Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dalnavert to reopen as support centre

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The Manitoba Historical Society has agreed to transfer Dalnavert Museum to Candace House Inc., a non-profit support centre for the victims of crime.

James Kostuchuk, chairman of the society, said after many months of deliberation, it was decided a partnership with Candace House was the best chance to save the elaborate Victorian mansion.

"With a building like this, you have to be a bit creative," said Kostuchuk. "This is a very good model for other groups about new ways to save important heritage buildings."

The 119-year-old mansion -- former home of Hugh MacDonald, son of prime minister John A. MacDonald -- served as a museum for 40 years. It closed last fall after the historical society found it could no longer afford to operate and maintain it.

That's when the society was approached by Wilma Derksen, a noted victims' rights advocate, about repurposing the mansion as a support and education centre.

Derksen has been working diligently for the last several years to establish a legacy for her daughter, Candace, who was abducted and murdered in 1984.

Last year, she revealed a plan to establish Candace House on property near the downtown Law Courts buildings where victims of crime and their families could receive respite, support and education about the justice system.

Dalnavert Museum is a perfect fit for Candace House, both in terms of its location (on Carlton Street south of Broadway, just a few blocks from the Law Courts) and its warm, welcoming Victorian sensibilities.

"This is not a hostile takeover," Derksen said. "Our plan is to keep the museum's stories and history alive."

There is no firm timetable for the opening of Candace House, Derksen said.

Kostuchuk said although the property's title may ultimately transfer to Candace House, MHS will take possession of the property again if the victims' support facility cannot make a go of it.

And even after it has been repurposed, the society will continue to have a presence in the mansion and will retain ownership of all of the possessions in the home.

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2014 A3

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