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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Boulevard, Winnipeg)

This four-storey building in Winnipeg was based on designs by local architect Gustava da Rosa, winner of a competition which saw over 475 entries from around North America. The Iceberg-style structure was built at a cost of about $4.5 million by the Bird Construction Company Limited between 1969 and 1971. Construction was funded, in part, through contributions from the federal government ($500,000), provincial government ($1.25 million), a citizens campaign ($1,076,000), and private donations ($854,000).

The Tyndall-stone building features a roof-level lounge and restaurant, 25,000 square foot main gallery, 300-seat auditorium, lecture and seminar rooms, gift shop, administration space, and storage facilities. To facilitate the handling and display of a vast works and exhibits, the building’s freight elevator measures 26 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 12 feet high. A private viewing was held on 24 September 1971 and the gallery was opened officially by Princess Margaret and her husband Lord Snowdon on 25 September during the royal couple’s visit. A crowd of some 3,000 people were on-hand for the opening. During her Royal visit in May 1974, she also unveiled a commemorative plaque was unveiled within the buildings foyer. The facility replaced the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s previous location in the Winnipeg Auditorium and its predecessor in the Industrial Bureau Exposition Building.

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Winnipeg Art Gallery (January 2015)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Winnipeg Art Gallery (April 2018)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Winnipeg Art Gallery (January 2018)
Source: George Penner

Princess Margaret unveiling the Winnipeg Art Gallery commemorative plaque

Princess Margaret unveiling the Winnipeg Art Gallery commemorative plaque (May 1974)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, CH 0276, Government Photographs, GR3552, 74-2840

Winnipeg Art Gallery commemorative plaque

Winnipeg Art Gallery commemorative plaque (April 2018)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88954, W97.15035
denoted by symbol on the map above


“Calling bids soon for new Art Gallery,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 June 1969, page 3.

“Art Gallery tenders called,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 September 1969, page 34.

[Photo caption], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 July 1970, page 20.

[Photo caption], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 August 1970, page 2.

“Princess Margaret here in Sept.” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 July 1971, page 18.

“Princess crosses picket line,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 September 1971, page 1.

“A new era for Manitobans begins ... September 25, 1971,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 September 1971, page 8.

“Today is day one,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 1971, page 10.

“Royal visit winds up quietly,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 September 1971, page 12.

“Quiet Royal arrival starts five-day visit to Manitoba,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 May 1974, page 4.

“Highlights from a busy Royal weekend,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 May 1974, page 30.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 November 2019

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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