Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/9/2014 (1026 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
History will come alive on Sunday, Sept. 7 when Armstrong's Point hosts its Heritage House and Garden Tour between from 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
What began in 1881 as a subdivision for Winnipeg’s elite settlers remains a tranquil jewel, hidden just 2 km from city centre.
Visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time when the residents of this picturesque enclave open their doors, gardens and streets to the public.
The Hudson’s Bay Company initially deeded the land to Joseph Hill who arrived at Red River of the North in 1849 with a Pensioner Regiment. The area was originally called Point-a-Peltier. In 1854, Hill returned to England and put James Armstrong in charge of the property.
Francis Evans Cornish, Winnipeg’s first mayor, bought the land for $1,000 after Armstrong’s death. Hill returned to Winnipeg in 1880 and re-established his claim to the land in court before selling it to a speculators' syndicate in April, 1881 for $28,000.
The little bend in the Assiniboine River was subdivided into what now are 125 homes. The gates along Cornish Avenue which demarcate the streets West Gate, Middle Gate and East Gate (and which give the area its nickname) were erected in 1911.
Ambience aside, Armstrong’s Point is home to one of the few remaining parcels of remnant boreal forest within Winnipeg city limits.
The Heritage House and Garden Tour will include "the house that books built", Ralph Connor House, the former home of Manitoba’s most famous author of the 1800s, along with six other area homes. Nine Armstrong’s Point gardens can also be toured on the day (four of them as part of the House tour).
The day will feature a variety of opportunities to celebrate culture and history with displays such as that of Winnipeg Antique Car Club and its members’ beautifully restored cars.
For a true flavour of life in the day there will be croquet game demonstrations at one of the homes and at 2:30 p.m. the Tweeders Riders Club, all in period costumes, will participate in a street conversation.
The Gates will also be alive with the sound of music thanks to the Harlequin Barber Shop Quartet, who will serenade visitors at the house tours.
Along with street musician Marty Green playing the accordion, a quintessential outdoor music experience will be provided by Gerrit Jan De Orgelman and his De Bommstam Street Organ. Built in 1911 and one of only six in Canada, the organ works by air pressure generated by a set of bellows. As De Orgelman turns the handle, it moves a cardboard book through a set of teeth, much like a player piano. The result is an amazing sound.
Tea, cotton candy and local will be available on East Gate, Middle Gate and West Gate for those who work up an appetite -- a feast for the eyes will be the art show at 6 East Gate, showcasing local artists.
Armstrong’s Point was recently used as a case study to help develop a model and process to be used for neighbourhoods wishing to become officially designated "heritage."
Tickets for this unique cultural experience are $25 and available in advance from McNally Robinson Booksellers, at 5 East Gate. They can also be purchased on Sept. 7 at the information tent at 9 Middle Gate on Sept. 7.
For more information, visit www.armstrongspoint.org