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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Manitoba Lives Lived at 146 Maryland Street

Earlier this year, a friend bought the house at 146 Maryland Street and converted it into Level Hair and Spa. I wanted to take a look at the history of the house, which sent me on a historical chase back to the very beginnings of part of the West Broadway and Wolseley neighbourhoods.

This is one of a three part series:
Part 1: West Broadway's pre-history
Part 2 - A neighbourhood forms
Part 3 - Lives lived at 146 Maryland

The information below is from newspapers and the Henderson Directory so it is not complete. If you can add anything please let me know !

This new neighbourhood began filling up quickly. To get a sense of who lived there, this excerpt from a Manitoba Historical Society essay on the history of Wolseley describes the residents of nearby Purcell Avenue:

In 1910, the homes on this street were occupied mostly by white collar workers, including two buyers for Eaton’s, an Eaton’s clerk, a Bank of Montreal clerk, and a book keeper for Marshall Wells Company. Also there is a teacher, a carpenter and the Eaton’s stable manager. Only one proprietor of a business is listed.

Architecturally, it is a good example of streets in the area since it has seen only minor changes. The stability of the residents on the street is demonstrated in the small number of changes of owners in the early years. In 1929, over half of the houses were owned by the same families as in 1915.

Here are some past residents of 146 Maryland:

1907 - 1914 The Cosgraves.

James Martin Cosgrave was an accountant by trade. He came to Canada from Northern Ireland and worked for Merchants Bank then the auditing department of the City of Winnipeg before moving on to the Winnipeg General Hospital in 1901.

He began as clerk to the Board of Directors and in 1905 became the business manager, a position he retained through to 1914 when the family moved out of 146 Maryland.

Cosgrave went on to other executive positions within the hospital and eventually retired l to his Garfield Street home in 1933.

The Cosgraves had one child, Gerald, who became a professor at the University of Toronto. James and his wife were visiting him in 1939 when James died at the age of 78.

1921 - 1930 The Cameron Family.

John and Flora with, it appears, two children: John and a daughter for whom I could only find a married name of Mrs. O.M. Lancaster.

Cameron was the manager of The Metal Shingle and Siding Company located at Dublin and Notre Dame. The company lasted from 1919 – 1927 and specialized in prefab metal garages and work sheds.

Mrs. O.M. Lancaster, a newlywed back in 1925, was in Winnipeg visiting her parents in when she was struck by a car at the corner of Main and Inkster. It broke her leg in three places and gave her an ‘an injury to the head’. She did recover.

On August 18, 1930, Flora Cameron died in the home at the age of 67 and later that year John Cameron moved out. I can find no date for his death.

1932 – 1934 The Watson Family.

William Watson is a clerk at the Canadian Oil Company. Despite the Depression the Ontario-based producer of kerosene and gasoline was expanding into the Western Canadian market. White Rose gas stations was one of their brands (in the early 1960s Shell Canada bough out their assets).

Waton’s daughter Peggy was an accomplished pianist and soprano who played many local venues and music festivals. She sometimes advertized piano lessons from the home as seen in the
September 08, 1934 Winnipeg Free Press ad above.

The Watsons lived there until 1934.

1935 – 1940 The Keirs

In 1935 a retired farming couple from the Marquette area moved in. William and Robina Keir were the first owners listed as having a telephone at the residence. The couple had two daughters and a son but they would have been married off by this time.

In February 1939 Mr. Keir died at the home and the following year Mrs. Keir moved out.

1943 - 1954 The Mackie Family.

In 1943 The Mackies and daughter Mona moved in and they would spend the most time at 146 Maryland.

George Mackie was an employee at Canada Safeway. They lived there until 1954 with his wife and daughter Mona.

1955 The Duplex Years

As with many large downtown houses 146 Maryland often rented rooms.


Toward the end of the Cosgrave years single rooms for rent were on offer.


That tradition appears to have kept up for most of the life of the house, especially during stressful times in the housing market like the wars or Depression.


In 1955, however, the house faced the same fate as many of Winnipeg's older, inner city homes: the subdivision into multiple dwellings. In this case the front foyer and main staircase was enclosed to allow for a two level duplex.

1956 – 58 The Lavergnes.

The Lavergnes were both retired Eaton’s workers though Mrs. Lavergene opened a small flower shop called the Flower Nook on Kennedy Street.

James Lavergne died of a heart attack at Misericordia hospital on March 6, 1958. The following year Mrs. Lavergne moved out.

1960 – 71

Through the 1960s and 70s the house appears to have become more of a rental property than an owner-occupied house. The two units were home to a large number of tenants and owners, often times both suites were never listed as full at the same time.

2010 - Present

The owner of Level Hair and Spa purchased the building for conversion into, you guessed it, a hair salon and spa.

During previous renovations many architectural details of the interior of the home such as original doors, wood trim and stained glass window off the main hallway, remained intact.

Renovations to convert it back to a 'single building' uncovered more features such as the original flooring, pocket doors leading to what would have been the original dining room and a fire place.

Level Hair and Spa opened in early 2011.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you again for all of the hard work you put delving into the history of 146 Maryland. It means so much to us at Level Hair