Buildings

It Must Be Spring

What Next?

spring blnds richardson buildingThey’re up!  I walk through the ground floor of the Richardson Building almost everyday going to and from appointments and my various part-time jobs. spring blinds richardson building winnipegThey have these enormous blinds on all the high windows in the foyer area and they change with each season.  spring blinds richardson building winnipegEven if you never left the building you’d realize when a new season has begun because the former season’s blinds are gone and the new ones appear.  spring blinds richardson buildingThis morning it is nearly ten degrees below zero and there are snow flurries predicated but I know its spring because the spring blinds are up in the Richardson Building. Go and see for yourself! spring blinds richardson building
Note: With thanks to my brother-in-law Harvey for the idea

Other posts about Richardson Building Art……..

Tom Lamb

Seal River Crossing

North Watch

Tree Children

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The Canadian Human Rights Museum- A Work Still in Progress

What Next?

October 25, 2011October 25, 2011

The new Canadian Human Rights Museum is just a few blocks from my home. I was going through old photos and realized that after we moved to Winnipeg in 2011, I had taken pictures of the Human Rights Museum a number of times as it was being built. It was interesting to see the progress. 

June 21, 2012June 21, 2012

I have yet to visit the museum, since I would like to wait till the exhibits are all complete, something they are predicting for mid November. Plenty of controversy has surrounded the building of the museum and continues to do so with the recent announcement the chief executive officer of the museum has been asked to leave.  It appears the musuem is still a work in progress.

July 3, 2014July 3, 2014

There is no question however that the building which houses the musuem is a piece of iconic architecture which…

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I Went To Jail

Vaughn Street Jail WinnipegOn Saturday I got a look inside the Vaughn Street Jail on a tour that was part of Winnipeg’s annual Doors Open event. The jail housed its first inmates in 1881.earle nelson gorilla killerAs we waited for our turn to enter the building an actor playing the role of serial killer Earle Nelson told us his shocking and violent life story.  Nelson was hung at the Vaughn Street Jail in 1928.margaret scott winnipeg social worker

We were greeted at the front door by  Margaret Scott a social reformer who dedicated forty-five years of her life to helping the poor and marginalized people of Winnipeg, including nursing sick and dying female inmates of the Vaughn Street Jail. cora hindAt the first stop on our tour journalist Cora Hind told us that women, children and men were all housed together at Vaughn Street in the early years. Abuse and assault were everyday occurrences for the women and children incarcerated there.  Nurses Amelia and Lillian Yeomans who served the people in jail in the last years of the 1800s  invited Cora to visit and she wrote a newspaper story about the deplorable conditions in the prison. child prisoners vaughn street jailCora invited a couple of the children in the audience to try their hand at potato peeling and laundry two of the tasks assigned the kids in the Vaughn Street Jail. thomas dalyManitoba was the first province to implement the Juvenile Delinquents Act passed in 1908 and Thomas Daly the first Juvenile Court Judge in the province told us all about it. prostitute winnipeg early 1900s“I don’t bite unless you want me to and then it’s two dollars,” said the young actress portraying a Winnipeg prostitute who worked for Winnipeg’s notorious Madame Minnie at the turn of the century. Prostitutes seldom spent much time in the Vaughn Street Jail as long as they confined their trade to the special Point Douglas area of the city set aside for brothels. At one time some 250 women did business in 50 brothels in the Red Light District near the CPR railway station.

lunatic level of the Vaughn Street JailSince there was little understanding of mental illness at the turn of the century, people who suffered from it were called lunatics and housed in the basement of the Vaughn Street Jail.  Guards taunted them by shackling them to the floor and placing bread crumbs around their faces and hands to entice the rats to nibble on the lunatics’ skin.  The actress playing a lunatic said the unfortunate people’s screams could be heard throughout the prison as the rats attacked. solitary confinement cell vaughn street jailWe walked by the solitary confinement cells in the basement where those who broke the prison rules were housed in darkness for one or two days without a sleeping cot or toilet. Wrist and leg irons attached them to the wall.executioner arthur englishExecutioner Arthur English was hired to carry out some of the hangings that happened in the courtyard of the Vaughn Street Jail.  The first man he executed was John Krafchenko who stole $4000 from the bank in Plum Coulee, Manitoba and killed the bank manager there. vaughn street jailThe Vaughn Street Jail is 133 years old and a group incorporated in 2004 is attempting to have it designated a provincial heritage destination.  The interesting and informative presentation they gave visitors during the Doors Open event is sure to help them in that quest.

