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Friday, 24 April 2009

I Love Manitoba (11) - Old Buildings

Wow, only 11. I gotta get back on track here !

'Peg Tweeters - consider this my extended tweet for the evening - you can read it sentence at a time and keep coming back if you prefer ;-)

You probably know that I have a
thing for old buildings ! Today, I ended up spending the day with them without even planning to.

A couple of friends from rural Manitoba are fixing up an old house they recently bought. After some demo and investigation they found that it was a T. Eaton Co. house ! Not one of the 40 or so plans offered in the catalogue, but one of a custom order of less than 80 for The Bank of Commerce for use as banking halls for the small towns popping up on along the CPR line in Western Canada. From Eaton's you could also order schoolhouses, churches and barns. Everything needed to build a new town from scratch, delivered right to your door ! (For more on Eaton's catalogue homes check out).

So, armed with a shopping list, my friends came to Winnipeg looking for stuff for the reno and we ended up having a nice little tour of Winnipeg's built history.

The first place we stopped was Brown and Rutherford to purchase and 18 foot long Douglas Fir beam. The lumber and saw mill company started life in 1872, older than the city itself. If you see a building with wood beams or a wooden bridge in the rural West, there's a chance that B&R had something to do with it.

I was lucky enough to stick my head, (with camera attached !), upstairs for a bit. There's not a lot to the upper floors. Large, open spaces with the odd industrial saw and fans to dry the finished products. This location dates back to 1911 so I looked around wondering what buildings and landmarks were crafted in this place by workmen long since passed.

From there it was over the Louise Bridge to get to the Habitat Re-store for a few behind the scenes odds and ends. Nice being a passenger for a change. I was able to snap a couple of pictures without the worry of crashing the car !

Next up was 289 King Street, not sure what the building is called. It's just your average Chinatown / Exchange warehouse building c 1904 (with numerous expansions over the years). It's now a clearance centre for windows, doors, cabinets and the like.

Similar to B&R, it's a basic, open building on the upper floors with some neat industrial touches that I love to wander around and look at. ("Oh, not looking at the windows, thanks. That's a great cast iron banister on the emergency stairs, though - mind if I take a picture ?").

The place has great views, too. I see it's for sale. Some kick-ass condos could be done !

As we were in Chinatown a late-lunch at Shanghai was in order. If you have ever been to Shanghai, even if it was 30 years ago, don't worry - you'll still find your way around ! The place is like a time capsule. I also had the best dumpling soup there ! Nummy !

So, that was my day off ! Shopping and eating in century old buildings while helping on a project to revive a century old building ! A great day was had !

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