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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Legislative Building (450 Broadway, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Photos & Maps | Commemorative Plaques | Sources

The present-day Legislative Building was formally opened on 15 July 1920, the 50th anniversary of Manitoba’s entry into Confederation. It was designed in 1912 by English architects Frank W. Simon and Henry Boddington III who won a British Empire competition over 66 other entries. The paramount example of Beaux-Arts Classical architecture in the province, the building is sheathed in Manitoba Tyndall limestone and is adorned with many allegorical works of art celebrating wisdom, justice, and courage. The Golden Boy atop the dome is symbolic of Manitoba’s eternal youth and progress.

This is Manitoba’s third Legislative Building, built after a period of extraordinary growth and development. The first Legislature occupied the former A. G. B. Bannatyne residence at Main Street and McDermot Avenue until its destruction by fire in 1873. Temporary facilities were used until 1884 when the second building was opened north of Government House. It was demolished in 1920.

In 2003, the Legislative Building (and restoration of its Golden Boy) received a Conservation Award from Heritage Winnipeg.

Photos & Maps

Legislative Building

Postcard view of the Legislative Building, with Government House in the right foreground (1960s)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2014-0292

Next of Kin Monument

Legislative Building with the Next of Kin Monument at right (1930s) by J. Fred Spalding
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2014-0335

Legislative Building

Third Manitoba Legislative Building, from 1920 to present (2010)
Source: James A. Burns

Legislative Building

Map of the grounds at the present-day Legislative Building, showing the location of the “former Parliament Building,” which stood at the site from 1884 to 1920
Source: Manitoba Legislative Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba, [undated pamphlet].

Legislative Building

The second Legislative Building, used from 1884 to 1920.
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2004-0016.

Legislative Building

The second Legislative Building, with the third and present building under construction behind it (May 1917) by Lewis Foote
Source: Archives of Manitoba.

Site Location (lat/long): N49.88502, W97.14708
denoted by symbol on the map above

Commemorative Plaques

Elizabeth II Visit (1970) - Location: Main Floor, south entrance

In commemoration of the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and the special session of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly held on 15 July 1970 to mark the 100th anniversary of Manitoba as a province in the Canadian Confederation.

Mennonite Settlement - Location: Main Floor, opposite room 172

In commemoration of the 1874-1974 centennial of the Mennonite settlement in Manitoba. Placed in December 1974 by the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society.

First Grain Shipment - Location: Main Floor, opposite room 172

On 21 October 1876, a shipment of wheat was consigned to a Toronto grain dealer by a group of Manitoba farmers: G. R. Miller (Kildonan, 204 bushels), John McIvor (Greenwood, 17¾ bushels), J. W. Carleton (Clear Spring, 80 1/6 bushels), H. Soar (St. John, 154 bushels), F. Dick (Springfield, 35 bushels), Neil McLeod (Victoria, 22 bushels), Mr. Black (Springfield, 102 bushels), D. McDonald (Springfield, 94 bushels), John Spear (Springfield, 44 bushels), T. B. Robinson (Rockwood, 32 bushels), Alexander Gibson (Springfield, 33 bushels), John Reich (St. Paul, 40 bushels). [1]

On 15 June 1932, a plaque was unveiled, affixed to a granite boulder on the banks of the Red River, at the site of the original grain shipment. Attended by Premier John Bracken, T. J. Harrison of the Canadian Seed Growers Association, E. Cora Hind, and Archbishop Matheson, four noted grain growers were introduced during the ceremony: Samuel Larcombe, Mr. Mitchell of Dahinda, Seager Wheeler, and Major H. G. L. Strange. [2]

The plaque was subsequently stolen and a duplicate was place on the interior walls of the Manitoba Legislature. The original boulder on the banks of the Red River is no longer there. [3]

Pioneer Women - Location: Main Floor, opposite room 172

This plaque commemorating the pioneer women of Manitoba, was erected in 1931 by the Manitoba Womens’ Institute on their 21st anniversary.

