Red River Heritage Fair

An annual event in Manitoba, the Red River Heritage Fair celebrated it's 20th year running in May 2013. The Red River Heritage Fair allows students (Grades 4-11) from various schools across Winnipeg to come together and share the stories they have learned about Manitoban and Canadian history and heritage through presentations about the projects and research they have done on special topics or events that interest them.

For more information, please visit the Red River Heritage Fair Website here

Armstrong's Point

Located about a mile away from the Forks, Armstrong’s Point is a small area of land by the Assiniboine River. It was developed in the 1880s and remains a private and isolated area that many Winnipegers are still unaware of to this day.  Armstrong’s Point has been formerly known as Pensioners’ Point, Hill’s Point, and Victoria Place. The land on which this suburban area was built was originally given to Captain Joseph Hill by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1848. He sold the property in 1881 to John McDonald and E. Rothwell who divided the land into lots thus converting it into a residential area.

As Winnipeg continued to grow and become a commercial centre, the higher class residents no longer desired to live in the central core of the city. They wanted to escape from the chaos, noise, pollution, disease, criminals, and immigrants that filled the City’s centre streets. Armstrong’s Point offered that exclusivity, safety, and peacefulness that the wealthy desired and has since been home to some of Winnipeg’s richest citizens. Many of the homeowners even named their houses. There are three gated entrances that act to further separate and secure the area from the rest of Winnipeg.

"An intact neighbourhood over a century old, Armstrong's Point is valued by residents and visitors alike. Although individual homes and institutions are acknowledged, it's the area itself - the cluster of large, well-maintained older homes - that is most appreciated. Many of these homes have been evaluated for historical significance (a total of 72 neighbourhood buildings are identified in Historical Buildings Conservation Inventory), but only a few homes and structures are on the Historical Buildings Conservation List. These include two residences (one of which is now used as a private club), a library, and the ornamental entry gates." [Taken from Armstrong's Point Planning Study Final Draft, also see Armstrong's Point Appendices for supplementary information]

To find out more about this historical Winnipeg neighborhood, there is a book entitled Armstrong’s Point, by Randy Rostecki, available for purchase from our office. If you would like to make a donation of $100 or greater in addition to your membership to Heritage Winnipeg, you will receive a complimentary copy. Contact our office if you are interested or have any questions.

Congratulations to Randy Rosteki

Congratulations to historian Randy Rostecki for his invaluable contributions towards the preservation of Manitoba's rich architectural history! For the full statement given on August 7, 2013 at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, click here [print version] or here [audio version].

Randy Rosteki (left) and Melanie Wight (right), MLA Burrows

Milner House

Located in Winnipeg’s West Broadway area, the Milner House was purchased in 1991 by Great West Life Insurance Company (GWL), who initially had intentions of tearing it down and converting the space into a parking lot. This heritage building has been vacant since 1990. In 2011, Heritage Winnipeg spoke in opposition of de-listing at the Standing Committee Meeting. Subsequently, the City of Winnipeg rejected the company's plans to destroy the building.

However, the requirement of a rezoning application for the current parking layout surrounding the area has brought the Milner House back to the public’s attention. Residents of the area and stakeholders are arguing for the building’s preservation. A meeting between Heritage Winnipeg and West Broadway Community Organization was held in early July 2013 to discuss future plans for the Milner House. Stakeholders will be working together over the next several months to try and come up with a mutually acceptable solution on how to proceed regarding this historic house that will then subsequently be proposed to the owners. Any updates posted over the next few months will be found on this page.

For more information on the history of the Milner House:

Please see our previous posts here and here or take a look at the Milner House Historical Building Report

Millennium Centre

Formerly known as The Canadian Bank of Commerce Building, The Millennium Centre, located at 389 Main Street, officially opened in June 2002.
               THEN (1903)                             NOW (2004)

The Canadian Bank of Commerce first opened their offices in Winnipeg in 1889. Designed by architects Darling and Pearson, the 1889 building was torn down and moved to another CIBC bank location in Regina in 1906. The current building occupying 389 Main Street (a similar but larger version of the former structure that was transferred) was designed by the same architects along with the help of Winnipeg's own Charles H. Wheeler. It officially opened in October 1912 and served as the site of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce until 1969. The building was vacated that year and remained so for approximately 30 years.

