Posts Tagged With: Ashdown Warehouse

Up on Our Roof Top

What Next?

roof top ash downOur condo,the Ashdown Warehouse added a brand new roof top patio this summer. We’ve been using it quite a bit, taking guests up there before dinner for drinks and after dinner for dessert. rooftop patio ashdown warehouseMy sister-in-law in Ontario asked why I hadn’t put some photos of our roof top patio on my blog. She was anxious to see it. fran and marge rooftopLast weekend the weather was much nicer than it is today.Our friends Fran and Marge were over and we not only had appetizers, but our dinner up on the roof top. I took my camera along and got some photos. view from ash down warehouse roofIt was a beautiful fall evening. We have some great views from our roof top. seating area ashdown warehouse roofThere are a half a dozen little meeting and sitting areas that afford different groups privacy.roof top ashdown warehouse The furniture is unique and attractive. view from ash down warehouse roof topReal estate agents tell us the roof top area has added value to all our…

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A Roof With A View

I got a chance for a bird’s-eye view of the heart of the city on Saturday!

As part of the Doors Open Winnipeg event the Arts Space venue at 100 Arthur Street allowed access to their roof top. Visitors were free to walk around and take photos of the Exchange District from a very unique point of view. 

This is the Crocus Building which houses the Crocus Investment Company, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. It used to belong to the Ashdown Hardware Company as you can see from the white letters still etched on the brick near the roof top.  Mr. James Ashdown, a former Winnipeg mayor built it in 1905 to use as a hardware store. It replaced an earlier building erected in 1870 which burned down in 1904. 

I live in a condo in the Ashdown Warehouse where Mr. Ashdown stored the goods he sold, not only in Winnipeg but all across western Canada. Here is my building tucked in between two other buildings. 

The Cube is the focal point of the park in Old Market Square a popular venue for outdoor summer concerts in the Exchange District. The Cube is a performance stage that opened in 2010 and was built at a cost of $1.2 million. During the Winnipeg Jazz Festival and the Fringe Festival the park is alive with performers and people. 

The distinctive Confederation Building was built in 1912 in the Chicago style of architecture and was occupied by the Confederation Life Association for over 50 years. 

The popular Kings Head Pub and Eatery is housed in a building erected in 1896 as a trading centre for hides, wool and furs. In 1906 it became home to a German language press which published 20,000 copies of the paper Der Nordwestern weekly. After serving as offices for an airline and a radio and television wholesaler it became a restaurant in 1983.

The new Red River Community College Paterson Global Foods Institute will be housed in the old Union Tower Building which is currently being renovated and added on to. The new facilities will have a student residence and be home to the college’s hospitality and culinary programs. I am looking forward to having the students living in the Exchange District and adding to our resident population. The facility will also house a restaurant that will be open to the public. 

The Travelers Building was constructed in 1907 as a headquarters for a union of traveling salesmen that was founded in 1882.  It housed offices, meeting rooms, lounges and recreation facilities including a Turkish bath. In 1954 it became the home of federal government offices and in 1976 was redeveloped into a shopping center with specialty shops, galleries and a restaurant currently housing the Peasant Cookery. 

I have been doing lots of walking in the Exchange District since moving here in July and have seen much of it from on the ground. Thanks to Arts Space I was able to get a view from above on Saturday that gave me a different perspective on the neighborhood I now call home. 

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

We’re Living in a Piece of History

  The condo we just moved into,  is located in a building that is a Winnipeg historical landmark. The Ashdown Warehouse on Bannatyne Avenue was built in 1895 by James Henry Ashdown, also nicknamed “The Merchant Prince.” The warehouse, the largest in Winnipeg at the time, had sections added onto it in 1900, 1902, 1906 and 1911. It served as the headquarters for James Ashdown’s retail empire that made him one of Winnipeg’s first millionaires.

At the turn of the century.  The warehouse was used for keeping all the things sold in the Ashdown Store, which was located in a building at the end of Bannatyne- housewares, dishes, cutlery, sporting goods, paint, automotive and electrical supplies, tools, agricultural equipment, plumbing supplies, furniture and wood stoves.  Mr. Ashdown who was a charter member of the Winnipeg Board of Trade used his influence to have a railway line spur built right near his warehouse so it would be easy for him to move things back and forth between his other warehouses in twelve different Canadian cities. 

A set of scales that must have been used for weighing goods still sits in the front lobby of  our building which was designed by S. Frank Peter and J.H.G. Russell. The building has wood post and beam construction and the original walls of Selkirk stone and brick are still visible in all the condos.

James Ashdown came to Winnipeg in 1868, but at the time it was just a little village called The Red River Settlement. Born in London, England, in 1844 James and his family had immigrated to Toronto when he was eight years old . James began his work life as an apprentice to a tinsmith- which is perhaps why there are beautifully tooled tin ceilings in the lobby and elevator of our condo.  James was imprisoned for 69 days by Louis Riel, a Metis’ leader. James was part of a group of fifty citizens who resisted Riel’s attempt to take control of the Red River settlement. 

The enterprising Mr. Ashdown created a catalogue as a method to advertise his products across the country.  Once he loaded up a train that traveled across the country making stops in every town along its route, opening up its doors to sell goods to the local citizens. The forward thinking James chaired a committee of citizens that insisted Winnipeg be incorporated as a city, long before it qualified as a city because of its size.   James would later serve as Winnipeg’s mayor for two terms. 

Mr. James Ashdown had his home at 529 Wellington Crescent. Today it is a well known restaurant, with a pricey menu. Mr. Ashdown lived at 529 Wellington with his wife Susan and their five children. His son took over his business when he died in 1924 and ran it till his own death in 1971.


There is a statue of James Ashdown in the walkway of famous citizens in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park. Mr. Ashdown certainly deserves to be there. He founded the University of Winnipeg and served on its board of directors for 36 years.  He also founded the first YMCA and public school system in Winnipeg. He led the drive to open Assiniboine Park and was a life governor of Winnipeg’s General Hospital. He was a director of the Bank of Montreal and founded the St. Charles Country Club. It was his initiative that got an aqueduct built to provide fresh water for Winnipeg and make typhus a thing of the past for its citizens.  Mr. Ashdown was barely finished one civic improvement before he began thinking about what was next on the agenda to make Winnipeg a better place to live. 

 My home is in a building that belonged to a pretty important man! The Ashdown Warehoue was the first building in Winnipeg’s Exchange District to be turned into residential condos. Now there are quite a few others and more are being built and renovated all the time. 

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