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.
Here are some photos of the actors who performed for the tours at the Vaughan Street Jail during the 2013 Doors Open Event
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.
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.
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.
For more information on the reopening of the Metropolitan Theatre, please refer to the following articles
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 articlesShow Over for Metropolitan
Historic Theatre to Supper Club
We would also like to thank the Asper School of Business for allowing us to use the fabulous space in the J.W. Burns Executive Education Centre on the 2nd floor, 177 Lombard Ave., in the former Great West Life building. This space recently won a 2013 HW Preservation Award for the sensitive restoration of the 2nd floor space including the historic GWL Board Room. See our Annual Preservation section for further information.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Asper School of Business is Steve Vieweg, Director - Executive Education (left)
Best Tour: Vaughan Street Jail (444 York Avenue)
Accepting the award on behalf of the Vaughan Street Jail is Kristen Verin-Treusch (left)
The Hidden Gem: Cathedral of Saints Vladimir and Olga (115 McGregor Street)
Accepting the award on behalf of the Cathedral is Pastor Msgr. Michael Buyachok
Best Overall Experience: Shaarey Zedek Synagogue (561 Wellington Crescent)
Accepting the award on behalf of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue is Bill Weissmann, Tour Guide
Best Architecture: Millennium Centre (389 Main Street)
Accepting the award on behalf of the Millennium Centre is Giles Bugailiskis, Board Member (left)
Striving for Excellence Special 10th Anniversary Award: The former Dominion Bank Building, now Bridgman Collaborative Architecture (678 Main Street)
Accepting the award on behalf of the Bridgman Collaborative Building are Marcella Porier (left) and Wins Bridgman (right)
in celebration of the building’s 100th birthday
(signed by the artist) $20.00 each (including taxes)
AVAILABLE AT THE
HERITAGE WINNIPEG OFFICE
IN SUPPORT OF THE DOORS OPEN WINNIPEG EVENT
SPECIAL 10TH ANNIVERSARY
DOORS OPEN SOUVENIR EDITION BOOKLET
"CELEBRATING THE STORIES OUR BUILDINGS TELL"
10 SPECIAL PRINTS
SPECIAL PRICE OF $20.00 EACH
PROCEEDS IN SUPPORT OF
DOORS OPEN WINNIPEG
Sketches by local artist Robert J. Sweeney
Artist, Robert J. Sweeney, has
practiced Product and Building design in
both Canada and the U.K. His designs have
been the recipient of several
international design awards and
citations. Robert is an alunus of
the University of Manitoba.
He is the-author and illustrator
of the book, Portraits of Winnipeg,
Turnstone Press, ISBN 978-0-8801-381-1,