Metropolitan Theatre

After being vacant for over 25 years, the Metropolitan Theatre finally reopened its doors to the public in November of 2012. Now named the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, it is currently home to a restaurant and lounge, and it also has facilities available to use for special events. The interior of the building is designed to be reminiscent of the older theatre and even retains some of the original fixtures.



For more information on the reopening of the Metropolitan Theatre, please refer to the following articles

CBC News Met Theatre to Reopen

Winnipeg Free Press Met Theatre Debut

Good news for the vacant Metropolitan Theatre! It is getting a new lease on life.

Built in 1919 by C. Howard Crane, the Met was originally called the Allen and renamed the Metropolitan after Famous Players cinema chain took it over in 1923. The theatre was the first of the ’movie palaces’ because of its large size and opulent interior décor. The Met has a typical exterior façade used on a number of Allen/Crane cinemas, but has one of the most attractive movie house exteriors that were ever built. One of the first movie “palaces” in Canada, the Metropolitan Theatre was one of the best works of C. Howard Crane, among America’s top-ranking theatre architects.

For Further information on the progress of the Metropolitan Theatre please read the following Winnipeg Free Press articles

Curtain Finally Rising on the Met Makeover
WSO and MET could make beautiful music together
Theatre remake still in the plan
Editorial: Play Acting wont save the MET

Restoration Work to Begin Soon

Show Over for Metropolitan
Historic Theatre to Supper Club

Heritage Winnipeg AGM 2013 - June 26, 2013


We would also like to thank the Asper School of Business for allowing us to use the fabulous space in the J.W. Burns Executive Education Centre on the 2nd floor, 177 Lombard Ave., in the former Great West Life building. This space recently won a 2013 HW Preservation Award for the sensitive restoration of the 2nd floor space including the historic GWL Board Room. See our Annual Preservation section for further information. 

3rd Annual Doors Open Winnipeg Awards

Heritage Winnipeg would like to thank all of this year's award recipients that participated in Doors Open Winnipeg 2013

Heritage Winnipeg's 3rd Annual Doors Open Winnipeg Awards Ceremony was held on June 20, 2013 at the Winnipeg Free Press Cafe. All award recipients received a commemorative Doors Open art sculpture made special for this event by artist Jordan van Sewell

Best Restoration: The former Great-West Life Buillding, now James W. Burns Education Centre, Asper School of Business (2nd Floor, 177 Lombard Avenue)

Accepting the award on behalf of the Asper School of Business is Steve Vieweg, Director - Executive Education (left)

Best Tour: Vaughan Street Jail (444 York Avenue)

Accepting the award on behalf of the Vaughan Street Jail is Kristen Verin-Treusch (left)

The Hidden Gem: Cathedral of Saints Vladimir and Olga (115 McGregor Street)

Accepting the award on behalf of the Cathedral is Pastor Msgr. Michael Buyachok

Best Overall Experience: Shaarey Zedek Synagogue (561 Wellington Crescent)

Accepting the award on behalf of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue is Bill Weissmann, Tour Guide

Best Architecture: Millennium Centre (389 Main Street)

Accepting the award on behalf of the Millennium Centre is Giles Bugailiskis, Board Member (left)

Striving for Excellence Special 10th Anniversary Award
: The former Dominion Bank Building, now Bridgman Collaborative Architecture (678 Main Street)

Accepting the award on behalf of the Bridgman Collaborative Building are Marcella Porier (left) and Wins Bridgman (right)

Limited Edition Sketch in Celebration of the Bank of Montreal's 100th anniversary


“Limited Edition” - Bank of Montreal sketch

in celebration of the building’s 100th birthday

(signed by the artist)  $20.00 each  (including taxes)












Sketches by local artist Robert J. Sweeney

Artist, Robert J. Sweeney, has

practiced Product and Building design in

both Canada and the U.K.  His designs have

been the recipient of several

international design awards and

citations.  Robert is an alunus of

the University of Manitoba.

He is the-author and illustrator

of the book, Portraits of Winnipeg,

Turnstone Press, ISBN 978-0-8801-381-1,

Published 2011.

HW's 28th Annual Preservation Awards

Heritage Winnipeg was very pleased to present the 28th Annual Preservation Awards at the historic Millennium Centre at 389 Main Street on National Heritage Day and Louis Riel Day, Monday, February 18, 2013.  This free public event was attended by over 85 people who helped celebrate heritage projects recognized and awarded for 2012. 