Past Doors Open visits……

A Roof With A View

Haunted by Ghosts

Ancient Objects

 

Categories: Annual Events, Buildings, Downtown, History | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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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Winnipeg’s Kelly House- A Home with a Long History

kelly house 88 adelaide streetThis charming home is right here in my Exchange District neighborhood at 88 Adelaide Street, but I had never noticed it till just a couple of weeks ago when I was on  a walk. Built in 1884 it stands as the lone residential dwelling on a street of warehouses, factories and businesses. In 2010 it became the home of Cancer Care Manitoba. 

sunburst motif gables kelly house winnipegI loved the sunburst gingerbread motif on the gables. When I got home from my walk I did some research to learn about the house. thomas kelly winnipegThe house was built by Michael Kelly a contractor originally from Ireland in 1894 for a cost of $2.200. In 1875 the land on which it stood had been given to Alexander McDermott as part of a Crown grant. He sold it to John McKechnie, the Scottish owner of a Winnipeg foundry who in turn sold it to Michael Kelly and his brother Thomas.  Michael lived in the house till 1894. 

kelly house oldMichael and Thomas rented the house to a variety of people.  A Mrs. M Redmond rented it when Michael moved out and in 1896- J.M. Murray a printer took out a lease. James Cadham an architect settled in with his family from 1897 to 1901. Cadham had come to Manitoba from Ontario with the Wolseley Red River Expedition and stayed when he was discharged. By 1908 there was a boarding house at 88 Adelaide run by Mrs. Margaret Little and it was in that same year Thomas became the sole owner of the house. kelly house 2004In 1922 the house was seized by the city of Winnipeg because its owner Thomas Kelly was involved in a big scandal and had failed to pay his taxes. Kelly was arrested for perjury, embezzlement and fraud and although he tried to escape to the United States ended up being sentenced to two  and a half years in Stony Mountain prison. He had been given a contract to build the Manitoba Legislative Buildings and was charged with graft and corruption and lost the contract.  Turns out he was lowering wages and changing building specifications to keep costs down to the unrealistically low bid he’d made. An article in the New York Times claimed he had defrauded the Manitoba government of some $1.182,562. According to an article by Bruce Cherney Kelly only served a nine months of his prison sentence and not behind bars, but staying at the warden’s house and passing his days playing poker. kelly house 2007A whole variety of people owned 88 Adelaide after that, a restaurateur, a hotel proprietor, and a sportswear company.  In 1982 the Winnipeg Film Group had its offices there.
back of kelly house 2004

In 2007 the house was incorporated into the plot of a series of children’s middle years fantasy books called The Serpent’s Spell written by Rae Bridgman.  The 2008 annual report of Centre Venture says they will partner with the City of WInnipeg and Adelaide Investments Group to restore Kelly House as the new headquarters for Heritage Winnipeg.

Photo by Gordon Goldsborough

Photo by Gordon Goldsborough

But I also read the house was in danger of being razed for a parking lot in 2010 and Cancer Care Manitoba saved it and renovated it. The sign on the door today says it is the home of Cancer Care Manitoba as does the Manitoba Historical Society website. 88 adelaide street winnipeg

If you enjoyed this post you might also like…………

Winnipeg’s Millenium Centre- Haunted by Ghosts

Winnipeg The Chicago of the North

We’re Living in a Piece of History

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

In the Middle of A Movie Set

They’re filming a movie in our building! When I got home from the gym yesterday morning I could barely get in the front door of our condo.  The Ashdown Warehouse was serving as a set for a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation movie about political leader Jack Layton . I asked some of the crew about the film and they told me the foyer, front steps and two suites in our condo were being used in the movie. They were very apologetic about any inconvenience caused to the tenants and were extremely polite and courteous. 

Later in the day when I left the condo to buy groceries I saw tons of equipment at the end of our hallway. Turns out the two condos where interior scenes were being shot were on our floor. A film crew member I rode down with in the elevator told me one condo was being used for the livingroom of Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow’s home, and another condo was where the bedroom scenes would be shot. When I got back from the grocery store, I rode up in the elevator with a filming assistant carrying Chinese take-out food in a bag. Turns out it was being used in the next scene they were filming. 

