Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Royal Albert Hotel on Christmas Day

royal albert hotel iciclesOn Christmas Day in the morning our family went on a walk. The Royal Albert Hotel just begged to have its picture taken. Built in 1913 it was once a respectable hotel for business people visiting Winnipeg. The original owners were Angelo Ferrari and Patrick Grogan. When the Royal Albert was built it had 54 rooms, a buffet restaurant, a coffee shop and cigar shop.

Ad in the Winnipeg Free Press November 1, 1913

Ad in the Winnipeg Free Press November 1, 1913

Royal Albert Hotel Diningroom

Royal Albert Hotel Diningroom

A downturn in the economy and the outbreak of World War I forced the owners to turn the hotel into a rooming house.

October 1916 ad for rooms at the Royal Albert

October 1916 ad for rooms at the Royal Albert

icicles on the royal albert hotelThe ice had made an intriguing trim on the roof of the sun porch on Christmas Day. The building has had an equally intriguing history. During the Winnipeg General strike in 1919 it housed a Labour Cafe where striking women could go for a free meal. In 1920 its manager was arrested for running a bawdy house. When prohibition ended in 1921 it housed a dance hall and bar. In 1930 the building was taken over by a brewery. In 1961 it was purchased by Gordon Hotels and renovated. They sold it in 1969 and in the 70’s it became a home for hippies, prostitutes, musicians and actors. During the 1980’s the hotel bar nurtured the music careers of legions of young Winnipeg bands and in the 1990’s hosted such bands as Nickelback and Green Day. royal albert hotel on christmas day
In the last year the hotel has been front and centre in the news because it was owned in part by a suspected crime figure who died suddenly. It was shut down because of a water main break and in November a man who appeared to be living in the hotel fell to his death from one of the windows even though the owner Daren Jorgenson said no one should be living there. According to a Winnipeg Free Press article, the building will be auctioned off in January of 2014.

For a detailed history check Winnipeg Downtown Places. 

Other posts about Exchange District buildings……..

Kelly House

The Mariaggi 

The Millenium Centre

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Categories: Buildings, Exchange District | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Discovering St. Cecilia

st. cecilia by Giuseppe Puglia 1630I’ve been getting to know St. Cecilia. We have this great painting of her at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is by Giuseppe Puglia and was painted in 1630.  St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music and in this painting she has turned from her violin to talk to the cherub beside her holding some sheet music. happy birthday ben love cecilia

Then on November 22 we went to hear the Winnipeg Singers in a concert called Happy Birthday Ben! Love Cecilia.  It featured four pieces of music written in honor of St. Cecilia by composer Benjamin Britten. Turns out Benjamin and the patron saint of music were both born on November 22 although Cecilia was born in the second century and Benjamin Britten in 1913. 

winnipeg singers ben and ceciliaLots of other composers besides Benjamin Britten have written music celebrating St. Cecilia and the Winnipeg Singers performed some of their pieces too including works by Purcell, Gounod and Victor Mio as well as a special Hymn to St. Cecilia composed by Michael McKay just for the Winnipeg Singers concert. 

The Ectasy of St. Cecilia by Raphael

St. Cecilia Altar Piece by Raphael

A verse in the Hymn to St. Cecilia composed by Benjamin Britten with words by W. H. Auden celebrates the role the venerated woman plays in musicians’ lives. 

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions 
To all musicians, appear and inspire: 
Translated Daughter, come down and startle 
Composing mortals with immortal fire.

Other posts about art and music………

Landscapes for the End of Time

The Forty Part Motet

Other posts about the Winnipeg Singers

A Handel Meat Pie

Categories: Culture, Winnipeg Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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