Heritage Winnipeg Blog

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First World War Digital Memorial Project

Aimed at acknowledging the 100th anniversary of Canada's involvement in the First World War, this project is a digitally-enhanced memorial to be housed in Winnipeg's former Union Station, VIA Rail Canada, from approximately February 2016 to November 11, 2018.

The railways of Canada have provided a long and enduring relationship to all things military, making the VIA Rail Station an appropriate location for this display. Additionally, the content will be available for broader public access on a website.

The display will recognize the major offensive battles that the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) participated in, listing the name, rank, and unit of each individual that was killed. The names will be displayed on the 100th anniversary of the month in which they lost their lives.

The names of those individuals who lost their lives in smaller engagements will also be included, with reference to the location where the individuals lost their lives.

Canada, as a dominion of the British Empire, had automatically entered the war on August 4, 1914, when Britain declared war against Germany in support of its Russian and French allies. However, at that time, the Canadian Expeditionary Force consisted of barely 3000 men. Canadians landed in France early in 1915, with Guy Dwyer becoming the first combat casualty on February 2, 1915.

Over 600 000 men and women enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War (1914-1918) as soldiers, nurses, and chaplains. At war's end, 64 944 Canadian military personnel, alongside 2000 civilians, lost their lives. An additional 149 732 were injured in the sixth deadliest conflict in world history.

Thank you to the City of Winnipeg Council for their donations, a total of $30,000 from Councillor Mayes, Councillor Dobson, Councillor Gerbasi, Councillor Sharma, Councillor Gillingham, Councillor Morantz, Councillor Patakhan, and Councillor Wyatt.

This generous donation has provided about half of the funds required to complete the project. Donations can be made using the green "Donate" link above - just specify in the memo what the donation is for, or give us a call at 204-942-2663 to let us know!

Councillors unite for First World War digital commemoration project (Metro News April 8, 2015)
First World War Memorial Gets 100% Approval (On the Line - Winnipeg October 16, 2015)


Streetcar 356 Update

Streetcar 356: Winnipeg's Last Remaining Wooden Streetcar (Heritage Winnipeg Blog October 22, 2014)
Winnipeg's streetcar to get restoration treatment (CTV News June 10, 2015)
Winnipeg Streetcars: Our Most Valued Heritage History - Guest Post by author Brian Darragh (Heritage Winnipeg Blog July 1, 2015)

Dennistoun House - 166 Roslyn Road

Century-old Osborne Village home could be bulldozed for development (CTV News September 15, 2015)
End of the line looms for historic Dennistoun House (Winnipeg Free Press September 8, 2015)
"Residents wishing to ask questions or register objections can attend the meeting at 6pm at City Hall on Sept. 16"


Robert Maxwell Dennistoun was a specialist in corporate law and came to Winnipeg in 1907 to represent several influential corporations. He drew up Manitoba’s first workman’s compensation act. In addition to a respected career as a lawyer and judge, Dennistoun kept a parallel military career.

The Honorable Robert Maxwell Dennistoun commissioned prominent architect John Atchinson to design a house for his family in 1908 at 166 Roslyn Road in the Osborne Village area of Winnipeg. Atchinson had designed a large number of prominent Winnipeg buildings by that time. He designed Dennistoun house in Tudor style, commonly used for upper-class residences between 1890 and 1940 in North America.

Distinguishing features of the Tudor style are:

  • Steep-pitched roof on cross gable
  • Decorative half timbering with an infill of stucco
  • Portions of the walls finished in brick veneer
  • Elaborate gothic arched entranceway with quoins of stone
  • Doors and side transoms are glazed with leaded glass in small panes

Winnipeg declared Dennistoun House a grade 3 historic building on its Buildings Conservation List in 1984 due to its architectural significance and integrity. It was also placed on the list based on the historical interest surrounding the man who erected it and its importance of the surrounding area, which during the early 1900’s became the district of stately banker’s homes.

In 1977 the house was bought and converted into a five-unit rental property.

When this owner passed in 2006 the heirs decided they were no longer operating this building as a rental property. A development team on behalf of the owners applied to the city for the delisting of the Dennistoun House.

The City’s Historical Buildings Committee inspected Dennistoun House and concluded it was a good example of the Tudor style designed by Mr. Atchinson and the heritage values of the house had not changed since its listing in 1984. The HBC recommended the Dennistoun House not be delisted.

On June 2 2009, “the Standing Committee did not concur with the recommendation of the HBC and recommended instead that Dennistoun House be removed from the Building Conservation List; that no demolition permits be issued before building permits are issued; and that City officials be authorized to implement the intent of this recommendation”.

The city’s Executive Policy Committee agreed with the Standing Committee.

