August 28, 2023
You Could Own A Piece of History! Shards for Sale
Are you looking for something unique for your home or yard? How about a part of Winnipeg history? An artifact of the past!
Then we have something for you, an opportunity to own a piece of history. Heritage Winnipeg is selling shards from the Winnipeg Theatre and the Thomson and Pope Building. Shards are architectural salvage, pieces of demolished historic buildings – generally from the facade – that have been saved with the hope that they will be reused and continue to tell the story of Winnipeg. The Thomson and Pope Building shards are essentially an oversized Lego set. A single shard can stand on its own, while a collection of shards can be put together to create something fantastic, inside or outside your home. Or you could combine two of these smaller shards with the large shard from the Winnipeg Theatre to create a elegant garden bench. Their potential is only limited by your imagination! The shards are a great look and good conversation piece. If you are interested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with an offer – we want to find these shards a good home!
The Winnipeg Theatre and Opera House, originally called Victoria Hall, was built on the western side of the intersection of Notre Dame Avenue and Adelaide Street in 1883. Constructed of brick and wood, it hosted dances, music shows, concerts, lectures, comedies and even church congregations. Although it was renovated throughout the years, the building owners refused to comply with new bylaws introduced by the City in the 1920s to improve the fire safety in theatres, arguing that their theatre was not used frequently enough to justify such precautions. The consequences of their non compliance was tragic. The Winnipeg Theatre burned down on December 23rd, 1926, resulting in the death of four firefighters when a wall collapsed. Seemingly lost to the annals of time after the fire, a piece of the Winnipeg Theatre was unearthed in 2017 when Manitoba Hydro workers were excavating the site for a new substation, finding a shard. The shard was thoughtfully donated to Heritage Winnipeg so we could find a new home for it where its story would not be forgotten. You can learn more about the history of the Winnipeg Theatre in our blog, Victoria Hall: Finding a Piece of The Past.
Thomson and Pope Building
The Thomson and Pope Building was built at 379 – 381 Portage Avenue in 1914. A commercial building with various occupants, its namesake was Thomson and Pope, a men’s wear shop that resided in the prominent corner location of the structure from 1927 to the late 1970s. The ornamentation of the building’s facades was inspired by the Gothic Revival style, with pale coloured terracotta details standing out against red brick. In the early 1980s, Winnipeg’s City Council decided to demolish the Thomson and Pope Building – along with a number of other buildings in the area – to make way for a new park along Portage Avenue. Heritage Winnipeg advocated for the designation of this historic building to protect it, as building represented an important period in architecture when hand crafted, one of a kind, intricate details where still being used. Our efforts were futile – the building was demolished but the park was never built, with Portage Place Mall erected on the site instead. Fortunately, those involved with the demolition of the Thomson and Pope Building recognized its value, and the terracotta facade was numbered and dismantled piece by piece so it could be saved, with the plan to one day reassemble it. After languished in a City yard, the shards were eventually donated to Heritage Winnipeg so the Thomson and Pope Building could live on, in the homes and hearts of Winnipegger’s and not in a landfill. Learn more about the history of the Thomson and Pope Building in our blog, Lost Winnipeg: The Thomson and Pope Building.