The 2013 Award Winners:

Preservation Award of Excellence - Commercial Conservation
Asper School of Business - 2nd Floor, 177 Lombard Avenue

Awarded to the Asper School of Business for their commitment to the redevelopment of the entire 2nd floor of this prominent landmark building

Accepted by Steve Vieweg (left), Director of Executive Education at Asper School of Business. Award presented by Greg Thomas (right), Manitoba Governor of Heritage Canada

Awarded to the LM Architectural Group for their design work towards redeveloping the 2nd floor of the building, including special attention to the conservation of heritage features and the preservation of its historic Board Room

Accepted by Mike Ibister (left), Principal of LM Architectural Group. Award presented by Greg Thomas (right), Manitoba Governor of Heritage Canada

Preservation Award of Excellence - Commercial Conservation
Metropolitan Entertainment Centre - 281 Donald Street

Awarded to Canad Inns for their stewardship and commitment to the restoration and rehabilitation of this historic theatre, thus ensuring its long-term economic viability within the historic downtown

Accepted by Paul Robson (right), CEO of Canad Inns. Award presented by Penny McMillan (left), Past President of Heritage Winnipeg.
Awarded to Number Ten Architectural Group for their excellence in design towards the restoration and rehabilitation of this historic theatre, thus ensuring its long-term economic viability within the historic downtown

Accepted by Dave Lalama (right), Number Ten Architectural Group. Award presented by Penny McMillan (left), Past President of Heritage Winnipeg.

Preservation Award of Excellence - Institutional Conservation
Paterson Global Foods Institute - 504 Main Street

Awarded to Red River College for their stewardship and commitment to the extraordinary rehabilitation initiatives undertaken to conserve the tower and banking hall, ensuring a long term future for this prominent landmark building

Accepted by Diana Ready (right), VP Finance and Administration of Red River College. Award Presented by Lisa Gardewine (left), First Vice President of Heritage Winnipeg

Awarded to Prairie Partnership Architects for the rehabilitation initiatives undertaken, including innovative design work as well as structural and building code upgrading, to conserve the tower and banking hall

Accepted by Dudley Thompson and Blaine Repko, Prairie Partnership Architects. Award Presented by Lisa Gardewine (left), First Vice President of Heritage Winnipeg

Awarded to Alpha Masonry Ltd. for an accurate and detailed restoration of masonry work done to the historic facade of an important landmark building

Accepted by Robert Sanderson, Alpha Masonry. Award Presented by Lisa Gardewine, Heritage Winnipeg First Vice President

Special President's Award - Urban Revitalization
The Avenue on Portage - 265 Portage Avenue

Awarded to Rick and Mark Hofer (owners) for their wonderful urban mixed-use revitalization project, which was a bold gesture in the adaptive re-use of two buildings on the Portage Avenue streetscape

Accepted by Paul Hiebert (left), on behalf of the owners who were both unable to attend. Award presented by Jordan van Sewell (right), President of Heritage Winnipeg

Awarded to 5468796 Architecture for their work on the urban mixed-use revitalization, which was a bold gesture in the adaptive re-use of two buildings on the Portage Avenue Streetscape

Accepted by Zach Pauls (left), Architect at 5468796 Architecture. Award Presented by Jordan van Sewell (right), President of Heritage Winnipeg

Distinguished Service Award
Fort Garry Hotel - 222 Broadway

Awarded to Rick Bell and Ida Albo (owners) for their long withstanding commitment to conserve and enhance an outstanding Winnipeg heritage landmark and institution, including their work to celebrate the building's hundredth anniversary and to launch it into its next century

Accepted by Rick Bell (centre) and Ida Albo (right), owners of The Fort Garry Hotel. Award presented by Nancy Klos (left), Board Member of Heritage Winnipeg

Heritage Conservation Awards:

This year Heritage Winnipeg is recognizing special efforts in specific projects completed in 2012, to protect, conserve, and reuse structures of high historic or architectural value.  Heritage conservation awards may be given specifically for commercial, institutional, or residential projects, that involve the sensitive and adaptive use and/or re-use of these structures and provide for their long-term protection. 

In addition our Distinguished Service Award recognizes the special contribution of individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a concerted effort and leadership in protecting, conserving, promoting or communicating the historic and/or architectural values of Winnipeg's built heritage.

This year's nominees are:

The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre at 281 Donald Street
     Owner - Canad Inns

Paterson Global Foods Institute (former Union Bank Building) - 504 Main Street
     Owner- Red River College

The Avenue on Portage - 265 Portage Avenue
     Owners - Rick & Mark Hofer

Sussex Realty (former Abbott Clinic) - 274 Osborne Street North
     Owners - Sussex Realty

The Inglis (NWCTA) Building - 291 Garry Street
     Owner - John McDonald of Metric Marketing

Asper School of Business - 2nd floor, 177 Lombard Avenue (former Great West Life building)

Distinguished Service Award - Rick Bel and Ida Albo, owners of the Fort Garry Hotel

Please noteAwards Winners will be announced at the event.

