St. Charles Hotel - 235 Notre Dame Avenue

Update March 4, 2014: St. Charles Owner Fights Heritage Label in Court Action
 



Update August 8, 2013: The owner of the St. Charles Hotel has complied with the bylaw, and the building is now up to code. Future plans for the building are still unknown, but the owner will retain ownership. Future updates will be posted on this page as the information is acquired.
 

Located at the northwest corner of Albert Street and Notre Dame Avenue, this three-storey structure was built in 1913. Since 2008, Heritage Winnipeg has been working with the hotel’s owner to help him redevelop the hotel, but the owner has not cooperated. Without a sprinkler system to protect it as part of the Vacant and Derelict Buildings bylaw, this building is at future risk, and Heritage Winnipeg has encouraged the city to take the property so that a new owner can convert the building into a successful heritage project that can once again function as an integral part of the Exchange District. 

On May 27, 2013, the issue was taken back to the Standing Committee on Downtown Development, Heritage and Riverbank Management. Heritage Winnipeg spoke on behalf of the city taking the title and have put out, through CentreVenture Development Corporation, a public “Request for Proposal” to purchase and restore this heritage building.



James Avenue Pumping Station


Located along the Red River in Winnipeg's Exchange District, the James Avenue Pumping Station was built in 1906 in response to the challenges the city faced during a large fire on Main Street in 1904. At the time, the city could not generate enough water pressure to successfully fight the fire, so firefighters had to use untreated river water as a resource and release it into the main lines. Unfortunately, this caused a typhoid outbreak due to contamination of the city's drinking water. As a result, the pumping station was created to assist with future firefighting. The brick one-storey station opened in 1907. With a capacity to pump up to 9,000 gallons of water per minute, the James Avenue Pumping Station was the largest facility of its kind globally. Decommissioned in 1986 by the City of Winnipeg, the building has not been in use since then.

Various ideas on what to do with the abandoned historical building have been suggested and subsequently declined due to the costs associated with the different projects. What makes this building even more difficult to redevelop is being able to incorporate the architectural character and history of the building into the new design. Neglecting to do so would defeat the purpose of trying to preserve this heritage building. The current and most promising proposal to date for the James Avenue Pumping Station is a mixed-use 24-storey high-rise tower that will preserve the original brick structure and pumping equipment of the historical building on the ground floor. Upper floors can potentially serve as office space, retail space, small restaurants, apartments, and/or condominiums
 

Projected design for the potential high-rise tower to be built at the James Avenue Pumping Station.

 
For more information regarding proposal plans for the James Avenue Pumping Station, please see this August 2013 Article published by the Winnipeg Free Press.  In addition please click on the links below for other more recent articles:

Winnipeg Sun (8/8/13): Big Plans for James Avenue Pumping Station
2012 Pumping Station Conundrum Article

Winnipeg Free Press Article - December 16, 2013
Winnipeg Free Press Article - January 6, 2014
Winnipeg Free Press Article - Exchange District Tower approved - January 6, 2014
Winnipeg Free Press Article - January 8, 2014

CBC Manitoba News Article - 24-storey OK'd for Tower- January 6, 2014
Winnipeg Free Press Article- January 10, 2014

Winnipeg Sun Article - January 10, 2014  - Pumping station backer never claimed-to be an architect
Winnipeg Free Press Article - January 13, 2014
 


A Port in the Storm

Founded by two oncology nurses, Joanne Loughery and Patrcia Bejaminsin, and a patient volunteer, Greg Pilgrim in 2005, A Port in the Storm Inc. (APTIS) was established to "provide a safe, supportive and affordable home-like environment for rural and northern adult patients and their families who are in Winnipeg to receive medical treatment".

APTIS is a charitable organization whose operations are governed by a board of directors. To date, some of their most noteworthy achievements include
  • "Raising $2,500,000 in donations prior to having a market presence
  • Purchasing land and building in St. Boniface for the future development of a new 40 room facility
  • Engaging Bridgman Collaborative Architectures Ltd. to prepare architectural plans and prepare Class B estimates for the new facility
  • Committing Ambassador Gary Doer to be the official spokesperson for the organization
  • Establishing a market presence by temporarily leasing space from Villa Aulneau until the new facility is complete"
All of the above are important because they contribute to the success of APTIS's short and long term operational plans. Until completion of the development of their new facility, APTIS will be working from their current location in Villa Aulneau. The ultimate goal is to run a new facility, which will house 40 rooms, at 210 Rue Mason (the former St. Boniface Normal School).

