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Showing posts from October, 2019

A Million Dollar Mystery: The Manitoba Legislature

When the Manitoba Legislature officially opened in July of 1920, the relief must have been palpable. A series of delays had pushed the construction back significantly; construction had begun in 1912, and now after eight years of being plagued by scandal and war, it was finally open.

This would be Manitoba’s third legislative building. When the Manitoba Legislative Assembly met for the first time, on March 15th 1871, their meeting was inauspicious by modern-day standards. Manitoba was new to confederation, and still relatively small, which meant there were no grand meeting halls and no building specifically constructed for the Manitoba Government. With few options, they would meet on the upper floor of A.G.B Bannatyne’s residence. Bannatyne, alongside his father-in-law, Andrew McDermot, owned a significant amount of land in Winnipeg and was easily one of the town’s wealthiest men. For the time, then, his home would be a fitting place for the Manitoba Government.

By the turn of the 20…

Missing Heritage on Main: The McIntyre Block

The 1960s and 70s were not banner decades for heritage preservation in Winnipeg. Scores of historic buildings were torn down in the interest of civic redevelopment - replaced by modernist office towers and, more often than not, drab surface parking lots. Occasionally, some concessions were made (such as the creation of Old Market Square to replace the former Fire Hall Number 1 on Albert Street).

In 1978, though, this all changed when plans were made to demolish the former Canadian Bank of Commerce, now the Millennium Center. A grassroots group of protestors gathered, and the building was spared. Following this, Heritage Winnipeg was founded by the National Trust for Canada (then Heritage Canada), the City of Winnipeg, and the Province of Manitoba in 1978. It was also around this time that the city of Winnipeg began to establish stronger heritage bylaws and designations - and it was at this point that the future of the McIntyre Block became startlingly uncertain.

When the McIntyre Bl…