Historic Sites of Manitoba: Industrial Training School / Manitoba Home for Boys / Agassiz Youth Centre (Crescent Road East, Portage la Prairie)
Between 1908 and 1909, a four-storey stone and brick building, designed by provincial architect Samuel Hooper, was constructed by the Snyder Brothers on the edge of the Portage la Prairie, beside Crescent Lake, as a home for the Industrial Training School. Modeled on the Minnesota Training School at Red Wing, Minnesota, the facility opened its doors in February 1910 with the transfer to its custody of 20 boys from the Central District Gaol. It was intended as a facility to deal with “juvenile delinquents” and others by giving them work-related training, with instruction in tailoring, shoe-making, gardening, carpentry, blacksmithing, baking, cooking, farming, and sewing. Later, other buildings were added nearby, some of which still remain at the site. In 1931, it was renamed the Manitoba Home for Boys.
During the Second World War, the site was taken over by the Canadian military, forcing the staff and boys to move to temporary quarters at Carman and the Whiteshell Forest Reserve. They returned to Portage la Prairie after the war.
Known as the Agassiz Youth Centre since 1977, the 59-acre site is operated by the Manitoba government as a youth correctional centre for young offenders.
Photos & Coordinates
The Early Years of the Manitoba Home for Boys (Portage la Prairie), 1889-1948 by Cameron Harvey. Winnipeg: The Author, 2010. [Manitoba Legislative Library, HV 9110 .P6M3 Har]
Portage la Prairie, 1870-1970 by Anne M. Collier, Portage la Prairie, 1970, page 250.
We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 September 2021