The matter went to Council on June 24 2009. Council was given all materials generated or considered for the application to delist including:

-       HBC’s March 20 2009 letter

-       Report dated October 9, 1984

-       The Standing Policy Committee and Executive Policy Committee minutes of meetings

-       Any presentations given to these committee’s

-       Developer’s report that included City’s Planning Property and Development department’s response, a letter from an architect regarding the feasibility of integrating Dennistoun House into the Development and newspaper reports

-       Written submissions and petition from a number of citizens

-       Delegations for and against the recommendation also addressed City Council in person including Ms. Lukovich of Osborne Village Neighborhood Association and the Executive Director of Heritage Winnipeg who were against the recommendation

City Council was made aware of the “impact its decision may have on the neighborhood, and from a policy or precedent standpoint” as well as the Osborne Village Plan.

City Council decided by a majority vote to concur with the recommendation made by the Standing Policy Committee and agreed to by the Executive Policy Committee, to remove Dennistoun House from the Buildings Conservation List. This decision enables the historic homes potential for demolition and replacement with a condominium complex.

Members of the Osborne Village Neighborhood Association with the support of Heritage Winnipeg sought a judicial review for an order to quash the decision made by city council.

A strong argument was made in regards to the heritage element of the Osborne Village Plan on demolition of historic buildings:

7.1.6.A             Discourage the demolition of historic or architecturally significant buildings or structures. Demolition shall be considered as a last resort, and should only be considered when buildings are determined to be structurally unsound beyond repair by an independent structural engineering report. Economic viability should not be the sole determining factor;

7.1.6.B            Prior to consideration of a proposal for the demolition of a historic building or structure, a formal independent consultant’s report on the physical condition and economic viability of retaining the building should be prepared for review by the City. The consultant’s report is to be carried out at the expense of the applicant.

In July 2010 The Judge found that the “requirements of section 7.1.6 of the Osborne Village Plan were not mandatory but rather permissive and intended to be subjectively assessed by City Council” in making their opinion. He also found City Councils decision to delist to be “consistent” with both Plan Winnipeg and the Osborne Village Plan. Furthermore he found that City Council acted within its jurisdiction in removing Dennistoun House from the list and dismissed the application.

For further information on either the Judge’s decision or the Historical Report please click on the links below.


The Judge’s decision July 2010

Historical Buildings Committee Report October 9, 1984


Doors Open Winnipeg 2015 Volunteer Reception

Thank you to the Marlborough Hotel for their generous sponsorship of the Doors Open Winnipeg 2015 Volunteer Reception, held July 29, 2015. Your support is appreciated!

Doors Open Winnipeg 2015 People's Choice Awards

The Doors Open Winnipeg 2015 award statues, created by Jordan Van Sewell, Heritage Winnipeg President

Doors Open Winnipeg 2015 was our most successful event yet! 
With over 27,000 site visits this year, we broke our record, set at our 2013 10th anniversary event with 23,000 visits. Thank you to everyone who helped out with this year's event!

The awards component of Doors Open Winnipeg continues to be the only one of its kind in Canada and provides an opportunity and incentive for owners and volunteers to step up their enthusiasm and put on the best event they can. 
Heritage Winnipeg President, Jordan Van Sewell, gives his opening remarks on the intimate relationship between Winnipeg's artistic and heritage communities.

Visitors have the chance to vote for their favourite buildings and winners will receive a spectacular award, created by a local artist, at a media event held in June. Votes are collected for the following categories: Best Restoration, Best Architecture, Best Guided Tour/Programming, The 'Hidden Gem', and Best Overall Experience. This year, for first time ever, visitors could vote using an online survey powered by Survey Monkey, which closed Friday, June 5, 2015. 

Best Restoration: Dalnavert Museum at 61 Carlton Street

Runner Up: Metropolitan Entertainment Centre at 281 Donald Street 
Dalnavert Museum & Visitors' Centre at 61 Carlton.  

Dalnavert Museum at 61 Carlton Street is the restored home of Sir Hugh John Macdonald, son of Sir John A. Macdonald and Premier of Manitoba from 1899-1900. In 1970, the home was purchased by the Manitoba Historical Society and restored to its 1895 appearance. Long considered one of the finest examples of restored Queen Anne Revival Architecture in Canada, Dalnavert offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time to Canada’s youth.

(L-R): Rina Ricci, City Heritage Planner; Brock Capell, Friends of Dalnavert Museum; John Kiernan, City Manager of Urban Design.
Closed since the fall of 2013, Doors Open this year offered a sneak peek of the museum ahead of its official opening the first week of June. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the Friends of Dalnavert Museum, the doors have been reopened to the public, with a feasible business plan to continue to make this historic home and national historic site a successful museum for future generations to enjoy. Congratulations!  
Brock Capell, Member of the Friends of Dalnavert Museum, accepts the award.