Members’ Gallery (Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly) - Location: Main Floor, opposite room 174

From 1871 until 1876 the Government of Manitoba operated with a bicameral legislature, consisting of an appointed Legislative Council of seven members and an elected Legislative Assembly of twenty-four members. As a cost-saving measure, the Government abolished the “Upper Chamber” in 1876. In those few years of operation, several Manitobans served on the Legislative Council of Manitoba. Portrait of these members hang in the Members’ Gallery across from members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Legislature is the centre of democracy in our free society. Few have earned the unique right and solemn responsibility of representing their constituents in our Assembly. The Manitobans presented in this gallery put their names forward to serve as elected representatives for our province. In honour of their accomplishments and to acknowledge their years of service, this gallery of the Legislative Assemblies of Manitoba celebrates every member, elected to the Manitoba Legislature through general elections and by-elections since 1871.

Speaker’s Gallery (Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly) - Location: Second Floor, by room 242

Following parliamentary tradition, the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba has always had one of its members presiding over the business of the House as the Speaker. It is the duty of every Speaker to be the “voice” of the House, to act as an impartial arbitrator for all members, and to preserve and protect the rules and traditions of the House. In honour of the individuals who have held this office, a portrait of every Manitoba Speaker since 1871 hangs in the Manitoba Speaker’s Gallery. Tradition maintains that a portrait is hung only when the Speaker is no longer a sitting member of the Legislative Assemblies of Manitoba.

From 1871 until 1876 the Government of Manitoba operated with a bicameral Legislature consisting of an appointed Legislative Council of seven members and an elected Legislative Assembly of twenty-four members. The Government abolished the “Upper Chamber” in 1876 in an effort to reduce costs. In those few years of operation, three Speakers served the Legislative Council of Manitoba and their portraits hang in the Speaker’s Gallery along with those of the Speakers of the Legislative Assembly.

Women Vote - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque was unveiled on 25 November 1966 by MLA Thelma Forbes to commemorate the granting of suffrage for women by the Manitoba Legislature on 28 January 1916, the first province in Canada to enfranchise women.

United Empire Loyalists - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque, unveiled by the Winnipeg branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada in 1967, commemorates the arrival in Canada of British subjects from the American colonies who remained loyal to the monarchy after the American Revolution.

Selkirk Settler Bicentenary - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque, unveiled in September 2012 by the Bicentenary of the Red River Selkirk Settlement Committee, commemorates the establishment, in 1812, of a permanent agricultural settlement in the area now known as the province of Manitoba. The text of the plaque is displayed in English, French, and Scots Gaelic.

Ukrainian Settlers - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque was dedicated in September 1951 to the pioneer Ukrainian settlers on the occasion of their sixtieth anniversary in recognition of their contribution to the development of Canada, presented by the Ukrainian Canadian Committee.

British Medical Association - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

The plaque was presented in 1930 in commemoration of the 98th Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association in Winnipeg, on 26 - 29 August 1929.

Jewish Settlement Bicentenary - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque was presented in 1959 by the Canadian Jewish Congress in commemoration of the bicentenary of Jewish settlement in Canada.

Berens River Accident (1952) - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque by sculptor Hubert Garnier commemorates seven Manitoba civil servants killed in an air accident on 21 July 1952, north of Berens River, while travelling from Lac du Bonnet to Norway House. [4]

Frank W. East (Water Resources Board, draftsman)

Robert H. Frederickson (Tourist and Publicity Branch, photographer)

Arthur G. Hanson (Water Resources Branch, engineer)

John G. Horsburgh (Water Resources Branch, engineer)

Martin T. Madden (Liquor Control Commission, chief inspector)

Allan W. McLellan (Liquor Control Commission, inspector)

Russell C. Percy (pilot)

South African War - Location: Second Floor, opposite Legislative Library

This plaque honours those who enlisted for service in the South African War from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902. It was erected by the provincial government on 31 May 1952.

Royal Winnipeg Rifles - Location: Second Floor, by room 265

This plaque honors all who served in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles (Little Black Devils) from 1883 to 1983, dedicated on the centenary of the regiment, on 9 November 1983.

