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Manitoba Historical Society Announces Top-10 Endangered Structures for 2020

The Manitoba Historical Society tracks historically-significant buildings around our province that deserve to be preserved and better known. For Canada Historic Places Day on Saturday, 4 July 2020, we announce our list of the ten most endangered buildings and other structures, in order from oldest to newest. We remain concerned about structures identified on our 2019 list.

In Canada, there is no level of heritage designation that will legally protect a building from demolition. Municipalities are tasked with the difficult job of making decisions regarding the fate of these properties. For further information about the status of any structure on this list, please contact the pertinent municipality.

For further information on other historic sites around Manitoba, visit the Historic Sites of Manitoba page on the MHS website.


1881

Fairbanks House

Fairbanks House
Emerson, Municipality of Emerson-Franklin

This two-storey brick residence is associated with its first occupant, William N. Fairbanks, one of Emerson’s founders. After sitting vacant for several years, the house was purchased with a goal of renovating it back to an occupied home. The unexpected passing of its owner has put those plans in jeopardy and the likelihood the house will be saved is now doubted by local heritage advocates.


1895

Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple
335 Donald Street, Winnipeg

Constructed for the Masonic fraternity in 1895, this three-storey brick building in the heart of Winnipeg was vacated in 1969. It was then occupied by a succession of restaurants, most notably “Mother Tucker’s Food Experience.” The last one closed in 2003. The exterior was sandblasted and repointed, and the interior was removed completely. An ambitious plan to develop the 16,000-square-foot interior for a restaurant, bar, professional offices, or retail space has not come to fruition so the building has sat empty for over a decade.


1902

Brookdale Flat Warehouse

Brookdale Flat Warehouse
Brookdale, Municipality of North Cypress-Langford

This metal-clad building, constructed in 1902, is believed to be the last remaining example in Manitoba of a “flat warehouse,” the method for grain storage that preceded standard-plan elevators. The interior was one large room with a south-facing door for unloading grain sacks from horse-drawn farm wagons and a north-facing door for loading them into boxcars sitting on the tracks beside the warehouse. Used through the 20th century to store farm supplies and hardware, the building is now unoccupied, open to the elements, and falling off its foundation.


1904

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church
1037 Lorne Avenue, Brandon

Designed in the Gothic Revival style by Brandon architect William A. Elliott, this grand church was constructed of stone and amber brick between 1903 and 1904. The last Baptist service was held in May 1992. The building has been vacant for many years although the attached hall has been used for a soccer school, gift shop, and most recently for non-denominational church services. In November 2012, the building received municipal heritage designation with exterior and interior features identified as character-defining elements.


1909

Gordon House

Gordon House
514 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg

This two-storey brick and stone house was designed by architect C. C. Chisholm and built in 1909 for cattle merchant James T. Gordon. Subsequent occupants included grain merchant William R. Bawlf, newspaper publisher Victor Sifton, and businessman and Senator Douglas D. Everett. Sold in 2016 to a land developer, who planned to replace the building with a multi-family structure, community opposition caused a moratorium to be placed on the project. Pending legal action, the fate of the house is unclear.


1911

International Harvester Building

International Harvester Building
1735 Pacific Avenue, Brandon

This five-storey brick building was built in late 1911 as the Western Canadian headquarters for the International Harvester Company of America, and was used as a warehouse and showroom for its line of agricultural equipment. The company remained at the site until at least 1959. The building was later used as a wholesale distribution warehouse, cold storage plant, goose- and duck-processing plant, and most recently as a furniture storage warehouse. Government plans to widen the 18th Street bridge that is immediately adjacent to the building put it at risk of demolition.


1920

Tree Planting Car

Tree Planting Car
RM of Reynolds

This 75-foot-long railway car travelled over 263,000 miles, and was visited by over 1.5 million people, in the course of its life cris-crossing the Canadian prairies as the Tree Planting Car. An initiative of the Canadian Forestry Association, supported by the two major railways, its purpose was to promote the planting of trees. Its final year of operation was 1973, after which it was donated to the Manitoba Forestry Association and moved to the now-closed Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre. Plans to relocate the historic car to another site are constrained by the high cost of moving it.


1932

Mallard Lodge

Mallard Lodge
RM of Portage la Prairie

This two-storey wooden hunting lodge on the shore of Lake Manitoba, beside the historic Delta Marsh, was constructed in 1932 by businessman and athlete Donald H. Bain. Purchased by the provincial government after Bain’s death, it was leased on a long-term basis to the University of Manitoba and used as the Delta Marsh Field Station, a centre for environmental research and education. Unmaintained since the facility closed in 2010, the lodge is believed by local heritage advocates to be deteriorating rapidly.


1941

St. Vladimir’s College

St. Vladimir’s College
Roblin, Municipality of Roblin

Established in 1941 as the Redemptorist Fathers College, this two-storey brick building was designed by priest-architect Philip Ruh. Expansion of the facility, the only Catholic high school for boys in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg, occurred in 1961, with a wing containing classrooms, laboratory, recreation room, and dormitory for over 100 boys, and between 1985 and 1986 with a gymnasium, stage-theatre, washrooms, and change rooms designed by architect Victor Deneka. Closed in 2002, the building has remained vacant despite plans for re-use as an English-language instruction facility. Local rumours hint at a new re-development plan.


1948

Manitoba Pool Grain Elevator

Manitoba Pool Grain Elevator
Tyndall, RM of Brokenhead

This 35,000-bushel wooden grain elevator was built around 1948 by the Lake of the Woods Milling Company. Sold to Ogilvie Four Mills in 1954, it was re-sold to Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1959 and expanded with an attached balloon annex. Closed in 1971, it was sold and used by a livestock feed business until around 2012. One of the last remaining elevators in eastern Manitoba, plans to move it to the nearby Brokenhead-Beausejour Pioneer Village Museum have stalled. Recent sale of the property puts the elevator at risk of demolition.


See also:

Manitoba Historical Society Announces Top-10 Endangered Structures for 2019

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba

Page revised: 8 July 2020

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