On 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
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
The 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.
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……..
The Millenium Centre
The City of Winnipeg is making lots of changes to it’s parking regulations in the downtown area where we live.
Some of these changes may be necessary but there is one change that isn’t a good idea. The Residential Parking permits are being discontinued. These permits which can be purchased for an annual fee allow residents of the Exchange District to register a personal vehicle with the city. They are then given a pass which allows them to park that vehicle anywhere in the Exchange without paying parking meter fees or moving their cars after time limits for parking have expired.
We have used this pass when our children come to visit us from Saskatoon. It is very inconvenient for them to park their car and keep running outside every two hours to plug a parking meter during a four or five day visit. It is also very expensive. So we park our car on the street and let them have our parking spot. Residents of the Exchange pay taxes just like everyone else in Winnipeg and most other Winnipeg residents can have guests park on the streets in front of their home. Why can’t we have the same privilege? We also used the pass on a cold evening when my elderly parents came for a visit. My mother is in a wheelchair so having them park in our indoor condo garage was much more comfortable and convenient than parking outside. We parked on the street using our residential pass and let my parents have our spot.
The city wants to encourage people to move into the Exchange District. Cancelling the residential parking passes will definitely deter and not encourage more people to move downtown. Right now we pay $25 annually for our residential parking pass. I would be willing to pay more if it meant the program would continue.