Best Architecture: Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church at 505 Watt Street

Runner Up: Manitoba Legislative Building at 450 Broadway

Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church at 505 Watt Street.
The Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church located at 505 Watt Street is one of Elmwood’s hidden treasures. Built to replace the original Holy Eucharist Church in 1954, this building is a sight to behold, adorned with stained glass windows and frescoes by famous artists, hand-carved Iconostas, and a crystal chandelier. The original parish was established in 1919 along with the original church, which was only the third Ukrainian Catholic Church to be built in the city. 
Heritage Winnipeg Board Member, Paul Haverstock (at right), presents the award to Father Michael Kwiatkowski.

This was the first year that the Holy Eucharist participated in Doors Open Winnipeg, hosting nearly 500 visitors over the weekend! A valuable and beautiful addition to our Doors Open event, we are pleased to offer such a unique architectural gem in East Kildonan and we hope to include them again next year!

Father Michael Kwiatkowski says a few words, emphasizing the efforts of the church's congregation in making Doors Open happen this year. This was the first time the Holy Eucharist was part of Doors Open Winnipeg.

Best Guided Tour/Programming: The Vaughan Street Jail at 444 York Avenue

Runner Up: Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Sts. Vladimir & Olga

Vaughan Street Jail at 444 York Avenue.

The former Vaughan Street Detention Centre, now known as the Vaughan Street Jail at 444 York Avenue was built in 1881 to house inmates serving two years or less sent from Western Ontario and the Prairie Provinces. It is the oldest provincially owned building still standing within the City limits. There are significant local and Canadian historical figures connected to this building, including such figures as Bloody Jack Krafchencko and Earl Nelson, Winnipeg's first serial killer. However, unfortunately, this building still does not have any heritage designation or protection.  

Heritage Winnipeg Board Member, Greg Agnew, gives a short history of the building before presenting the award.

This Doors Open site boasted the most site visits with nearly 3500 visitors over the weekend.  With theatrical performances and historic costumes the volunteers once again put on a fantastic tour! Prior to 2013, the building had been closed to Doors Open for 6 years – we hope to be able to continue to feature this building in our event. This building’s popularity just continues to grow and, as an architectural landmark to social and judicial history, is very important to our city’s history. 

Kristen Verin-Treusch, Friends of Vaughan Street Jail, accepts the award.

The 'Hidden Gem': The Historical Museum of St. James-Assiniboia at 3180 Portage Avenue

Runner Up: La Maison Gabrielle-Roy at 375 rue Deschambault
Sketch of the Historical Museum of St. James-Assiniboia at 3180 Portage Avenue.

The Historical Museum of St. James-Assiniboia located at 3180 Portage Avenue is a museum that strongly reflects the history of its community. There are three buildings on the property for visitors to explore, including the William Brown Red River Frame House circa 1856 and the old Municipal Government Hall, built in 1911, which now houses displays about the development of St. James-Assiniboia as well as an interpretive centre showcasing pioneer life in the late 19th century. 
Cindy Tugwell, Heritage Winnipeg Executive Director, presents the award.

A long-standing participant in Doors Open Winnipeg, the Historical Museum of St. James-Assiniboia is one of many incredible museum experiences that the city of Winnipeg has to offer. Truly an historical asset to the Doors Open event, we are very pleased with their continued participation.
(L-R): Barry Hillman, Bonita Hunter-Eastwood accept the award on behalf of the Museum.

Best Overall Experience (tied): Ghost Signs Walking Tour (Exchange District) 
Ghost signs in Winnipeg's historic Exchange District.

The creation of Matt Cohen from the Advertising Association of Manitoba, the Ghost Signs Walking Tour was a new addition to Doors Open this year. Focusing on the Exchange District, the tour sought out and explored the histories of the fading promotional signage and the companies that called these warehouses home. The 90-minute tour allowed participants to travel back in time and get to know the businesses behind the ads and the impact they played in shaping the landscape of the district.
(L-R): Matt Cohen and Brent Neill, Advertising Association of Winnipeg; Jordan van Sewell, Heritage Winnipeg President. 

The walking tours that were added to Doors Open this year were unique and incredibly well received and will hopefully continue to be a part of this event. There is an opportunity to continue grow these events as their popularity increases.

Best Overall Experience (tied): Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church at 40 Ada Street  

Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church at 40 Ada Street

The Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church at 40 Ada Street is the last remaining original, pioneer-built Ukrainian Church of its kind in the city. Owing much of its completion to the labour of volunteers from the Brooklands parish, the exterior of the church was completed in 1932. Finishing touches continued to be added, including the painting of icons and numerous ornamental designs by Jacob Maydanyk in 1940. 
Heritage Winnipeg Summer Student, Laura McKay, presents the award to Dr. Mary Pankiw, Parish Secretary of Holy Ghost.

