Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 139 years




No. 85


of 2017

This Old


in Manitoba

Local History


Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Carnegie Library / City of Winnipeg Archives (380 William Avenue, Winnipeg)

In 1901, provincial library J. P. Robertson wrote to American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to request that Winnipeg be given a grant similar to that provided to Ottawa for the construction of a library. In due course, Carnegie donated $75,000 and this building was erected in 1905, on a design by Samuel Hooper, as the city’s first public library. Previously, the library collection had been housed in the City Hall and managed by the Manitoba Historical Society and the city council. Opened officially by the Governor-General of Canada in October 1905, the main floor of the two-storey stone building contained a men’s reading room, ladies’ reading room, general reading room, reference area, book stacks, and offices. The second floor had more book stacks, a children’s department, and a hall used in regular Saturday afternoon lecture series.

The building was closed in 1977 when the Centennial Library (now the Millennium Library, where a painting by Victor A. Long of Andrew Carnegie is displayed) was opened. For the next 37 years, the building housed the City of Winnipeg Archives containing such items as council minutes, tax rolls, building plans and permits, and a wealth of other materials going back to 1873, with a value appraised for insurance purposes at $4.1 million. In 2012, municipally-designated historic building received a Conservation Award from Heritage Winnipeg. Starting in 2013, the building underwent a major renovation that would have made it a state-of-the-art facility, including a temperature- and humidity-controlled storage vault. The building sustained extensive water damage when a hole in the roof was left uncovered by contractors during two separate major rainstorms in 2014. The archival collections were moved out and the building has been standing empty ever since.

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library / City of Winnipeg Archives (June 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Location (lat/long): N49.90051, W97.14492
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Cornish Library (20 West Gate, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. John’s Library (500 Salter Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba


Carnegie Library (380 William Avenue), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, April 1984.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 6 August 2017

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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