Historic Sites of Manitoba: Shriners’ Hospital for Crippled Children / Rehabilitation Centre for Children (611-633 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg)
In March 1947, tenders were issued for construction of a hospital in Winnipeg to be focused on the treatment of handicapped children, part of a network of 16 similar hospitals across the United States. It replaced a similar facility in the Children’s Hospital that had been established in 1925. Funded by the local Khartum Shriners along with their counterparts in Regina and Calgary, and designed by Winnipeg architect George G. Teeter, construction of the hospital commenced at a site on Wellington Crescent in August 1947 with the laying of its cornerstone by prominent Shriner Arthur W. Chapman.
The hospital opened in mid-June 1949. On the main floor was a reception hall, wards for housing up to 40 children (twice as many as could be accommodated in the former facility), hydrotherapy bath for polio victims, kitchen, and classroom to enable the children under care to attend school. On the second floor were two operating rooms, rooms for physicians, interns, and nurses, and a boardroom. In the basement was a receiving room, examination room, dressing rooms, X-ray room, playroom, and physiotherapy room, as well as food storage and dishwashing areas, and an underground tunnel leading to a two-storey brick building to the east, at 611 Wellington. That building, designed by J. N. Semmens and built in 1911 by Davidson Brothers for lawyer Edmund L. Taylor, was later occupied by businessman Elmer E. Hall and his family then, during the Second World War, by the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (Wrens). Renovated during construction of the hospital, it was used as a nurses’ residence.
The facility operated until 1977 when it was turned over to the provincial government and renamed the Rehabilitation Centre for Children. It closed in May 2016 and the buildings stand vacant.
“Tenders: Shriners’ Hospital for Crippled Children,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 March 1947, page 18.
“The latest addition,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 August 1947, page 25.
“Shriners lay stone for children’s hospital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 August 1947, page 2.
“Shriners Hospital tour attracts crowd of 2,000,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 May 1949, page 3.
We thank George Penner and Ed Labossiere for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 December 2019