Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation / West Kildonan Substation (1812 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Photos & Coordinates | Sources

The Winnipeg Electric Railway Company (WERC) acquired this property in May 1904, then within the Rural Municipality of Kildonan, at a cost of around $10,000. Around 1907, the company commissioned a local substation to be built for its streetcar line between Winnipeg and Selkirk. Unlike the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company Middlechurch Substation and its sister-facility at Lockport, both of which had attached residential annexes, this smaller building did not. This two-storey brick structure was primarily a step-up station, equipped with only four transformers, each of which was capable of producing 300 kilowatts used to power the streetcars. It serviced both the WERC’s Selkirk line streetcars as well as those of the Winnipeg, Selkirk, & Lake Winnipeg Railway. Conversion of the line from steam to electric was completed on 20 May 1908.

Later within West Kildonan, operation of the West Kildonan Substation (as it became known) was taken over by the Manitoba Power Commission (now Manitoba Hydro). Of the original building, atleast the west and north exterior walls remain, though the rest has either been replaced or obscured behind a subsequent structural addition. The chain and wire perimeter fence was later replaced with a brick fence, plausibly as a anti-flooding measure following the 1950 Flood. By late 1999, the brick fence had fallen into a state of disrepair and was replaced. Rebuilt in-part featuring concrete slabs along the Main Street and Semple Avenue walls, the bare conrete wall drew complaints from the community, resulting Hydro commissioning local artist Jill Sellers in 2001 to paint murals over the concrete segments. The five panels, depicting Manitoba events spanning the late 1700s-1877, were dedicated in August 2002 and a commemorative plaque was affixed to the wall marking the event.

Photos & Coordinates

The former Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation

The former Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation (1930)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

Interior of the former Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation

Interior of the former Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation (1931)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

Brick fence construction at the West Kildonan Substation

Brick fence construction at the West Kildonan Substation (undated)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

Brick fence construction at the West Kildonan Substation, looking south along Main Street

Brick fence construction at the West Kildonan Substation, looking south along Main Street (undated)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

The remaining structure of the former Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation

The remaining structure of the former Winnipeg Electric Company Kildonan Substation (April 2020)
Source: Nathan Kramer

The West Kildonan Substation with commemorative plaque at wall corner

The West Kildonan Substation with commemorative plaque at wall corner (April 2020)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Site Location (lat/long): N49.93801, W97.11703
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Winnipeg Electric Railway Company / Winnipeg Electric Company

Sources:

“Transfer of Selkirk line,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 February 1906, page 1.

“to give the street railway perpetual franchises,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 March 1906, page 4.

“"Buys land in Kildonan,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 May 1906, page 1.

“Real estate is brisk [It is reported that Winnipeg Electric Railway Company ...],” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 May 1906, page 16.

“Kildonan,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 September 1906, page 17.

“History of Winnipeg’s Street Railway service,” Manitoba Free Press, 10 August 1907, pages 17 & 20.

“Selkirk line opening,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 April 1908, page 9.

“Selkirk line opening,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 April 1908, page 10.

“Electric cars to Selkirk,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 May 1908, page 1.

“Winnipeg to Selkirk,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 May 1908, page 1.

“Remarkable growth of a great Electric St. Ry. system,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 December 1908, page 20.

“Kildonan delegation,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 April 1909, page 2.

“Company satisfied,” Winnipeg Tribune, 25 June 1909, page 9.

“City wins point in legal fight,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 October 1909, page 9.

“Winnipeg Electric St. Railway - The interesting story of a great Western enterprise,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 December 1909, page 19.

“Better car service for Kildonan,” Manitoba Free Press, 3 June 1911, page 49.

“Winnipeg Electric Railway Enterprise,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 August 1911, page 13.

“Electric line to Lake Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 August 1912, page 22.

“Colourful glimpse into the past,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 August 2001, pages A1 & A2.

“[Photo caption] Artist Jill Sellers,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 August 2001, North Community Review page 1.

We thank Bruce Owen (Manitoba Hydro) for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 29 May 2022

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