Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Warehouse district at risk?

Heritage group puts region on endangered list

  • Print

The paradise of the city's warehouse district -- including the Exchange District National Historic Site -- is in danger of being paved into parkades and overtaken by new buildings.

That's the warning from the national non-profit organization Heritage Canada Foundation, which placed the warehouse district in its sixth annual Top Ten Endangered Places list on Wednesday.

Carolyn Quinn, a foundation spokeswoman, said the list is designed to draw attention to areas under threat across the nation.

"Sometimes when you live amongst them, you don't always notice what's notable about them," she said.

"Winnipeg is lucky -- or burdened -- depending on your point of view, with the responsibility of having that district.

"But it's like a person once told me: You can have a beautiful smile, but if you start taking out teeth, you diminish the smile. It is disconcerting when a decision is made to delist a building when a previous council has listed it as heritage."

Other endangered sites include Kitsilano Senior Secondary School in Vancouver, Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, and the Porter/McKinley block -- home to one of the last remaining intact opera houses in Ontario -- in Ridgetown.

"It's upsetting," Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, chairwoman of the city's historical buildings committee, said when she learned the warehouse area was on the endangered list. "I am very concerned about this... . We have a heritage asset here -- it's a national historic site -- and we have the responsibility to be stewards of it."

Gerbasi said the most grievous loss in the area was the Grain Exchange Annex, built in 1920, because it was in the heart of the national historic site.

"I don't know how we could have done that," she said. "When you lose a heritage asset, it is gone -- you can't bring it back."

Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg, said she wants to see more input from the public before city councillors vote to list or delist heritage buildings.

"The Exchange District is important for its economic impact," Tugwell said. "As you erode the Exchange, you'll lose tourism dollars and film-industry dollars. It's one of the most important areas in Canada.

"The public doesn't have a say," Tugwell said, pointing to the new Cube stage in Old Market Square as an example of something that shouldn't have been built there. "This is a park in a historic area," she said. "It's the heartbeat."

But Ross McGowan, executive director of CentreVenture, the city's property development agency, calls the foundation's list "irresponsible and inaccurate."

The Main Street buildings demolished for construction of a new Winnipeg Regional Health Authority clinic and offices were vacant for 20 years, he said. "Anyone, including Heritage Canada Foundation, could have purchased them for $1 and no one ever did."

McGowan said the list is too focused on the negatives and not enough on the positives, including the redevelopment of the Union Bank Tower for Red River College.

"CentreVenture is very supportive of heritage conservation," he said.

"(The foundation) should be lobbying for additional capital from the federal government to help save these buildings... . The Metropolitan Theatre is a national historic site, but it would cost a 30 per cent premium to do a proper restoration project on it -- that's a lot to ask a private developer."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 12, 2010 B1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

O'Shea says the team is going to stick to the plan after first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google