Thank you to this year's Judging Committee:

Jennifer Hansell, City of Winnipeg
Neil Einarson, Province of Manitoba
Wins Bridgman, Architect
Jim Kacki, Architect
Les Stechesen, Architect

Doors Open 2012 Awards Ceremony

On June 14th, 2012 at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café, Heritage Winnipeg presented an award ceremony for those buildings identified by the visitors of Doors Open Winnipeg 2012 as the best exemplars of the various facets of heritage.

Five Awards were given out, one in each of the following categories: best restoration, best tour, best architecture, the hidden gem and best experience.

Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director Cindy Tugwell welcomed everyone to the event.

Heritage Winnipeg 1st Vice President and local artist Jordan van Sewell gave his welcome from the board and shared a few words about the pieces of art given out as awards.

And the Award winners are….

#1 Best Restoration: Barber House


Presenting: Jennifer Hansell, Heritage Planner from the sponsor City of Winnipeg.


Accepting: Sandy Dzedzore, Chair of SISTARS and Rick Caslake, Coordinator/Program Manager at the North Point Douglas Seniors Association.


Barber House is one of Winnipeg’s oldest homes. The story of Barber House is an epic one of perseverant tough-as-nails survival, as this former house of pioneer journalist and businessman E.L. Barber has survived several fires over the years. As those connected to the House like to say, the grand old lady was too tough to destroy. The endurance and recent restoration of the Barber House is a metaphor for the endurance and current rehabilitation of the entire Point Douglas neighbourhood. The votes are in, and many Winnipegers are on board.


 #2 Best Tour: Manitoba Law Courts


Presenting: Clare McKay, Vice-President of Marketing and Communications of the sponsor Forks North Portage.

Accepting: Cheryl Kyritz and Diane Dixon, volunteer tour guides at the Law Courts.

Those participating in the guided 45-minute tour from the Law Courts got a chance to see the beautiful interior spaces of some of the highest courts in Manitoba. In addition to seeing Courtroom 330 (the Manitoba Court of Appeal) and Courtroom 210 (the Court of Queen’s Bench), those on the tour visited the Great Library. Hundreds of visitors nervously interacted with Courtroom 210: kids and adults alike, enjoyed sitting in the chairs of the judges, counsel and jury. While sheepish at first, more than a few put on a stern face and mimicked the motion of slamming a gavel down for silence. The tour guides patiently pointed out that Canadian justices do not use gavels. The engaging tour guides and rich symbolism of the building ensured that no one will soon forget the Law Courts.

#3 Hidden Gem: Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vladimir and Olga

Presenting: Geoff Kirbyson representing sponsor Winnipeg Free Press.

Accepting: Reverend Michael Buyachok, Pastor.

With a capacity of over a thousand, it might come as a surprise that Winnipegers choose a beautiful (but massive) Cathedral as the hidden gem. However, once you enter into the Cathedral, it becomes clear what the real hidden gems are. In addition to containing the beautiful rose-stained glass window depicting the patrons: Saints Vladimir and Olga, the Cathedral houses some of the finest Icon paintings and stained glass windows in Canada. 16 of the 34 stained glass windows are the work of world famous artist and sculpter Leo Mol. The Cathedral is simultaneously both a visible and a hidden gem of Winnipeg.

#4 Best Overall Experience: Historical Museum of St. James

Presenting: Matt Komus, Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg Museums Board.

Accepting: Barry Hillman, School Programs and Special Events Coordinator, Historical Museum of St. James Assiniboia 

Winnipegers were invited to return to a time past at the St. James Museum….and they did…and they loved it! Visitors were able to visit the three historical buildings on site: The William Brown Red River Frame House (constructed way back in 1856), the historic Municipal Hall, and the Display Building housing artifacts of blacksmithing, farming and transportation. In the William Brown House, trained interpreters transported visitors back to early Manitoba pioneer life in late 19th century. For the second year in a row, Winnipegers have let Doors Open and the St. James Museum know that they love the site, the programming and St. James history in general.

#5 Best Architecture: Manitoba Legislative Building

Presenting: Jordan van Sewell, Heritage Winnipeg Board 1st Vice President.

Accepting: Unfortunately, the province of Manitoba did not send a representative.

The Legislative Building, or ‘ledge’ is one of the finest public buildings, not just in Manitoba, but across North America! The ledge formally opened on July 15th, 1920 on the 50th anniversary of Manitoba’s confederation. The impressive architecture in Beaux Arts style and the intriguing interior and exterior art have only become more renowned with time. While the Ledge provides tours year round, every year during Doors Open, Winnipegers flock to see the life-sized North American bison on the grand staircase, the Pool of the Black Star beneath the Rotunda antechamber and the other treasures within this Frank W. Simon and Henry Boddington III creation. For the second year in a row, Winnipegers have proudly proclaimed that this Manitoba landmark has the best architecture in the city.