It took most of the day for the them to do the shooting. When I was taking the trash out in the late afternoon, Sook-Yin-Lee the woman who plays Olivia Chow and an older Asian woman who I assume must be playing Olivia’s mother, came out of an apartment near ours with a make-up artist following behind with bags full of cosmetics. 

I couldn’t believe how many people and trucks and pieces of equipment it took to film a few scenes from a movie. A whole block of the street adjacent to our front entry was closed off for movie vehicles and personnel. One of the crew told me they were moving on to Selkirk, Manitoba to continue filming. 

I know that Winnipeg has become a popular spot for making movies, especially in the Exchange District where so many historical buildings have been preserved. I’ve seen film crews in action before, but had never noticed any on our street. It was pretty exciting! Although we had to use the back doors for a while during the day, the inconvenience was worth it just knowing the place where you live was being used as a movie set. I can hardly wait to see the film when it comes out!

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GoodWill and Good Memories

Last week while going for a walk in Winnipeg’s Exchange District neighborhood I found the GoodWill  Store on Princess Street. People donate clothing, books, appliances, furniture, dishes and other things they don’t want to the store and the GoodWill sells them, giving their profits to charity. The GoodWill was a place of wonder and delight for me as a child and I couldn’t resist going inside to see if it was as I had remembered it. I am sure the store has changed in the last 45 years but one thing hadn’t changed. On the far wall just where they had always been, were rows and rows and rows of books from the floor to the ceiling. The shelves of the Good Will Store were one of my main sources for reading material when I was a child. We lived in Steinbach which didn’t have a public library till 1973, the year I turned twenty. Our church didn’t have a library yet, in fact we didn’t even have a building. We met for services in a school basement.  The old Kornelson School where I first attended classes in Steinbach didn’t have a library either.  My parents couldn’t afford to buy me new books all the time and Steinbach didn’t have a book store. 

Perhaps because I had been read to often when I was a child, I grew up loving books and read voraciously. On family trips my Mom would tell me to get my nose out of my book and look at the scenery. Here I am setting off for my first day of school with a book in hand. I could read before I started grade one. So what was a girl who loved to read and had no access to books in her home town to do? My reading salvation lay at the GoodWill store.  On trips to Winnipeg my Mom often made a stop at GoodWill and patiently waited while I picked out books to read. Books were 5 cents each.  On my birthday my Grandma and Grandpa Peters always sent me a one dollar bill in my birthday card. That was 20 books! Should I choose a Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Box Car Children, Elsie Dinsmore, Bobbsey Twins, or another book in the Anne of Green Gables series or Little House series? I was in heaven in the GoodWill Store! All those books!

The GoodWill Store is still in the same location at 70 Princess Street as it was when I was a child. GoodWill was founded by a United Church minister Rev. J. Richmond Craig in 1931 as a way to provide employment to people who were out of work because of the depression. His slogan was “Junk into Jobs.” The store initially sold stuff left over from church rummage sales but expanded quickly. GoodWill continues to provide employment to people who find it difficult to obtain jobs. The GoodWill organization receives no government funding and every year they give their profits to worthy Manitoba causes. They now have 5 stores in Manitoba, four in Winnipeg and one in Ashern. The building at 70 Princess where I bought books was built in 1903 by the Bole Drug Company. Chemists manufactured their products in the building and they were shipped all across Canada. The Bole Building was one of the first to have speaking tubes that allowed the various departments in the building to communicate with one another. D.W. Bole who owned the company was a Winnipeg school trustee and a member of Parliament from 1904-1908.  Pharmaceuticals continued to be produced in the building till 1932 and in 1934 Good Will which was in need of bigger premises took over. In the last 75 years GoodWill has given jobs to hundreds of men and women and provided them with more than $12 million in wages. They have helped to recycle and reuse millions of items that might otherwise have been thrown away. They also made one little girl hungry for books to read very happy and left her with magical memories of their store. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like…………

Children’s Party with Aunt Olly

Kornelson School Memories

Anne of Green Gables -A Faith Perspective

Categories: Books, Buildings, Businesses, Exchange District, Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

River Boat Tour- Red and Assiniboine Winnipeg

When our friends from Hong Kong John and Sandy were visiting last week I took them on a boat tour down the Assiniboine and the Red River here in Winnipeg. 

Our driver Ian was very friendly and shared lots of information about the sites we saw as we drove along. 

