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.
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
Heritage Winnipeg held our Inaugural Heritage Ball on the evening of Friday, September 27th, 2013 to honour the centennial anniversary of the Fort Garry Hotel and to commemorate the significant role that the Fort Garry has played in the cultural and social life in Winnipeg over the last century. Please check out our Flickr account on the homepage for photos of these events.
The Fort Garry was built in 1913, and the 2013 Heritage Ball was intended to re-create the hotel's 1913 inaugural event. The Gala had a railroad theme and featured
a spectacular dinner in the Crystal Ballroom
"Speak Easy" Dance and Dessert
a video of a historical interpretation of the arrival of Dignitaries in 1913 for the Grand Opening of the Fort Garry (To view the Shaw video on YouTube, please click here.)
a presentation of the history of the Fort Garry Hotel by Frank Albo, co-author of the Hermetic Code
Live music by the Danny Kramer Band
MC - Big Daddy Tazz
Heritage Winnipeg is a non-profit charitable organization that promotes the restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation of Winnipeg's built environment. The Gala was a fundraising event for Heritage Winnipeg, and we thank you for your support. Funds raised from this event will help us to continue our work on the conservation of our heritage and history. We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of our generous sponsors, prize donors, and event patrons who helped to make our event a success!
Hudson's Bay Company
University of Manitoba
The Keg on Garry
Winnipeg Trolley Company
The Fort Garry Hotel
WOW Hospitality Concepts
The Fairmont Winnipeg
PaddleWheel River Boats
Banville & Jones Wine Co.
Manitoba Theatre Company
Jordan Van Sewell
Royal Winnipeg Ballet
University of Manitoba Press
Prairie Dog Central Railway
VIA Rail Canada
Canadian National Railway Company
City of Winnipeg
Canadian Pacific Railway Limited
Manitoba Classic and Antique Auto Club (Allen Peters, Ken Rigaux, The Late Jim Hawes, and Bryne McKay)
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.
Winnipeg Police Museum
Dr. Frank Albo
Winnipeg Railway Museum
Events by Emma
Jeannette and Greg Delorme
Elaine and Doug Lochhead
Dr. Jerry Gray
Bridgman Collaborative Architecture
Stainless Concepts Inc.
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"
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.
"We are a diverse community and a new vision for heritage is emerging that will contribute to a new age in Canada. HCF’s 40th Anniversary National Heritage Conference will explore how older communities, cultural landscapes, buildings and intangible heritage are finding new relevance at this watershed moment." [Taken from Heritage Canada's Website]
Formerly a North West Company trading post that was built in 1809, Fort Gibraltar is located at the forks of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. Over the summer, it serves as a tourist attraction and historical site, providing a look back into the lifestyle of those living in the early 1800s. Costumed interpreters act both as educators and as tour guides as they transport visitors back to the period of the voyageurs and traders.
Throughout the year, there are facilities available to rent for special events or functions. They also host the Festival du Voyageur winter festival in February
"A Brief Historical Summary (taken from the Fort Gibraltar Website)
1809 – The North West Company builds Fort Gibraltar
1816 – Fort Gibraltar is captured and destroyed by the Selkirk Colony
1817 – Fort Gibraltar is rebuilt by the North West Company
1821 – North West Company merges with Hudson’s Bay Company – Fort Gibraltar continues its operations under the Hudson’s Bay company standard
1822 – Fort Gibraltar’s name is changed to Fort Garry
1835 – Fort Garry is abandoned but its warehouses are still used
1852 – Fort Garry is destroyed by the Red River Flood
1978 – Fort Gibraltar is rebuilt by the Festival du Voyageur"
For more information, please visit their website here
For more information, please visit the Red River Heritage Fair Website here
Located about a mile away from the Forks, Armstrong’s Point is a small area of land by the Assiniboine River. It was developed in the 1880s and remains a private and isolated area that many Winnipegers are still unaware of to this day. Armstrong’s Point has been formerly known as Pensioners’ Point, Hill’s Point, and Victoria Place. The land on which this suburban area was built was originally given to Captain Joseph Hill by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1848. He sold the property in 1881 to John McDonald and E. Rothwell who divided the land into lots thus converting it into a residential area.
As Winnipeg continued to grow and become a commercial centre, the higher class residents no longer desired to live in the central core of the city. They wanted to escape from the chaos, noise, pollution, disease, criminals, and immigrants that filled the City’s centre streets. Armstrong’s Point offered that exclusivity, safety, and peacefulness that the wealthy desired and has since been home to some of Winnipeg’s richest citizens. Many of the homeowners even named their houses. There are three gated entrances that act to further separate and secure the area from the rest of Winnipeg.
"An intact neighbourhood over a century old, Armstrong's Point is valued by residents and visitors alike. Although individual homes and institutions are acknowledged, it's the area itself - the cluster of large, well-maintained older homes - that is most appreciated. Many of these homes have been evaluated for historical significance (a total of 72 neighbourhood buildings are identified in Historical Buildings Conservation Inventory), but only a few homes and structures are on the Historical Buildings Conservation List. These include two residences (one of which is now used as a private club), a library, and the ornamental entry gates." [Taken from Armstrong's Point Planning Study Final Draft, also see Armstrong's Point Appendices for supplementary information]
To find out more about this historical Winnipeg neighborhood, there is a book entitled Armstrong’s Point, by Randy Rostecki, available for purchase from our office. If you would like to make a donation of $100 or greater in addition to your membership to Heritage Winnipeg, you will receive a complimentary copy. Contact our office if you are interested or have any questions.
Randy Rosteki (left) and Melanie Wight (right), MLA Burrows
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:
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.