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Showing posts from February, 2020

The Life and Death of the Elms

Set behind a veil of greenery sits a stately white house, with a large portico hinting at the type of grand home it once was. Slowly being reclaimed by the landscape, the house has taken on the appearance of a romantic folly, perched high on the shore of the Assiniboine River. A relic from a golden era, the house is a glorious example of the adaptability and longevity of built heritage. But its life is being cut short, reduced to rubble in the name of progress, casting aside all the contributions it has made to its community. It is a frustrating example of the disregard we had for our historic buildings, putting profit before communities and the environment. How many more magnificent buildings must be felled before we realize the whole forest has been cut down?

John Leslie was born on August 16, 1852, into a Scottish family that immigrated to Canada in 1857. The family settled in Prescott, Ontario, where Leslie attended school and eventually went into business as a carriage maker. But …

The 35th Annual Preservation Awards

Since 1985 Heritage Winnipeg has been proud to award exceptional heritage projects and individuals at our Annual Preservation Awards. These recognized and awarded projects range from large scale restoration/rehabilitations to more modest (but nonetheless important) preservation work. Through the years, Heritage Winnipeg has recognized over 60 individuals and 130 building projects that have made a huge difference to the community through their commitment to Winnipeg’s built heritage!

On February 18th, 2020, in the midst of Canada’s Heritage Week, we held our 35th Annual Preservation Awards. Many significant nominations were received from projects and persons across the city. The nominations were open to the public, and were evaluated by an independent judging committee. The 2020 Judging Committee was made up of Wins Bridgman (Architect, Bridgman Collaborative), Neil Einarson (Retired; Province of Manitoba Historic Resources), Lisa Gardewine (Heritage Winnipeg Board President), Jim Kack…

Behind the Stained Glass: Westminster United Church

Since 1992, the Westminster United Church has been both a municipally and provincially designated heritage building.  It's a well-earned designation; the Westminster Church is a distinctive landmark in the neighbourhood of Wolseley and has played an important role in the community since its 1910 construction. Today, the church is a part of the United Church of Canada - a Protestant denomination created in 1925 that merged the Union of Methodists, Presbyterian, and Congregational church. However, the Westminster Church was not always a part of this group; in 1910, it serviced just the Presbyterians in Winnipeg, who already had a long and established history in Winnipeg.

Many of these new settlers were members of the Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination. With no church to worship at in their new homeland, they attended services offered by the Church of England (which was Anglican). Finally in 1854, the Kildonan Presbyterian Church at 201 John Black Avenue opened, spearhea…

The New Edition of the St. John's Library

The stately St. John's Library stands, newly renovated, at 500 Salter Street as a testament to the power of libraries both today and at the turn of the 20th century.

Today, there are 20 libraries spread out across Winnipeg's neighbourhoods but when the St. John's Library opened in 1915, it was one of just three. By this point, the library system in Winnipeg was hardly new, but having a purpose-built space for the city's collection of books was.

Created in 1848, Winnipeg’s library system had spent several decades (1888-1905) in Winnipeg's 'Gingerbread' City Hall, a space that was growing increasingly crowded by the end of the 19th century. Winnipeg, apparently a city of avid readers, kept demand high and the library added a new juvenile section in 1899. By the start of 1900, it was apparent that a new space was needed and librarian J.P. Robertson hatched a plan.

Robertson wrote to wealthy American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for financial assistance. By…