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Manitoba Historical Society Announces Top-10 Endangered Structures for 2022

The Manitoba Historical Society tracks historically-significant buildings around our province that deserve to be preserved and better known. For Canada Historic Places Days in July 2022, we announce our list of the ten most endangered buildings and other structures, in order from oldest to newest.


1870s on

Small cemeteries of southern Manitoba

Small cemeteries of southern Manitoba
Southern Manitoba

The practice of Mennonite settlers in southern Manitoba to bury their dead on the family farm means there are now many small, poorly delimited cemeteries on privately owned land. In the former Mennonite East Reserve, two-thirds of 116 cemeteries are at risk, and the same holds true for cemeteries in the Rural Municipalities of Rhineland and Stanley. Graves should be properly identified and the Cemeteries Act should be amended to afford protection and perpetual access.


1890

Manitoba Development Centre

Manitoba Development Centre
3rd Street NE, Portage la Prairie

Since 1890, this facility at Portage la Prairie has accommodated Manitobans with various medical challenges, including mental illness. From a height in the 1960s, its resident population has decreased and the centre will soon close. No plans have been announced for a new use for the many buildings on this extensive campus.


1901

Salvation Army Citadel

Salvation Army Citadel
221 Rupert Avenue, Winnipeg

Completed in 1901, this strikingly beautiful brick and stone building in downtown Winnipeg supported the charitable work of the “Sally Anne”. Vacated in 1986, numerous plans have been made for new uses. Much of its interior was destroyed by fire in 2010 and it is believed to be an empty shell. Several plans have bee made for its reuse but none have come to fruition.


1912

CPR North Transcona Grain Elevator

CPR North Transcona Grain Elevator
70 Roderick Street, RM of Springfield

This 1,000,000-bushel grain elevator on the edge of a massive railway yard in northeast Winnipeg was built in 1912. Within a year, grain inside the storage bins caused it to tilt about 30 degrees off vertical but engineers worked to put it upright. Leased by several grain companies through the years, it was bought in 1970 by Parrish & Heimbecker and operated as one of the first concrete “country elevators” in Manitoba. Closed in Fall 2021, this elevator – that was literally groundbreaking – now faces an uncertain future.


1918

Whetter Barn

Whetter Barn
Municipality of Grassland

This 4,300-square-foot barn was built in 1918 for farmer Clinton Whetter using fir timbers brought by rail from British Columbia. Unfortunately, Whetter only got to use his barn for two years before his early death at the age of 40. His son Jack took over the farm when he came of age, and the barn is now owned by the fourth generation of the Whetter family. It needs a new roof to keep out the elements and the building is no longer essential to modern farm operations. Like a lot of barns around Manitoba, its owners need some new use to justify repairs to keep it standing into the future.


1941

Valleyview Building

Valleyview Building
First Street, Brandon

Built between 1920 and 1924, this three-storey brick building on Brandon’s north hill enabled a new approach to the treatment of mental illness that embrace the goal of eventually discharging patients back into the community. Closed in 1992, the Valleyview has sat vacant ever since but is touted as the possible home for innovative new programming by the Assiniboine Community College.


1932

Transcona Winter Vault

Transcona Winter Vault
Dugald Road, RM of Springfield

This small brick building on the grounds of the Transcona Cemetery on Dugald Road in the RM of Springfield was built in 1932 using bricks salvaged from an abandoned church nearby. For decades, it was used as a chapel and winter storage when frozen ground prevented burials. Now empty and replaced by a new building, it is one of only five winter vaults known to exist in Manitoba.


1957

Winnipeg Fire Hall No. 9

Winnipeg Fire Hall No. 9
864 Marion Street, Winnipeg

Opened in mid-1957, this was the third fire hall used by the City of St. Boniface. Following amalgamation of fire departments in 1972, it was renumbered as a facility of the new City of Winnipeg. Although the facility remains in use, it is believed to be unsuitable for future firefighting and paramedic services so the City plans to close and demolish it.


1967

MS River Rouge

MS River Rouge
Selkirk Slough, Selkirk

Built in 1967 at Selkirk by the Purvis Boat Company, at a cost of $500,000, this 400-passenger ship provided three-hour cruises along the Red River. Beached in the Selkirk Slough in 2014, its paint is peeling and its hull is rusting. If it cannot be restored to service, it will likely suffer the same fate as other former cruise ships that were either destroyed by fire or dismantled.


1978

Swistun Buddas

Swistun Buddas
Municipality of Harrison Park

In the 1890s, when the first farmers arrived in the area south of Riding Mountain National Park, they lived in temporary shelters called buddas until they could build something more permanent. In 1978, two authentic buddas were reconstructed by carpenter and strongman Mike Swistun. Recently, one of the buddas was destroyed by an arson fire.


In Canada, there is no level of heritage designation that will legally protect a building from demolition. Municipalities are tasked with the difficult job of making decisions regarding the fate of these properties. For further information about the status of any structure on this list, please contact the pertinent municipality.

For further information on other historic sites around Manitoba, visit the Historic Sites of Manitoba page on the MHS website.

See also:

Manitoba Historical Society Announces Top-10 Endangered Structures for 2019

Manitoba Historical Society Announces Top-10 Endangered Structures for 2020

Manitoba Historical Society Announces Top-10 Endangered Structures for 2021

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba

Page revised: 12 July 2022

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