If you’ve ever passed by an old or interesting building and have wondered what it’s like on the inside, you may just get your chance.
Across Winnipeg doors to intriguing and historical landmarks will be swinging wide open once again to welcome visitors during this city’s ninth annual Doors Open event set for May 26 and 27.
This is no less true of West Kildonan which has many of its own unique treasures showcased in the free public event.
McBeth House, for one, built in 1912, is the historic legacy of early Selkirk settler Alexander McBeth and his family. Said to be one of the finest homes in Winnipeg in 1913, the house was built by his grandson Robert McBeth and, remarkably is still standing, not far from the river’s edge off Red River Boulevard in Rivergrove. Robert McBeth died in 1914 and scarcely had the time to enjoy the beautiful home he built.
Seven Oaks House Museum at 115 Rupertsland Blvd. is said to be one of the oldest surviving homes in Manitoba and gives visitors a glimpse of life as it was lived in the Red River Settlement of the 19th century.
Built by John Inkster, who arrived in the area in 1821 from the Orkney Islands, the house took its name from a nearby creek where seven large oak trees once stood. The trees are also said to have marked the site of the Battle of Seven Oaks fought in 1816.
Inkster married Mary Sinclair and built the home in 1853. With nine children in all, the Inkster family was active in many areas of public service and soon became leading figures in the community. The home was considered to be quite impressive during the time it was built.
Not far from the museum, the five towers of St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church rise above the surrounding landscape to welcome visitors to the shrine of the Blessed Bishop and Martyr Vasyl Velychkovsky. The shrine contains the holy relics of Velychkovsky who was beatified in 2001 and who was persecuted by the Soviet regime for remaining faithful to the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
The church itself is filled with beautiful Byzantine icons, mosaics and artwork and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
The Kildonan Presbyterian Church and Cemetery on John Black Avenue is another not to be missed stop for it is the oldest Presbyterian church in Western Canada. Completed in 1854, it played an important role in the history of Manitoba and the surrounding cemetery is filled with names of early Selkirk Settlers and other historic figures.
For more information on other featured buildings in the West Kildonan area and throughout Winnipeg, visit doorsopenwinnipeg.ca.
Cheryl Girard is a Riverbend-based writer who loves to write about all things Manitoban.
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