start of the First World War. Whole…