The Bank of Commerce is a significant piece of Winnipeg banking history, and in 1970, the Winnipeg City Council fought to prevent the destruction of this important landmark. For its protection, the building was subsequently given a Grade I Heritage Building status in 1979 by the City of Winnipeg. In 1999, a group of volunteers came together as the Winnipeg Millennium Council and initiated a project to restore, preserve, and revitalize the building. In 2000, the Marwest Group of Companies donated the building to the 389 Main Street Heritage Corporation, a non-profit corporation and charity. Forming a partnership with the 389 Main Street Heritage Corporation in 2002, Storm Catering would use the main floor banking hall to host special events and welcome the public back into the building.

While the main floor and basement are in use, the five upper floors remain vacant, and the Board of the 389 Main Street Heritage Corporation hopes to restore the entire building. Steps have been taken to develop a model and plan for utilizing the entire building. Having partnered with Artspace Inc. to generate a potential model, the Corporation envisions a fully restored building featuring art galleries and museums on the upper floors, while the main floor will serve as an information and resource centre. Any updates regarding the Millennium Centre will be posted on this page.  

The Millennium Centre was awarded the 'Best Architecture' for our 2013 Doors Open Winnipeg Event. Click here to see all of 2013's Doors Open Winnipeg award recipients.

The Vaughan Street Jail

The Vaughan Street Jail was built in 1881 and designed by architect, Walter Chesterton. The interior of the jail housed 4 separate wings and a basement for the worst offenders. Towards the end of the 1890s, issues with the building's structure began to emerge, so the city called upon Samuel Hooper, the Provincial Architect to work on the building renovations. In 1930, the jail closed as a provincial facility and became a youth detention centre. Later on, it became a remand centre and officially closed as a holding facility in 1984.

THEN (1912)

NOW (2004)

The Vaughan Street Jail was awarded the 'Best Tour Award' for our 2013 Doors Open Winnipeg Event. Click here to see all of 2013's Doors Open Winnipeg award recipients.

Here are some photos of the actors who performed for the tours at the Vaughan Street Jail during the 2013 Doors Open Event

Clockwise starting from top left: the judge, the lunatic, Kafchenko, and the matron

Old Kildonan Presbyterian Church

The Kildonan Community Church was designated as a Heritage Building in 1993/1994 by the Province of Mantioba and the City of Winnipeg. Friends of Historic Kildonan Church have announced plans to stabilize and restore Old Kildonan Church, which is one of the oldest stone churches remaining in Winnipeg. 

To form a new colony near the Red River, Lord Selkirk recruited Scottish farmers and promised to provide them with a Presbyterian minister of their own if they came over; however, the Scottish settlers who arrived to Selkirk in the early 1810s waited approximately 40 years and had to make numerous petitions before that occurred. In 1851, Reverend John Black, the first resident Presbyterian minister in the West came to Kildonan, and the first Presbyterian Church in Western Canada was built shortly thereafter in 1854. Made of solid limestone and resembling the settlers' parish in Scotland, the building represents the faith and persistence of some of the first European settlers on the prairies.

The congregation of Kildonan Community Church was vacated in 1988 and in 2005, they concluded that they would no longer be using the building and began searching for proposals for reuse of the building. They eventually gave permission to eleven volunteers, now known as the Friends of Historic Kildonan Church, to restore the church. Restoration will include roof, wall, and window repair to waterproof the building.


Former Normal School

Update (Aug 30, 2013): Please see our article on 'A Port in the Storm' here for information on the progression of this project.

The St. Boniface Normal School, built in 1902 and enlarged in 1928, stands as a symbol of the determination of francophones to sustain their language and culture through education. The stately though modest Neo-Classical styled structure was initially dedicated to the preparation of French-speaking teachers who were needed as a result of the 1896-1897 Laurier-Greenway compromise allowing for bilingual instruction in public schools.

Currently, Heritage Winnipeg, Enterprises Riel, Heritage St. Boniface, and other stakeholders have been working together with the new owners, Port In the Storm, to look at the different options for redevelopment of this heritage building.

Heritage Canada's Top 10 Endangered Places List 2013

The Heritage Canada Foundation has posted their 2013 Top Ten Endangered Places List. To see which Canadian buildings and places made the list, click here

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

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