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Showing posts from March, 2019

A Holy Home - The Archbishop's Residence

The Archbishop's Residence, sometimes called the Archbishop's Palace, was built in 1864 for Archbishop Alexandre-Antonin Tache. It is an early example of Georgian architecture and one of a few pre-Confederation Georgian buildings still standing in Western Canada. Located at 151 Avenue de la Cathedrale, it has housed the St. Boniface archbishops for over 150, and allowed Winnipeggers to take a look inside during Doors Open Winnipeg 2018. This historic house was just recently given heritage designation by the City of Winnipeg on February 4, 2019. 



The Archbishop's Residence is one of the oldest buildings in Winnipeg, and certainly one of the largest residential buildings over 150 years old. As one of the earliest examples of a large stone building in Western Canada, its extant contemporaries: Seven Oaks House, Ross House, and Barber House, are all much smaller, even though they were built for important Winnipeg families at the time. The Archbishop's Residence was even mo…

HERITAGE AT RISK: The Monte Cassino Court

At first glance, the Monte Cassino Court at 639 Portage Avenue is a neglected little three storey heritage building, a plain ground floor facade with metal security bars in the windows and a big sign above for a business that no longer exists. But if you stop and take a closer look, you might notice ornate stained glass transom windows on the second and third storeys or the decorative stone and brick work adding subtle flare to the front facade. They quietly hint at what this building once was, a well appointed mixed use building from Winnipeg's boom period in the early 20th century. It is a hidden gem that has been sentenced to a slow and painful decay, highlighting exactly how Winnipeg's irreplaceable built heritage should not be treated.


The Monte Cassino Court was originally built in 1907 as a nameless one storey commercial building. Italian immigrant George Benedetto Persichini commissioned it, having arrived in Winnipeg in 1895 and worked in the restaurant and fruit bus…

Planning with Purpose - Fire Hall No. 1

Cities faced many problems at the turn of the 20th century, one of the most persistent being the high risk of fires. Prior to the introduction of steel-framed structures in Winnipeg, our downtown warehouses and factories had interior support systems of wooden posts and beams. Combined with often lackluster heating systems, machinery prone to producing sparks, and workers smoking indoors, there were endless potential ways your building could go up in flames.

As such, Winnipeg had a busy and thriving fire department. Formed as a volunteer brigade in 1874, by the turn of the century they had moved to paid positions and increasingly auspicious headquarters. Their grand new central fire hall, Fire Hall No. 1, opened in 1899 at 110 Albert Street, an address now replaced with Old Market Square.


The Exchange District was a fitting place for this new location; the warehouses and factories being built nearby were at high risk for fires and the fire hall remained near the Red River, which was …

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: Population Growth and the Canadian Pacific Railway Station

Economic and social conditions in Manitoba were dramatically changing at the turn of the 20 century, and laid the foundation for the Winnipeg 1919 General Strike. In particular, immigration from Europe increased dramatically, bringing a stream of workers and their expectations for a new life. Families from Britain, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Iceland and Ukraine moved to Canada to take up farming and then work in the industries of an expanding economy. With this migration came a strong sense of ethnic group affinity, a deep understanding of class differences, and a capacity for facing difficult conditions. While this migration was designed by government policy to develop the economy, it also created new challenges for social relations, urban planning and political systems that were unpredictable.


A massive new wave of immigration started around 1896. The Canadian Pacific Railway Station on Higgins Avenue (now the Neeginan Centre) was the last stop for thousands of new Canadians …