Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Electric Company Harrow Substation / Manitoba Electrical Museum (680 Harrow Street, Winnipeg)

This brick building on Harrow Street in Winnipeg was constructed in 1920 as a substation for the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company to distribute electricity to consumers in this area of the city. In 1937, a one-storey brick addition, measuring 26 feet by 38 feet, with structural steel provided by Dominion Bridge, was built by the construction firm of John Gunn and Sons at a cost of about $15,000.

Acquired in 1953 by the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board (predecessor of Manitoba Hydro), it now hosts the Manitoba Electrical Museum and Education Centre. A portion of the building remains functional as an electric service substation.

The objectives of the museum are to educate visitors on the history of electrical system developments in Manitoba and related consumer goods since the 1880s; to describe new and emerging generation technologies, sustainable development of electricity systems, and energy conservation and consumer choice; and to focus on electricity safety. Originally supported by Manitoba Hydro, the museum transitioned to public operation through 2017.

The 15-foot, 10-inch diameter, 28,000-horsepower, fixed blade hydraulic turbine in front of the museum building generated 7.5 billion kilowatt hours of electrical energy at Great Falls Generating Station from 26 August 1928 to 19 May 1987. It was put here as a tribute to the pioneers of the hydroelectric industry in Manitoba. The nearby windcharger was made in Sioux City, Iowa in 1940. It used the wind to generate DC electric power and charge a battery bank. Erected in 1942 on the farm of J. A. Dimmick near Gilbert Plains, it was removed from service in 1950 and donated to the museum in November 2001.

In 2002, the museum was given a Conservation Award by Heritage Winnipeg.

Manitoba Hydro Harrow Substation

Manitoba Hydro Harrow Substation (no date)
Source: Manitoba Hydro Building, Winnipeg Building Index, University of Manitoba

Great Falls Unit No. 5 Turbine in front of the Manitoba Electrical Museum

Great Falls Unit No. 5 Turbine in front of the Manitoba Electrical Museum (2010)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Windcharger in front of the Manitoba Electrical Museum

Windcharger in front of the Manitoba Electrical Museum (2010)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.85577, W97.15420
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Dominion Bridge Company

Manitoba Business: John Gunn and Sons

Manitoba Business: Winnipeg Electric Railway Company / Winnipeg Electric Company


“Business firms will expand work plants,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 April 1937, page 20.

“Permits taken out,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 April 1937, page 4.

Fort Rouge Through the Years, Souvenir Booklet, 1974 by Fort Rouge Centennial Sports Committee, 1974, page 33.

Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

We thank Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 February 2024

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