Another new addition to Doors Open Winnipeg, this Ukrainian Church is the second to receive an award this year. Although isolated, its rich history makes this church one of Winnipeg’s many historic treasures.
Dr. Mary Pankiw shares how much it means to them to receive the award.

Thank you to everyone who turned out to help celebrate these buildings and we hope to see you all for Doors Open again next year! 

All of the award winners and presenters at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe 237 McDermot Avenue.

Volunteer Needed for McBeth House

McBeth House is looking for a volunteer to help with computer work over the summer. Must be able to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

For more information about the McBeth House, we wrote a blog post about it last year that can be found here.

If you think you might be able to help them out, you can contact Edna Krosney at ekrosney@exltransport.com or 204-953-1536.

Doors Open Winnipeg 2015 People's Choice Awards

Doors Open in the Downtown Raffle

Congratulations to our raffle winner, Kathy Melanson!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who purchased tickets and to all the businesses that donated prizes!

Heritage Winnipeg is a non-profit organization that relies exclusively on donations and grants to do programming such as Doors Open Winnipeg. As such, this year we are doing a raffle to raise money for future programming. Tickets will be sold by Heritage Winnipeg Representatives at high traffic locations during the weekend and draw will be held Sunday night at 6:30pm. Tickets are only $5 (cash only) and you could win prizes from businesses in Winnipeg's Downtown!
The package contains:
One night's stay at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel and dinner for four in the Blaze Restaurant & Lounge
A package of products from Handmade with Love and gift certificates for services from Forever One
Dinner for two at The Peasant Cookery and 295 York, courtesy of WOW Hospitality Concepts
One night's stay and breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel  
Two hours of consultation from Plush Home & Design
One night's stay at the Fairmont Hotel
Two tickets to Cirque du Soleil, courtesy of True North Sports & Entertainment Limited
One pair of Merell footwear from Canadian Footwear
Gift card for The Keg, donated by Greg Agnew
Rona Home & Garden Winnipeg gift card
Warehouse Artworks gift certificate
Four passes to the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Olympus Exhibit
Two tickets to a production by the Manitoba Theatre for Young People
Four passes to a gallery in the Manitoba Museum
Haberdashery Girls & Guys gift certificate
Gift certificate from the Old Spaghetti Factory

Lottery license number LGA5863RF


The prize package is valued at over $2300!
Keep an eye out for Heritage Winnipeg Representatives selling raffle tickets during your visit.  

Upper Fort Garry

Friends of Fort Garry appealing denial of short-term parking lot (Winnipeg Free Press May 4, 2015)
Temporary lot for Upper Fort Garry project denied (CTV News May 4, 2015)
Still seeking parking lot for park (Winnipeg Free Press May 5, 2015)
Committee allows Friends of Upper Fort Garry interim parking lot to raise funds (Winnipeg Free Press May 25, 2015)
Friends of Upper Fort Garry say park's primary significiance is the Metis (Winnipeg Free Press October 17, 2014)
Scots slam perceived snub (Winnipeg Free Press, October 17, 2014)
Upper Fort Garry site a provincial park (Winnipeg Free Press, July 16, 2014)
Province Announces Proclamation to Help Develop Park at Upper Fort Garry (Province of Manitoba, July 15, 2014)
Upper Fort Garry park, birthplace of Winnipeg, opens in September (CBC News, July 15, 2014)

Upper Fort Garry is the place where Winnipeg and Manitoba was born and the site of significant historic events. Exciting plans are underway to reclaim and transform this treasure into a $19 million world class heritage park and interpretive centre.
The Friends of Upper Fort Garry are working on the preservation of the original location of Upper Fort Garry, located along Main Street and spanning from Broadway to Assiniboine Avenue. Through the building of Upper Fort Garry Heritage Park and Interpretive Centre, the Friends of Upper Fort Garry aim to generate interest in the history of Winnipeg, MB and Canada and to preserve a historic landmark. Highlights of this unique park include:
  • a design that demarcates the foundations of the original buildings and walls

  • the original Governor’s Gate

  • interpretive and symbolic representations of the fort and the buildings that were once enclosed within its walls

  • installations of art and other creative works within the park will represent the rich history of Upper Fort Garry

  • outdoor gathering spaces for historical events and programs

  • a modern Interpretive Centre that houses meeting facilities and exhibitions.

For more information and updates on the Park's progress, please visit the Friends of Upper Fort Garry Website here

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