A family of Canada geese followed along behind us. Canada geese may seem ordinary to us but they were of great interest to John and Sandy who come from Australia and teach in Hong Kong. Neither Australia or Hong Kong have Canada geese. 

Ian gave a little safety talk before the tour began and told us how to use the provided life jackets. Although the river was flowing quite swiftly it is very low this year. The river walkways are actually open while last year they were under water. 

Ian showed us the colorful marks on the bridge pillars that illustrate the various heights of the river in certain years. The red line was where the river was during the great floods of 1950 and 1997. Much of the city was saved from flooding in 1997 because of the Winnipeg Floodway which was built in the late 1960’s at the insistence of Manitoba’s premier Duff Roblin. 

Ian pointed out many interesting sites as we motored along. I had seen all these landmarks, but it is different to view them from the river.  We saw………….

the Manitoba Legislative Building with the Golden Boy atop its peak 

the uniquely designed Provencher Bridge

the new Human Rights Museum currently under construction

the historic St. Boniface Cathedral

 the statue of Louis Riel the founder of Manitoba

the Alexander Docks 

the old Eatons Warehouse

the toboggan slide used for Winnipeg’s annual Festival du Voyageur and 

many trees whose root system had been eroded by the river water

There was a little girl on board with us and she was thrilled when Ian let her drive the boat for a few minutes. 

Before we knew it we were back at the Johnson Terminal at The Forks.  The boat is a great way to see Winnipeg from a river point of view. I’m glad I took my guests on the trip. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………

Why No Golden Girl

Skating the Red River

The Provencher Bridge

A Controversial Statue

 

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The Mariaggi- A Hotel With A History

Meet Frank Mariaggi! He’s the dapper looking fellow in the mustache sitting front and centre in this photo. Mariaggi was born in Corsica in 1847. He came to Manitoba in 1870 with the troops sent here by Canada’s first prime minister.  Sir John A. MacDonald wanted to assert federal authority because the Metis led by Louis Riel were trying to set up a provisional government. 

Frank liked it in Manitoba and decided to stay.  He married a woman from Gimli, and began to dabble in real estate. In 1903 he opened a hotel named after himself in the Alexander Block which had been constructed by two Winnipeg lawyers at the corner of Winnipeg’s Albert and McDermot streets. 

The hotel was very elegant. It had both single rooms and suites. The suites had their own bathrooms, fancy furniture and steam heat. They were decorated with velvet carpets, thick drapes, oak chairs covered in leather, brass beds and oriental couches. An enclosed horse-drawn carriage picked up wealthy guests from the Canadian Pacific Railroad Station. Meals were served at all hours.

There were separate dining rooms for men and women and Frank himself was the chef. He had a farm on the city outskirts where he raised vegetables, poultry and Jersey cows so he’d have fresh produce for his menu items.  You had to pay extra for meals at the Mariaggi Hotel, but they were worth it. Most other hotels at the time included meals in their nightly rate. The Mariaggi boasted an oyster bar, a Turkish bath and a sparkling fountain. 

The Grotto made the Mariaggi the toast of the town. There were four small dining rooms and a bar in the hotel basement. Sand and mortar were knotted on the walls and at the centre was a pool with goldfish. The whole concept was intriguing and just a bit risqué and drew in patrons in droves. The Mariaggi was also a favorite watering hole for Winnipeg newspaper reporters. Interestingly today the Free Press Cafe is located in the same building that once housed the original Mariaggi Hotel. 

Frank Mariaggi was an innovative man and a successful one. He made a fortune in land dealings in Winnipeg and Port Arthur and then moved back to Corsica in 1908. He purchased his father’s estate and restored it and was named the mayor of the local village. He died in 1918. 

Today there is a new Mariaggi Hotel in the very same building where the old one was located. During Winnipeg’s Doors Open event last month I took a tour.

Owner Don Laluk told us the hotel is a theme hotel. Each room is decorated to look like a certain part of the world– Morocco, Japan, Rome, India, Hawaii, Bali and the Caribbean. The rooms rent from $245 a night to $600 a night. Each room is completely different. Although 80% of the hotel’s clients are Winnipeg people looking for a unique experience they also have guests from Europe and from all over North America. 