In order for APTIS to achieve its goals, they need to raise the funds needed to support their operations and capital development. They currently have two fundraising campaigns - an operational one to subsidize rental rates paid by guests and a capital one to develop the new facility

Vision for the Future:
APTIS intends to renovate and restore the 210 Rue Mason heritage building. The project is expected to be funded completely through fundraising efforts and donations. This larger space will allow APTIS to better accommodate their guests and allow for intake of more patients. As owners of the facility, APTIS will be in direct control and thus are more unrestricted in making the decisions they see best fit in accordance with their mandate.

For more information, visit their website here.

Milner House


Located in Winnipeg’s West Broadway area, the Milner House was purchased in 1991 by Great West Life Insurance Company (GWL), who initially had intentions of tearing it down and converting the space into a parking lot. This heritage building has been vacant since 1990. In 2011, Heritage Winnipeg spoke in opposition of de-listing at the Standing Committee Meeting. Subsequently, the City of Winnipeg rejected the company's plans to destroy the building.

However, the requirement of a rezoning application for the current parking layout surrounding the area has brought the Milner House back to the public’s attention. Residents of the area and stakeholders are arguing for the building’s preservation. A meeting between Heritage Winnipeg and West Broadway Community Organization was held in early July 2013 to discuss future plans for the Milner House. Stakeholders will be working together over the next several months to try and come up with a mutually acceptable solution on how to proceed regarding this historic house that will then subsequently be proposed to the owners. Any updates posted over the next few months will be found on this page.

For more information on the history of the Milner House:

Please see our previous posts here and here or take a look at the Milner House Historical Building Report



Millennium Centre

Formerly known as The Canadian Bank of Commerce Building, The Millennium Centre, located at 389 Main Street, officially opened in June 2002.
  
               THEN (1903)                             NOW (2004)

The Canadian Bank of Commerce first opened their offices in Winnipeg in 1889. Designed by architects Darling and Pearson, the 1889 building was torn down and moved to another CIBC bank location in Regina in 1906. The current building occupying 389 Main Street (a similar but larger version of the former structure that was transferred) was designed by the same architects along with the help of Winnipeg's own Charles H. Wheeler. It officially opened in October 1912 and served as the site of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce until 1969. The building was vacated that year and remained so for approximately 30 years.

The Bank of Commerce is a significant piece of Winnipeg banking history, and in 1970, the Winnipeg City Council fought to prevent the destruction of this important landmark. For its protection, the building was subsequently given a Grade I Heritage Building status in 1979 by the City of Winnipeg. In 1999, a group of volunteers came together as the Winnipeg Millennium Council and initiated a project to restore, preserve, and revitalize the building. In 2000, the Marwest Group of Companies donated the building to the 389 Main Street Heritage Corporation, a non-profit corporation and charity. Forming a partnership with the 389 Main Street Heritage Corporation in 2002, Storm Catering would use the main floor banking hall to host special events and welcome the public back into the building.

While the main floor and basement are in use, the five upper floors remain vacant, and the Board of the 389 Main Street Heritage Corporation hopes to restore the entire building. Steps have been taken to develop a model and plan for utilizing the entire building. Having partnered with Artspace Inc. to generate a potential model, the Corporation envisions a fully restored building featuring art galleries and museums on the upper floors, while the main floor will serve as an information and resource centre. Any updates regarding the Millennium Centre will be posted on this page.  

The Millennium Centre was awarded the 'Best Architecture' for our 2013 Doors Open Winnipeg Event. Click here to see all of 2013's Doors Open Winnipeg award recipients.


Old Kildonan Presbyterian Church

The Kildonan Community Church was designated as a Heritage Building in 1993/1994 by the Province of Mantioba and the City of Winnipeg. Friends of Historic Kildonan Church have announced plans to stabilize and restore Old Kildonan Church, which is one of the oldest stone churches remaining in Winnipeg. 

To form a new colony near the Red River, Lord Selkirk recruited Scottish farmers and promised to provide them with a Presbyterian minister of their own if they came over; however, the Scottish settlers who arrived to Selkirk in the early 1810s waited approximately 40 years and had to make numerous petitions before that occurred. In 1851, Reverend John Black, the first resident Presbyterian minister in the West came to Kildonan, and the first Presbyterian Church in Western Canada was built shortly thereafter in 1854. Made of solid limestone and resembling the settlers' parish in Scotland, the building represents the faith and persistence of some of the first European settlers on the prairies.