Congratulations again to all the winners of this years Doors Open Awards. Thank you to everyone who cast their votes and thank you to our generous sponsors for helping to make the event happen.

One final shout-out goes to Greg Delorme, Volunteer Coordinator who did an incredible job helping with the Doors Open event.


Strike Play Premieres on Heritage Trolley for 93rd Anniversary

It's June 21st, 1919, and the intrepid photographer Sam Lockhart wants just one thing: the shot that will earn him the money to patent his revolutionary new camera. Will the simmering Winnipeg General Strike crush his dream…. or provide him with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

The Winnipeg Trolley Company presents Sam's Spiel - a new one-person play by Danny Schur - on a moving heritage trolley. Travel back to 1919 as journalist of the era, as you rove the streets of Winnipeg with Sam Lockhart on the day that would come to be known as "Bloody Saturday". Starring Justin Schafer as Sam Lockhart.

Departing from the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe (237 McDermot at Arthur) at 1:00 PM, Saturday, June 23rd. $25/ticket. Advance tickets only. Capacity 30. Call 226-TOUR (8687).

Enjoy lunch at the Winnipeg Free Press Cafe, prior to the performance (meal extra) and join Danny Schur for an after-performance historical discussion at the News Cafe as well. The Winnipeg Trolley Company heritage trolley, with its striking orange and cream colour-scheme, has been refurbished to resemble a Winnipeg streetcar, circa 1921.

For further information, contact Benjamin Gilles at 226-TOUR or Danny Schur at 227-1167.


Heart of The City Turns 150

Winnipeg’s most iconic intersection is turning 150 on Saturday. Cheers to Portage Avenue and Main Street.

While the intersection is a cultural icon of Winnipeg today, it began less auspiciously as a ridiculed location for a new general store owned by Henry McKenney and John Christian Shultz. At the time, the site of the general store raised a few eyebrows and corners of mouths from the large (sort of) settlement communities in Point Douglas and Upper Fort Garry. However, several other buildings sprung up over the following years and Portage and Main became a relatively important commercial area.

What is particularly fun about that little history is that by 1870 the population of ‘Winnipeg’ (remember, not incorporated until 1873) was only 100 people. Reverend George Young, arriving to his new home, described Winnipeg as follows:

What a sorry sight was presented by that long-thought-of-town of Winnipeg on the day we entered it! What a mass of soft, black, slippery and sticky Red River mud was everywhere spread out before us! Streets with neither sidewalks nor crossings, with now and again a good sized pit of mire for the traveller to avoid or flounder through as best he could; a few small stores with poor goods and high process; one little tavern where ‘Dutch George’ was “monarch of all his survey”’ a few passable dwellings with “no rooms to let,” nor space for boarders; neither church nor school in sight or in prospect; population about one hundred instead of one thousand as we expected – such was Winnipeg on July 4th, 1868.

Sounds charming. However, with the entry of Manitoba into confederation in 1870 (pop quiz: what date was that!? Only 5% of Manitobans surveyed know!), the population of Winnipeg exploded around the distinctive corner. Here we are, one hundred and fifty years later with an intersection that defined, continues to define, and will probably always define our great city.

While you have already missed the birthday cake, it is not to late to enjoy celebrating the beautiful and fascinating history of Canada's windiest and coldest corner (disclaimer: that is not so much a 'science' fact as a everyone-in-Winnipeg-knows-it-to-be-true fact). Follow the links!

Archival photos from the Winnipeg Free Press.

Archival photos from the University of Manitoba Archives.

Seven stories about Portage and Main from West End Dumplings.

Gordon Sinclair Jr. on getting the party started.

City of Winnipeg birthday wishes (two very cool photos).

And check out the following birthday wishes (Hat Tip: Christian Cassidy):

Winnipeg O’ My Heart

Love me, love my Winnipeg

The cold cold ground

If Walls Could Talk

A documentary produced for MTS TV Winnipeg on demand about the importance of preserving heritage buildings in Winnipeg's exchange and downtown. Meet the people who maintain and revitalize these buildings to keep the downtown full of culture, history, and everyday people.

Produced, edited and partially shot by Brooke Clayton. Click here to enjoy

Doors Open Winnipeg 2012- Celebrating the Stories our Buildings Tell

Can you speak history? Are you a storyteller? Help bring the stories of our buildings to life at the 9th annual Doors Open Winnipeg weekend, May 26 and 27. Heritage Winnipeg is looking for volunteers of all kinds to guide tours, greet visitors and more.

Training sessions will be provided and there will be a choice of shifts to be worked. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the volunteer form. Thanks to all of our volunteers who help make our event an overwhelming success each year! For more information, contact the Executive Director at or call 942-2663.

click here to enlarge

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