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Showing posts from May, 2019

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: Veterans Protest With and Against the Strike

At the time, thousands of men who fought in the First World War were returning to Canada. These former soldiers returned with expectations of getting back to work and enjoying the democracy and freedoms they fought for. Many of the veterans immediately empathized with the issues raised by the strike and openly supported the strikers.
Some of the veterans objected to the Strike as they believed immigrants were taking their jobs and were contributing to the economic problems of the city. Others had strong working class roots, experienced the poor living conditions of the north end of the city and saw common purpose with the strikers’ demands. An estimated 4-5,000 veterans came out to support the Strike (some estimates were higher).

On June 4th a crowd of veterans who were opposed to the Strike marched onto City Hall. They held signs attacking immigrants and called on the government to protect the city from ‘Bolsheviks’ (a reference to those who supported the Russian revolution). Pro-str…

Hundreds of Stories: A Wrap-Up of Doors Open Winnipeg 2019

The 16th annual Doors Open Winnipeg was record-breaking! There were over 100 buildings and walking tours to discover, and many of our participants had more visitors than ever before. This free to the public event took place this past weekend on May 25th and 26th, and celebrated our city's architectural, historical, and cultural heritage. It gave the Winnipeg community a chance to "celebrate the stories our buildings tell," to learn about our shared history, and to become tourists their our own city.

For this year, we had an astonishing amount of new buildings and events (19!). People who remembered the Oak Room in St. Regis were able to revisit it at Patent 5 Distillery, which definitely would have been a heartwarming moment. Curious Winnipeggers explored the Fortune Block after millions of dollars of renovations. Hundreds of people took part in events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, including a bus tour, several walking tours, display…

The Last One Standing: The Ukrainian Labour Temple

The Ukrainian Labour Temple (591 Pritchard Avenue) is the only surviving labour hall associated with the events of the Winnipeg General Strike. In the early twentieth century, labour halls were meeting places for unions to discuss social activities, campaigns, and strikes. In 1919, the Ukrainian Labour Temple was the hub for Ukrainian culture, farmer political activism, and the trade union movement.

The Ukrainian Labour Association, who built the temple, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. This past February, the building also celebrated its centennial!

For this year's Doors Open Winnipeg, the Temple will be open Saturday (May 25) and Sunday (May 26) from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, with food, dancing, singing and tours from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The oldest mandolin orchestra in Canada, the second oldest on the continent, will be playing during Doors Open at 1:15 pm and 1:00 pm on Sunday.

Today, I visited the Ukrainian Labour Temple to take photos. Here are some of the beautiful par…

The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: The Strike Shuts Down Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council (WTLC) took a vote on whether or not to support the two union Councils and the two strikes that started on May 1st and 2nd. The WTLC represented a range of affiliated unions from different sectors in the city - manufacturing, sewing trades, city workers, transport workers. A vote of the 94 member unions was taken on May 6th - 8,667 voted for a general strike, while 645 vote against.


Within a week, about 12,000 unionized workers joined in a general strike. They supported the demand for a living wage and recognition of collective bargaining as a principle for labour relations with employers. They knew that supporting the striking workers would affect the bargaining power of all unions, and therefore there was a common interest in demonstrating union solidarity.


The WTLC put out a call to start the general strike at 11:00am on May 15. However, for about 500 telephone operators who were coming to work at 7:00am that day, a shift change was an opportu…

Ready, Set, Celebrate! Doors Open Winnipeg 2019

Doors Open Winnipeg 2019 is almost here! Are you ready to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike? This year we are excited to have over 100 buildings, events and tours opening their doors to welcome you on May 25th and 26th. No matter what your interest, Doors Open Winnipeg has something for you! This year we are featuring 18 new buildings and tours - so there is something fresh and exciting to see for even the most seasoned Doors Open Winnipeg visitor. It is time to start making plans for your Doors Open Winnipeg weekend and get ready to submerse yourself in Winnipeg's rich architectural and cultural history!


What is Doors Open Winnipeg? Doors Open Winnipeg is a FREE annual event, held on the last weekend of May, when buildings, events and tours with historical, architectural and cultural significance open their doors to the public throughout Winnipeg. Presented by Heritage Winnipeg, this year's event will the the 16th annual Doors Open Winnipeg, a…

Crescentwood - "Winnipeg's Best Residential District"

In the late 19th century, the City of Winnipeg was rapidly expanding. Previously residential areas were being turned over to accommodate the growth of the downtown area, which was bustling. The opening of the grain exchange in 1881, and the national railway connection in 1882, meant that there was suddenly a lot more business in Winnipeg than there had been before. With all this change in the downtown area, people began looking for a somewhat quieter place to call home.
Comparisons are odious and perhaps it is not well to call attention to the occupancy of some of the thoroughfares which were considered Winnipeg's finest streets some 6 - 10 years ago...(they are) central and built up, they have begun to deteriorate -advertisement for Crescentwood lots Free Press, September 13, 1902
The area south of the Assiniboine River was the answer. Although a few wealthy businessmen had built their homes by the river in the late 1880s, the area was still very much out of the way for many people.…