The congregation of Kildonan Community Church was vacated in 1988 and in 2005, they concluded that they would no longer be using the building and began searching for proposals for reuse of the building. They eventually gave permission to eleven volunteers, now known as the Friends of Historic Kildonan Church, to restore the church. Restoration will include roof, wall, and window repair to waterproof the building.

 


Former Normal School

Update (Aug 30, 2013): Please see our article on 'A Port in the Storm' here for information on the progression of this project.


The St. Boniface Normal School, built in 1902 and enlarged in 1928, stands as a symbol of the determination of francophones to sustain their language and culture through education. The stately though modest Neo-Classical styled structure was initially dedicated to the preparation of French-speaking teachers who were needed as a result of the 1896-1897 Laurier-Greenway compromise allowing for bilingual instruction in public schools.

Currently, Heritage Winnipeg, Enterprises Riel, Heritage St. Boniface, and other stakeholders have been working together with the new owners, Port In the Storm, to look at the different options for redevelopment of this heritage building.




Metropolitan Theatre

After being vacant for over 25 years, the Metropolitan Theatre finally reopened its doors to the public in November of 2012. Now named the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre, it is currently home to a restaurant and lounge, and it also has facilities available to use for special events. The interior of the building is designed to be reminiscent of the older theatre and even retains some of the original fixtures.

BEFORE RENOVATION


AFTER RENOVATION

For more information on the reopening of the Metropolitan Theatre, please refer to the following articles

CBC News Met Theatre to Reopen

Winnipeg Free Press Met Theatre Debut


Good news for the vacant Metropolitan Theatre! It is getting a new lease on life.

Built in 1919 by C. Howard Crane, the Met was originally called the Allen and renamed the Metropolitan after Famous Players cinema chain took it over in 1923. The theatre was the first of the ’movie palaces’ because of its large size and opulent interior décor. The Met has a typical exterior façade used on a number of Allen/Crane cinemas, but has one of the most attractive movie house exteriors that were ever built. One of the first movie “palaces” in Canada, the Metropolitan Theatre was one of the best works of C. Howard Crane, among America’s top-ranking theatre architects.

For Further information on the progress of the Metropolitan Theatre please read the following Winnipeg Free Press articles

Curtain Finally Rising on the Met Makeover
WSO and MET could make beautiful music together
Theatre remake still in the plan
Editorial: Play Acting wont save the MET

Restoration Work to Begin Soon

Show Over for Metropolitan
Historic Theatre to Supper Club


Airport Terminal Getting Attention

Update December 2011: Unfortunately, the old airport terminal has been demolished. Some of the artwork on display at the old terminal can still be found in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba, while some of the artwork was sent to Ottawa for display in a museum. Read here for more information.
 


Winnipeg's modernist air terminal is in danger of demolition once the new terminal opens at the end of October. Heritage Winnipeg has been advocating for its preservation and adaptive re-use. The threat to the Winnipeg Airport terminal has been getting a lot of media attention this week. Below are a few of the highlights.

CBC has an online poll asking whether the 1964 air terminal is worth saving. Please take a moment to vote here.

Gordon Sinclair, Jr. wrote a column in the Winnipeg Free Press: "Why Our Terminal Shouldn't Be Terminated"
Read the article here.

Elizabeth Fleming also had an article in the Winnipeg Free Press's View from the West: "Don't Rush To Demolish Heritage"
Read the article here.

Terry MacLeod interviewed Arni Thorsteinson of Shelter Canadian Properties on CBC Information Radio. Mr. Thorsteinson spoke about a proposal by Shelter Canadian to use part of the air terminal for commercial space and to renovate part of it to house the Western Canada Aviation Museum.
Listen to the interview here.

Steven Stothers has dug up a 1964 article on the Winnipeg air terminal, as well other modernist terminals in Canada, from Canadian Arts magazine. It provides some perspective on the impact of the art and architecture of the terminal when it was originally built.
Check it out here.


We will keep you posted on further developments regarding the 1964 Winnipeg air terminal. Don't forget to vote in the CBC poll!







The Ryan Block

Update August 2013: The Ryan Block was awarded a 'Preservation Award of Excellence" for commercial conservation in 2012. To see a list of all 2012 award recipients, click here

August, 16, 2010

         

The Ryan Block located across the street from Old Market Square was built for one of Winnipeg’s original shoe merchants, city alderman and mayor, Thomas Ryan in 1895. An addition was built in 1903 but ultimately Ryan relocated to a larger building in 1907.

