Posts Tagged With: exchange district winnipeg

Living In An Art Gallery

What Next?

Winnipeg is a breath away from Canada’s heart. I live at the city’s center in The Exchange District. In 1887 when wheat was prairie gold, savvy entrepreneurs organized a grain exchange and turned this area into a thriving business district. We own a condo in a century old warehouse built by hardware merchant and Winnipeg mayor James Ashdown.

Many of the Exchange District’s corporate residents have been devoted art patrons, so our streets are studded with larger than life public art pieces. I see three when I walk out my front door.

caribou crossing portage and mainStraight ahead eleven massive caribou ford a river. A trio scales the steep bank while the others battle for their lives in the rushing water. Their antlers sprawl like bony tree branches in silhouette against the downtown skyscrapers. The sculpture Seal River Crossing by Peter Sawatsky reminds me that my city stands on land that was once home…

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Categories: Art, Exchange District, History, Sculptures | 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

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

It’s Not A Good Idea

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. 

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

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