Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Heritage Notes: Mostyn Place to disappear; Main St. leases renewed

A couple of heritage notes from this week at city hall.

On December 5, 2011, the Standing Policy Committee on Downtown Development, Heritage and Riverbank Management passed these items. They now go to EPC on Wednesday for approval.

Heritage Building Leases

Bank of Hamilton Building
The city has recommended entering into a new 25 year lease with the Hamilton Building at 395 Main. The deal is for 66,194 sq ft at a rate of $14.95 per. The city has leased the building since 1991.

Confederation Life Building
The other deal is for 69,343 sq. ft in the Confederation Life Building (one of my favourites) at 457 Main Street. The city has been leasing space there since 1998.

For details of the deals check out the EPC agenda

Farewell Mostyn Place

Granite Curling Club, Winnipeg
Another item that will come up at EPC is the renaming of Mostyn Place to Granite Place (or Granite Way) as requested by the ca 1913 Granite Curling Club. That facility is the only mailing address on the street. Council adopted new, easier renaming rules in late September.

As I did with
Repelje last year, I thought I would look back at Mostyn Place before it disappears from our maps !

May 27, 1903, Manitoba Free Press

Mostyn Place was created in 1903 when the Manitoba Mortgage and Investment Company subdivided that tract of land. There are three interrelated sources for the name.

The manager of the company was Mr. Lansing L. M. Lewis, the L. M. stood for Llewellyn Mostyn. Lewis' son was also named Llewellyn Mostyn Lewis and used Mostyn as his first name. The origin of the middle name likely goes back to their apparent Welsh background, (though they were second generation Canadians.) Mostyn is a port village in northern Wales.

October 22, 1882, Manitoba Free Press

Lansing Lewis, sometimes referred to as Captain Lewis, was a Montrealer involved in the insurance business. He came to Winnipeg and served as Aide-de-Camp for Lieutenant Governors Cauchon and Aikins. He was also involved in a number of business ventures, the main one being insurance firm Lewis and Kirby. He was also secretary of the Winnipeg Board of Trade for at least the year 1883.

December 12, 1888, Manitoba Free Press

Lewis was a late entrant to the 1889 city council race. He was approached about running in Ward One on November 26, 1888 and easily won a one year term on December 11th.

As a rookie councillor he had a lot of key responsibilities. For a time he was chair of the finance committee and when Mayor Thomas Ryan (the boot guy) was out of town on business, he often filled in as acting mayor. The Free Press commented that "Alderman Lewis fills the mayor's chair with dignity and ability" (Oct. 1, 1889). Lewis did not run for another term.

Montreal Gazette, March 23, 1927

In 1892 he wound up the firm Kirby and Lewis and returned to Montreal where he continued in business and his work in the church.

When he died in 1927 he took the unusual step of preparing a letter that was read out at his funeral. In it he thanked his friends and affirmed his deep faith in God. He concluded by saying:

"Life is a mystery- but as Dr. Drummond wrote. 'Don't worry about it, just play the game.' Good luck to you all and farewell.
- Lansing Lewis"


Andrew Cunningham said...

This shouldn't be allowed. I'm tired of alll these 'Ways' so hopefully it will just be Granite Place, at least. And what's the shame in just being a Street or Avenue? In Winnipeg, those are the traditional choices, along with Boulevard for a special street, Place for a short street and Crescent for a winding residential road. They should stick to those, and also ditch the first names as in Milt Stegall, etc.

mrchristian said...

I agree about Place. That's a dumb designation.

I don't like first names either.

It seems that nobody at city hall seems to really look / care about the histories of these things when applications are made, (last year's Repleje, then nobody knew what year the building at Logan and Arlington was built when the demo permit was debated, then nobody knew what a Mostyn was etc.)

Perhaps the thinking is that if you give it both names there's less chance that someone will come along 40 years from now saying 'what the hell is a Stegall?' and apply to change the name again and everyone shrugs in approval of he motion.

That would be embarrassing to do if the person was still alive or had family still in town or had donated the land for some good cause.

One Man Committee said...

On one level, I suppose that it's nice to see the City renewing its leases at the Confed. and Hamilton Buildings if for no other reason than having the City as a tenant will keep the lights on in both of them.

But on another level it is a little disappointing that after so much effort has been directed at downtown revitalization, Main Street north of Portage is still lined with civic offices and open-once-a-week bars and banquet halls. In some ways, Portage Avenue has followed suit given how it's now lined with provincial government offices and discount stores.

The fact that the grand old Hamilton Building is the place you call to get your kids into swimming lessons instead of being home to a corporate head (or even regional) office tells you just how far Winnipeg has to go.

One Man Committee said...

PS - When did we do away with streets, avenues and boulevards in this town? Why is almost everything now a "Way"?

Unknown said...

Based on the way we name streets one may conclude that William R. Clement is the most important person to this city's history (first name, middle initial and last name).

Anonymous said...

According to CBC news yesterday: City Hall approved the name change from Mostyn Way to Granite Way... But when city councillors investigated the history of the name Mostyn & why the street was called that, nobody in city council was able to come up with an answer. WTF!?! How come West End Dumpling blogger guy knows all the answers, but the people running our city haven't got a fuckin' clue!?! What a disorganized bunch of clowns.

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Anonymous said...

To say this story disappoints me is a minor understatement. Mostyn Lewis is my paternal grandfather who I knew very well as a boy and into my 20's intil he passed away. My father's, brother's and our boys all have Mostyn name, as do I. Lansing, my Great-grandfather, a notable early Manitoban, named the street after the town on Wales close to our ancestral home. Shame on your city council. Granite Way for curling rocks or the rocks in the heads of thpse who have no respect for their own history? Thanks for your blog post or the family, now mostly in Vancouver, wouldn't have known. But rest assured thete are several Lewis men still here in Vanada who proudly carry the Mostyn name.

Anonymous said...

Excuse my spelling, typing this on a phone.