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July 8, 2021

Canada Historic Places Days 2021

Step back in time during Canada Historic Places Days! Whether exploring your community in person or traveling across the country virtually, July 2021 is your opportunity to learn about the rich heritage of the many historic places in Canada. Presented by the National Trust for Canada with the support of Parks Canada, Historic Places Days is a month-long celebration of the stories behind the historic buildings, sites, and landscapes of Canada. Now in its fifth year, there are over 400 different sites participating, each with their own story to tell. You can visit the many local sites in person or take part in a virtual event, connecting with people from across the country. From Ross House to Riel House, Winnipeg’s historic sites are ready to welcome you!

This year Heritage Winnipeg is excited to announce that the Millennium Centre will be taking part in Historic Places Days! Originally opened in 1912, this Bank of Commerce building is a glorious “temple of finance” on Winnipeg’s Bankers’ Row. One of finest example of Beaux-Arts classicism on the prairies, surprisingly little about the building has changed in the past century. The grand banking hall is still outfitted with tones of marble, decorative plaster, bronze flourishes and leaded glass. Tapestry still covers the walls of the managers office, accented with walnut and completed with a decorative plaster ceiling. Even the basement continues to hold fast to beautiful historic finishes, draped in marble and home to the original brass elevator, which quietly waits for its chance to ascend upwards once again. But by far the most spectacular room in the building is the regional superintendent’s office on the third floor. Although the gilding has faded over time, one cannot help but gasp at the original over-the-top ornate plaster ceiling with an army of cherubs watching over you. And if you manage to tear your eyes away, the giant fireplace at the end of the room and the quarter-cut oak paneling are also a beautiful sight to behold. Heritage Winnipeg will be hosting a virtual tour of the spectacular building, taking you behind closed doors and sharing all the character defining elements hidden within. Be sure to follow Heritage Winnipeg on social media so you do not miss this exciting event!

The front facade (above) and the banking hall (below) of the Millennium Centre.
Source: Heritage Winnipeg

Along with the Millennium Centre, there are also 17 historic places and eight exciting events taking part in Winnipeg this year. No matter what your historical interests are, there is something for everyone, starting with Indigenous history at the Forks from 6000 years ago, to a 1940s themed tea party at Dalnavert Museum. Put on your walking shoes and get ready to learn about the places and people that helped shape the city we know today!

Exchange District National Historic Site
With over 110 heritage buildings, the area was officially designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1997. Marvel at the beautifully preserved architecture of the adaptively reused warehouses and bank buildings, now home to a vibrant arts and cultural community. The Exchange District is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll in the city, with many unique shops and restaurants to visit.

Central Park
The park was opened in 1894 and is one of four pioneer green spaces created by the City of Winnipeg’s Public Parks Board. An oasis of green at the heart of the city, Central Park has adapted over the century to meet the needs of a modern city. Cool off at the splash pad on a hot afternoon or join in a game of soccer in the evening and don’t forget to visit the historic Waddell Fountain, Thomas Waddell’s tribute to the wife he lost.

The Waddell Fountain in Central Park, circa 1948, with Knox Church in the background.
Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces

Dalnavert Museum and Visitors’ Centre
A stunning example of Queen Anne Revival architecture, this 1895 home is a beautiful National Historic Site at the heart of the city. Step inside and find yourself transported back to the 19th century, when Sir Hugh John Macdonald and his family made the house their home. Dalnavert is hosting two events this year, a Strawberry Tea centered around Métis culture and a Blueberry Tea with a 1940s theme. Learn to jig, listen to some 1940s music and enjoy a cup of tea with dessert!

The Forks
One of the first stops for anyone visiting Winnipeg is The Forks National Historic Site. This must see attraction covers over 6000 years of history, once a site where Indigenous people fished and camped, it is now an urban meeting place where Winnipegger’s of all ages come to play. History can be found everywhere you turn, from the Oodena Celebration Circle to the Johnston Terminal. Come see where the rivers meet and the foundations of Western Canada were laid!

St. Boniface Heritage Garden
Located on the banks of the Red River, this garden is on the grounds of the historic Archbishop of Saint-Boniface Residence. Opened in 2018, the garden was designed to celebrate the important contributions of the Métis Nation to Manitoba’s history, and recognize the role of the religious organizations who helped develop Manitoba’s health, educational and social service systems.

St. Boniface Heritage Garden.
Source: Google Maps

Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum

Standing tall for over 170 years, the St. Boniface Museum is the oldest building in Winnipeg! Built as the Grey Nun’s Convent, North America’s largest oak log structure is now the perfect place to learn more about local Francophone and Métis heritage.

Winnipeg’s West End
Filled to the brim with history, culture and community, the West End is a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood in Winnipeg. A beautiful collection of historic buildings is complimented with the outstanding collection of outdoor murals – the most you will find anywhere in Winnipeg! The murals create a bright and beautiful neighbourhood, while telling the story of the people and events important to the West End.

Ross House Museum
A wonderfully preserved example of Red River frame style architecture, Ross House was built in 1854 for an influential Métis family. It was originally built on the western banks of the Red River in downtown Winnipeg, where it served as the first official post office in Western Canada. The house lived a long and interesting life before being adaptively reused as a museum and moving across the city to it current location in Joe Zuken Heritage Park. Today it offers visitors an intimate snapshot of life in the Red River Settlement during the 19th century.