In February 2012 CBC News reported that the Mariaggi had won a Trip Advisor award for being one of the ten most romantic hotels in the world.  Although that certainly sounds promising, the sixteen comments posted beneath the news item resoundingly denounced the Mariaggi for many things including poor service, poor ventilation, paper-thin walls, pushy staff and having to pay extra to have the Jacuzzi filled.

However on the Trip Advisor site there are 147 reviews and virtually all of them are positive. So I guess you have to visit the hotel and find out for yourself. All the rooms have hot tubs, big screen TV’s and fireplaces. Meal service and spa service is available at an extra cost.

I had walked by the Mariaggi Hotel many times and wondered what it was like inside. I’m glad the Doors Open Winnipeg event afforded me a peek at the interior. 

Now that I’ve seen the hotel, I don’t really need to stay there. My curiosity has been satisfied.  The old photos displayed on the walls inside the hotel which I spotted on my tour, inspired me to do some research about the Mariaggi’s history and it was interesting to learn about Frank Mariaggi and the first Mariaggi Hotel. 

Information for this article came from………

A 1984 Winnipeg Historical Buildings Report

Virtual Heritage Winnipeg

The Manitoba Historical Society

Categories: Buildings, Businesses, Exchange District, Famous Citizens, Restaurants | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Winnipeg’s Millenium Centre- Haunted By Ghosts

” At night a woman’s ghost walks back and forth between the five front windows”, said our guide as he led us on a tour of Winnipeg’s Millenium Centre, formerly the Canadian Bank of Commerce on Main Street.  The tour was part of Winnipeg’s Doors Open event last weekend.

 The ghost who supposedly floats by these five tall windows is that of a bank secretary who died in the building. Her story was just one of the interesting things I learned when I joined a tour of the Millenium Centre led by Mitch Rouire.  Mitch’s company Storm Catering is in charge of all the events that happen in this former bank building. 

I was interested in touring the Millenium Centre because many years ago there was an art installation there by artist Wanda Koop about a trip she and her mother made to her mother’s birthplace in Ukraine. I found the installation very moving and meaningful. The story of the exhibition was made into a movie In Her Eyes which I often showed to my high school students. 

The 14 foot high ceiling in the main part of the Millenium Centre features this impressive lit dome. 

The cavernous main lobby of the former bank has Corinthian columns and marble walls and floors. 

The day I visited, the main floor of the Millenium Centre also featured a display of historical wedding attire courtesy of the Costume Museum of Canada. The Millenium Centre has become a popular venue for Winnipeg weddings. The Costume Museum which is temporarily closed, houses many of its artifacts at the Millenium Centre. 

We got to peek into the vault. We learned that in the basement under this section of the building there was a stable for the horses and wagons that transported money to the bank from all across Western Canada. 

I went into the opulent bank manager’s office with its walnut woodwork and leather chairs. 

The manager even had his own sitting area and fireplace. 

We saw the office where the ghostly secretary probably met her demise. Women spent the night here bringing the bank’s  accounts up to date, recording the amounts of  every cheque cashed in individual ledger books for each banking patron. These ledgers were moved up and down from the vaults many floors below with a hydraulic elevator. 

The bank superintendent’s office had an ornately carved ceiling, a fireplace and a private bathroom all done in marble.  An X on the floor in the centre of the room marks the spot where the second last superintendent of the bank committed suicide. 

They say the superintendent’s ghost haunts the stairwells during social functions at the Millenium Centre. The story may just be a ploy to prevent guests from wandering around the dark corridors of the building on their own.  

Mitch took us up above the dome and we were surprised to find it was lit by flourescent and not natural light. The dome was very dusty and dirty. Mitch said they cleaned it once but then it was much too bright down on the main floor. 

We learned that many Hollywood movies have used the Millenium Centre for a set, including Shall We Dance, The Assassination of Jesse James, The Divide and The Arrow.

On either side of the lobby as I exited the Millenium Centre were these intricate engravings. This one is titled Banking and shows a banker receiving funds from two citizens. 

This one titled Commerce shows a banker accepting sheaves of wheat from merchants. This is very appropriate since Winnipeg’s Exchange District where the old bank building stands, was the site of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange. Grain drove the economy of Winnipeg for many decades. 

I was glad I had a chance to take a tour inside this magnificent building just two blocks away from my home. I am looking forward to going there again at the end of June when I am invited to a wedding reception at the Millenium Centre.  I wonder if I’ll see any ghosts? 

 

 

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