Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Auditorium / Archives of Manitoba / Manitoba Legislative Library (200 Vaughan Street, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Provincial Librarians | Provincial Archivists | Photos & Coordinates | Sources

This building, designed by the architectural firms of Northwood and Chivers, Pratt and Ross, and John Nelson Semmens, was erected by the firm of Carter-Halls-Aldinger, assisted by excavation contractor James Murray Reid, in 1931-1932. It was completed during the depths of the Great Depression as a make-work project of the federal government, Province of Manitoba, and City of Winnipeg. Its cornerstone was laid on 18 August 1932 at a ceremony attended by the Governor-General of Canada. The building was officially opened on 15 October 1932 by Canadian Prime Minister R. B. Bennett and Minister of the Interior T. G. Murphy.

Its main auditorium seated 4,075 people while the concert hall seated 800. Some of the international stars who appeared here included Yehudi Menuhin, Sonny James, Margot Fonteyn, Paul Robeson, The Trapp Family Singers, Arthur Rubinstein, Glenn Gould, Petula Clark, Jussi Bjöerling, and Marion Anderson. Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker began his successful 1958 election campaign here. A few months later, the Canadian Labour Congress and Co-operative Commonwealth Federation met to lay plans for the creation of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

In 1970, the building was sold by the city to the Province of Manitoba for about a million dollars. After renovations, it became known as the Manitoba Archives Building, and was home to the Archives of Manitoba and the Legislative Library of Manitoba, opening in September 1975. Interior renovations included removal of cantilevered balconies from the main auditorium. The exhibition galleries, with their large, arched windows, became the Reading Rooms for the Archives and Library.

Provincial Librarians


Provincial Librarian


John Palmerston Robertson (1841-1919)


William James Healy (1867-1950)


John Leslie Johnston (1898-1955)


Marjorie Gertrude Morley (1910-1993)


Louise Clementine Combaz (1918-1992)


Susan Bishop


Tannis Gretzinger


Scott Goodine

Provincial Archivists


Provincial Archivist


James Arthur Shields Jackson (1918-1976)


Hartwell Walter Lewis Bowsfield (1922-2008)


John Alexander Bovey (1934-2005)


Peter Bower


William Gordon Dodds (1941-2010)




Scott Goodine

Photos & Coordinates

Winnipeg Auditorium

Winnipeg Auditorium (1930s) by J. Fred Spalding
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2014-0344

Winnipeg Auditorium

Winnipeg Auditorium (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2020-0059

Interior corridor in the Winnipeg Auditorium

Interior corridor in the Winnipeg Auditorium (1932)
Source: Winnipeg Tribune, 15 October 1932, page 10.

Interior auditorium in the Winnipeg Auditorium

Interior auditorium in the Winnipeg Auditorium (1932)
Source: Winnipeg Tribune, 15 October 1932, page 10.

Interior auditorium in the Winnipeg Auditorium

Interior auditorium in the Winnipeg Auditorium (1932)
Source: Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1932, page 22.

The former Winnipeg Auditorium

The former Winnipeg Auditorium (September 2017)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88870, W97.14834
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Northwood and Chivers / Northwood Chivers and Casey

Manitoba Business: Pratt and Ross

Manitoba Business: Dominion Bridge Company

Memorable Manitobans: John Nelson Semmens (1879-1960)

Memorable Manitobans: James Murray Reid (1882-1933)

Memorable Manitobans: Hubert A. Garnier (1903-1987)

Manitoba Organization: Manitoba Museum

Historic Sites of Manitoba: The Manitoba Museum (190 Rupert Avenue, Winnipeg)

An Interview with Manitoba’s New Provincial Archivist, Mr. Peter Bower by Sharon Babaian
Manitoba History, Number 4, 1982


“Auditorium practically all “Manitoba made”,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 October 1932, page 10.

“View of main auditorium from balcony,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1932, page 22.

“Winnipeg Auditorium Building: A Brief History,” unpublished fact sheet by Manitoba Legislative Library.

Obituary [W. Gordon Dodds], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 July 2010.

We thank Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and George Penner.

Page revised: 23 February 2024

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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