West End Cultural Centre
From its roots as a humble wooden church, the West End Cultural Centre has adapted and grown become a wonderful example of how heritage buildings change to better fit the needs of their evolving community. The building was expanded, rebuilt and expanded some more, all the while hosting three different churches and the Portuguese Association of Manitoba before becoming the music venue we known and love today.

The West End Cultural Centre.
Source: Google Maps

La Maison Gabrielle-Roy
Like a ray of sunshine, La Maison Gabrielle-Roy shines bright on a quiet street in historic St. Boniface. Inside the yellow house the childhood home of famed French-Canadian author, Gabrielle Roy, is wonderfully conserved. Often used as a setting in her writing, the house truly brings Roy’s stories to life!

Vimy Ridge Park
A beautiful park along Portage Avenue, Vimy Ridge Park offers lots of space for recreation as well as space for reflection on the two World Wars. Statues commemorating those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom are found in the park, including one that originally stood in Vimy Ridge,  and another for local war hero Andrew Charles Mynarsk.

Minto Armoury
Like a castle from a fairy tale, the Minto Armoury is a sprawling example of the Tudor Revival style in the West End neighbourhood. Built over 100 years ago, this National Historic Site is still used by the military and is now also home to three regimental museums.

The Minto Armoury.
Source: Krazytea

Seven Oaks House Musuem
The indisputable oldest house in Winnipeg, Seven Oaks House was built by the Inksters, an influential Métis family in the Red River Settlement. Surrounded by lush landscaping, the large family home is now filled with fantastic artifacts from Inkster family, providing a window back in time. Recently nominated as a National Historic Site, the house a real hidden gem!

Riel House
Once home to the family of  Manitoba’s founding father, Louis Riel, Riel House was built by his brother, Joseph in 1880. The small house contains a big history – exploring everything from the daily life of the Métis to the birth to the province of Manitoba!

Transcona Museum
This vibrant community museum is located in the charming 1925 former Bank of Toronto building, highlighting the history of the area from Indigenous culture to the railway industry to the natural landscape. Along with the building, the museum is putting on four exciting events as part of Historic Places Days with fun for all ages: Community Walking Tours, KidsQuest 2021, TransconaQuest 2021 and Windows @ 141. Lace up your shoes and get ready to discover the history of “The Park City”!

Historical Museum of St. James-Assiniboia
Not one, not two, but three historical buildings make up this museum! You’ll find the 1856 Red River Frame House, the 1911 Municipal Hall, and the 1890s Interpretive Centre, filled with historic furnishings and displays about pioneer life. The museum will also be celebrating Pioneer Heritage Days, with fun activities and music, paying special tribute to the 100 anniversary of the Municipality of St. James. Also don’t forget to join in the virtual Yarn Doll Craft Workshop on July 10, 2021 at 2:00 pm!

Fort Gibraltar
Originally built in the early 19th century by the North West Company on the west side of the Red River, this 1970s reproduction of Fort Gibraltar brings the past back to life! Best known for hosting Festival du Voyageur, there are newly installed interpretative panels to help visitors learn about the rich history of the Fort.

Fort Gibraltar.
Source: Google Earth

For those that are feeling extra adventurous, be sure to check out these other great sites and events in our province:

St. Andrews Heritage Centre (St. Andrews, MB)
Old St. Andrews Church (St. Andrews, MB)
Lower Fort Garry (St. Andrews, MB)
Stonewall Quarry Park (Stonewall, MB)
Fort la Reine Museum (Portage la Prairie, MB)
Commons Barn (Altona, MB)
Altbergthal School (Altona, MB)
Friesen House-Barn (Altona, MB)
The Herdsman House (Neubergthal, MB)
Pembina Threshermen’s Museum (Winkler, MB)
‘Pioneer Days & Western Ways’ at the PTM (Winkler, MB)
Miami Railway Station Museum (Miami, MB)
Winnipeg River Heritage Museum (St-Georges, MB)
Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (Morden, MB)
Nellie McClung Heritage Site (Manitou, MB)
Manitoba Agricultural Museum (Austin, MB)
Star Mound (Louise, MB)
Crystal City Printing Museum (Crystal City, MB)
McCreary Museum (McCreary, MB)
Minnedosa Museum and Heritage Willage (Minnedosa, MB)
Daly House Museum (Brandon, MB)
Riding Mountain Park East Gate Registration Complex (Onanole, MB)
Hillcrest Museum (Souris, MB)
Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site (MB & ON)

When you take part in Canada Historic Places Days you can also win great prizes by entering the Selfie Contest and the #VisitList Contest! Post a selfie at you at your favourite historic place in July with #historicplacesdays, tag the historic place, tag and follow @nationaltrustca, and be entered to win $1000 for yourself and $1000 the site! Or create a #VisitList on the Historic Places Days website with at least three historic places you hope to visit, and share your excitement for a chance to win one of fifteen $500 VIA vouchers! Be sure to visit the Historic Places Days website for full contest details.

To learn more about Historic Places Days and all the wonderful ways you can take part, please visit the Historic Places Days website. This July, let’s get out and celebrate our history from coast to coast!

THANK YOU TO THE SPONSOR OF THIS BLOG POST:

SOURCES:

Attractions at The Forks | Forks North Portage Corporation

Historic Places Days | National Trust for Canada

History | La Maison Gabrielle Roy

Minto Armoury (969 St. Matthews Avenue, Winnipeg) | Manitoba Historical Society

St. Boniface Heritage Garden | Archdiocese of Saint Boniface

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