Sunday, 30 May 2010

Winnipeg's Urban Past

I had just a half day this weekend to pack in all of my Doors Open fun ! I decided to hit a couple of museums that I have seen on-line but never actually been to.

Winnipeg Police Museum
First was the Winnipeg Police Museum at 130 Allard Avenue in St. James.

Winnipeg Police Museum

Winnipeg Police Museum

Winnipeg Police Museum

It's a great collection ranging from a 1925 REO Speedwagon to vintage police weapons and technology. You can also read more about local officers who died in the line of duty. If you prefer the criminal element, they have that too. Newspaper articles, mugshots and other memorabilia relating to some of the city's most notorious criminals.

The museum, located in the Winnipeg Police Training Academy, is normally open weekdays only so this is a great chance to catch it !

Fire Fighters Museum  of  Winnipeg
I also finally visited the Fire Fighters Museum of Winnipeg at 56 Maple Street, across from the old CPR Station on Higgins. Housed in the ca.1906 former Fire Hall No. 3, it is one of Canada's largest fire fighting museums with two floors of Winnipeg's past.

Fire Fighters Museum  of Winnipeg

The first floor garage section has a number of Winnipeg fire trucks dating back to 1882 ! At the rear, the former stables, is where smaller apparatus is displayed.

Fire Fighters Museum  of Winnipeg

Upstairs, a number of the old bunk rooms from when firefighters lived at the station 24-7 have been restored. There is also a central hall commemorating the men who served in the department's early days.

Fire Fighters Museum  of Winnipeg

Fire Fighters Museum  of Winnipeg

Throughout the building there are interesting artifacts and hundreds of pictures of past fires.

Even if you just love old buildings, this is worth a visit. For a utilitarian building that served until about 1990 it has seen very little renovation over the years. Tin ceilings, great windows and beautiful wood detail can be found throughout.

If you can't make it during Doors Open the museum is usually open Sundays hosted by a gentleman who worked for nearly a decade at old Fire Hall No. 3.

Winnipeg Archives
It was a great look back at Winnipeg's past but also made me a little sad.

Both museums said that what they had on display was just a fraction of the artifacts they had in storage. I blogged after my trip to
London's Transport Museum about the piss-poor job we do of maintaining or showing our urban history. Whether it be transportation, fire, police, or the city's main archives, most of it will forever remain in boxes stored in substandard buildings that are just a discarded cigarette or water main break away from being destroyed.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.