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Showing posts from February, 2020

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…