Manitoba War Brides Association - Location: Second Floor, by room 265

This plaque, erected by the Manitoba War Brides Association, is dedicated to honour the War Brides of World War I and World War II who were brought to Canada by the Canadian Government following their marriage to Canadian servicemen in a theatre of war. Between the years of 1942 and 1948, approximately 43,500 brides and 21,000 children from the British Isles and Western Europe settled throughout this country, many of them in Manitoba. Their integration into the population and contribution to the life of this prairie province is a lasting tribute to this historic era.

Winnipeg Grenadiers - Location: Second Floor, by room 265

This plaque honours the sacrifices made by members of the First Battalion of the Winnipeg Grenadiers in their defence of Hong Kong, dedicated on 25 October 1991, the 50th anniversary of their departure from Winnipeg to the Crown Colony.

Royal Canadian Dragoons - Location: Second Floor, by room 265

This plaque was placed by the Royal Canadian Dragoons at this garrison site, from 1885 to 1898.

Winnipeg General Strike - Location: Second Floor, by room 265

This plaque was dedicated in June 1994, for the 75th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, a landmark in Canadian history.

Civil Service Honour Roll - Archives of Manitoba

On 29 September 1943, in a ceremony held at the Legislative Buildling, Lieutenant-Governor Roland McWilliams lifted a Union Jack to unveil a framed honour roll listing the names of 393 members of the provincial civil service who had volunteered for service in the Second World War. Manitoba Premier Stuart Garson and Deputy Minister of Health and Public Welfare Frederick Jackson took part in the ceremony with the latter reading the names of the six volunteers who had died in service to that date. By the end of the war, the honour roll would identify a total of ten civil service members who had given their lives. It is not known when the honour roll was removed from the Legislative Building. It is currently located at the Archives of Manitoba. [5]

Name

Service

Rank

Birth Date

Death Date

James Ewart Blackford

Winnipeg Grenadiers, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps

Lieutenant

18 April 1905

1 September 1944

John Samuel Cram
[Morden]

Royal Canadian Air Force

Pilot Officer

8 September 1916

7 September 1943

Cecil Charles David Hinks

Royal Canadian Air Force

Warrant Officer Class II

16 January 1915

29 July 1942

James Balfour Jamieson

Royal Winnipeg Rifles

Warrant Officer Class I

22 October 1904

19 January 1943

Walter Bruce Kaiser

Royal Canadian Air Force

Flight Sergeant

18 October 1917

25 July 1943

Gerald Henry McMurray

Royal Canadian Air Force

Sergeant

11 November 1906

25 October 1941

Robert Walter Neill

21 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force

Flying Officer

15 May 1912

6 November 1942

Lawrence Herbert Peterson

33 (RAF) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force

Flying Officer

6 October 1921

30 October 1942

John Louis Robert Sutcliffe

Winnipeg Grenadiers, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps

Lieutenant Colonel

29 August 1898

6 April 1942

Edward J. Taylor

?

?

?

?

See also:

Carrying the Torch: Optimistic Themes in the Classical Vocabulary of the Manitoba Legislative Building by Gavin Wiens
Manitoba History, Number 64, Fall 2010

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Commemorative Plaques of the Manitoba Legislature

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Government House (10 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg)

Memorable Manitobans: Legislative Assemblies of Manitoba

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Provincially Designated Historic Sites

Sources:

1. “The first shipment of grain from Manitoba,” Manitoba Free Press, 23 October 1876, page 3.

2. “Ceremony at unveiling of monolith recalls pioneer days in west,” Manitoba Free Press, 16 June 1932, page 1.

3. Personal communication from Jeannie Larcombe.

4. “7 feared dead in swamp crash,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 1952, page 1. We thank Norman R. Gould for identifying the maker of the Berens River plaque.

5. “Civil Service Honor Roll To Be Unveiled,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 September 1943, page 8. “Honor Roll Unveiled,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 September 1943, page 7.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Darryl Toews.

Page revised: 3 August 2016

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