Bedford Investments acquired the property in 1987 and by 1988 they owned all of the properties lining King Street between Bannatyne and McDermot Avenues excluding a one-story building located at 98 King. This property was acquired and demolished by Bedford Investments despite it being on the Historical Buildings Committee’s “inventory”.

The Historical Buildings Committee (HBC) recommended that the Ryan Block at 104 King be put on the Building Conservation List in order for redevelopment discussions to occur at Council level. It was designated historic Grade II on March 11, 1991. Five months later, a massive fire roared through the 3rd and 4th floors causing $250,000 damage. Arson was suspected.

In 1991 The Winnipeg Core Area Initiative agreed to provide the current owners $750,000 in grant money for redevelopment, however no proposal was ever submitted and the monies were redistributed.

The owner (Reiss of Bedford Investments) applied to have the building de-listed in 1992.

On May 16, 2002 The HBC reviewed an engineering report, paid for by the City and CentreVenture, which confirmed the building required some stabilization work but otherwise was structurally sound.

On September 7, 2004 The Standing Policy Committee of the Planning, Property and Development Department (PPD) reviewed another application by Reiss to de-list. The HBC recommended that the building not be de-listed as no change in its architectural or historical significance occurred. The HBC went on to state that this property is one of the key sites within the National Historic Site. City council agreed with the HBC.

“On April 26, 2005 the Reiss was served with an Order under the Vacant and Derelict Buildings By-law No. 35/2004.”

The City of Winnipeg received a copy of the Final Report prepared for Bedford Investments entitiled: “King and Bannatyne Redevelopment Feasability Study” on August 29, 2006. This report formed the basis of a potential public private partnership between the Public Service and CentreVenture in early 2007.

Reiss provided an engineering report on May 28, 2007 done by Wolfrom Engineering Ltd. Stating that the building should be demolished by winter to prevent potential danger to the public.

On June 1st 2007, a second Order was issued to repair all interior and exterior structural components to bring the building into a safe and stable condition, or to demolish the building. On June 4th 2007, Reiss made an application to de-list with intent to demolish.

On June 6th 2007, an engineer’s report from Crosier Kilgour and Partners Ltd. commissioned by the PP&D reported that “collapse is highly possible” and it is unlikely restorable. The report recommended that the building be demolished but stated that the façade was salvageable. On June 20th 2007 City Council agreed with these recommendations. “[Council] adopted the following:

  • That the King Building, 104 King Street, not be removed from the HBC’s list as the heritage values have not changed.
  • That the listing of the King Building be changed to Grade III designation to accommodate the intention of, at a minimum, preserving the two significant facades facing King Street and Bannatyne Avenue as part of a redevelopment of the site.
  • That proper Officers of the city be authorized to do all things necessary to implement the intent of foregoing.”

“[In 2007 Reiss] agreed to a proposed redevelopment of the site [that would see the following objectives implemented]:

  • Preserving the two principle facades
  • Develop a significant ground floor retail space with frontage along King Street and Bannatyne Avenue.
  • Provide as much parking as practical. Given the limited area of the site, approximately 186 parking stalls are envisioned.
  • Limit the height of the proposed building to that of the existing King building to retain its historical integrity.”

Bedford Investments commissioned an architectural design of a mixed-use development that remains sympathetic to the contrast between the historic masonry buildings at the north and south of the property and a semitransparent metal and glass building between. A feasibility study for the development estimated the cost at around $7 million.

“The City’s financial participation of this proposed redevelopment will assist in enhancing the value of the Exchange District as a National Historic Site by retaining and preserving the historic building facades. The at-grade commercial development will contribute to the revitalization of a special character area and the new public parking structure will replace the open undeveloped parking lot thereby maximizing densification while providing an attractive and desirable pedestrian edge. The additional public parking will also support downtown housing in the immediate area and may lever additional private investment” (10).

Source: Winnipeg City Council Minutes December 19th, 2007

The Ryan Block building was destroyed and converted into a parkade that opened in 2010. For more information, please consult the following articles:

For The Winnipeg Free Press Article written by Bartley Kives on October 21st Click Here
For The Winnipeg Free Press Article written by Bartley Kives on October 22nd Click Here
For The Winnipeg Free Press Article written by Staff Writer on October 22nd Click Here



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