Historic Sites of Manitoba: Louise Square / Midwinter Square / Midwinter Park (Stadacona Street, Winnipeg)
This pie-shaped Elmwood property was previously owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, on which was located the northern approach to the Louise Bridge. When the present 1909-1911 bridge was constructed, the remaining railway lines were removed and this property was acquired by the city and allotted to the Winnipeg Parks Board (WPB). Work began on 11 November 1909 to clean up the land and beautify it as a park to be known as Louise Square. The site was twice renamed by the WPB in honour of early resident Charles Midwinter; first on 20 December 1911 to Midwinter Square, then to Midwinter Park on 20 November 1912.
In May 1913, the WPB accepted a $600 bid by the Manitoba Anchor Wire Fence Company to encircle the park with three-foot-high decorative iron fencing. The following year, a bison statue was purchased by Midwinter and donated to the city for placement in his namesake park. The statue and its base were chiseled from limestone quarried at Garson and designed by stonemason Arthur Cox (1875-?). The pedestal was subsequently inscribed with the park name and the original year of renaming, after which it was erected in the park.
Through the decades that followed, the statue has suffered gradual decay and erosion from salt exposure on account of the site (along with the nearby Swift Canadian Park) being used as a snow dump. By the late 1950s, the fencing had become dilapidated and was removed. The bison statue was dismounted in late 1991, by which time all four legs, horns, and tail were missing. The remaining rock crumbled while en route to the local Parks Branch office, rending impossible any repair or restoration. After a period of public consultation, a new bison was commissioned. This one was made by German stonemason and sculptor Alfred Widmer at a cost of $12,580. It was mounted atop the original base in mid-June 1995 at a ceremony attended by Councillor Lillian Thomas along with two granddaughters of Charles Midwinter.
Photos & Maps
1911 Canada census [Arthur Cox], Automated Genealogy.
“Fixing new park,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 November 1909, page 1.
“Parks Board meeting,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 May 1910, page 4.
“Suburban - Elmwood [The Elmwood people ...],” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 May 1910, page 4.
“Ask bigger grant for Parks Board,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 January 1911, page 7.
“Around the city hall,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 June 1912, page 13.
“Tenders for iron fencing,” Manitoba Free Press, 17 May 1913, page 2.
“Music to charm hearts of citizens,” Manitoba Free Press, 22 May 1913, page 2.
“Carved in Tyndall stone,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 May 1914, Literary Section page 3.
“Fence is gone, but buffalo won’t run,” Winnipeg Tribune, 31 March 1958, page 17.
“Action line,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 October 1966, page 36.
“German artisan saves city treasurers,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 May 1995, page 4.
“New statue sought,” Winnipeg Free Press Weekly Northeast Edition, 3 March 1992, page 3.
“Committee debates replacing park’s worn-out buffalo statue,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 September 1992, page B3.
“New buffalo statue back in its rightful place,” by Wanda McConnell, The Herald, 27 June 1995, page 8.
Winnipeg Parks Board, Minute Books, City of Winnipeg Archives.
Page revised: 15 October 2017