Monday, 30 June 2008

Winnipeg Urban Renewal Mega-projects: The Manitoba Centennial Centre

Winnipeg has a history of had a number of mega-project redevelopment ideas that started with lofty goals and many tens of millions of dollars later the results are mixed. Note that these are not pokes at the buildings and institutions themselves but just a look-see at what has happened in the past.

Number 2: The Manitoba Centennial Centre (1966 – 1970)

History: Initial plans for the Centennial Centre were being drawn up as early as 1960 by the Province of Manitoba to go hand in hand with the Civic Centre Complex across the street. This project would group a Museum, Planetarium and Manitoba Theatre Centre together. The Museum, Planetarium and Concert Hall all officially opened in 1968, The MTC in 1970 .

City Hall Overview (Edited)
Panorama from 1950s showing location of Civic Centre and Centennial Centre Buildings.
U of M Archives, Winnipeg Tribune Collection, Number PC 18-7243-18-6475-65

Renewal Goals: The Manitoba Centennial Centre was built to “commemorate Canada’s centenary and initiate a broad scheme of urban renewal in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas Area” (Centennial Centre homepage).

Manitoba Museum
Manitoba Museum

Area torn down: The Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation Act includes “the area bounded on the west by Main Street, on the south by the lane south of Market Avenue, on the east by the Red River, and on the north by Pacific Avenue”.

Area slated for demolition for Concert Hall Feb 1964
U of M Archives, Tribune Collection, Number PC 18/1486/18-1486-002

Influence as an urban renewal tool to the surrounding area: Nil. The area behind the Concert Hall etc. did not rejuvenate. Businesses that continued there were already in existence or of an industrial nature that would have been there if the complex had been built or not.

Museum and Planetarium Parking Lot
Planetarium / Museum Parking

Price tag: $8 million (Concert Hall) others unknown (I'm still looking !)

Christmas Lights
Courtyard Between Concert Hall and Planetarium

Part 1: Civic Centre
Part 2: Manitoba Centennial Centre
Part 3: Portage Place
Part 4: The MTS Centre
Part 5: Conclusion

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