Richardson Building fire leaves WSO box office phones silent

CBC, UMFM back on the air


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The days-long shutdown of the Richardson Building due to a fire knocking out its electrical system is a sad song for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/07/2022 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The days-long shutdown of the Richardson Building due to a fire knocking out its electrical system is a sad song for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

The WSO administrative office is located in the downtown building at 1 Lombard Pl. It’s also where phone calls to the box office go to — and those phones aren’t ringing.

When Sunday night’s fire in the concourse below the building damaged the structure’s electrical system, it also knocked out phones, WSO spokeswoman Claudia Garcia de la Huerta said.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES The property managers of the Richardson Building (right) hope to have all power restored by Friday at noon.

“If you call the box office, you’ll just get a busy signal. It has been a hit financially,” she said Thursday.

“It’s certainly a challenge not having phone service right now. People are in the midst of renewing their subscriptions… but it has been surmountable. We know that everything is being done in order to get things up and running as soon as possible.”

The pause has also put a crimp in not just advance sales for the symphony’s performance with the Crash Test Dummies on Sept. 23 and 24, but ticket sales of other organizations, Garcia de la Huerta said.

“We also sell all the Concert Hall concerts.”

While the phone lines are down, people can still buy tickets at or they can email the box office at or book a phone call with the box office.

The building’s property managers have told the WSO they hope to have the electrical system back in service by Friday at noon, she said. If so, the WSO will have people manning the box office phones Saturday.

CBC spokeswoman Gemma Peralta said the network’s local FM signal, 89.3, was back on the air Wednesday, after being silent since Monday morning.

The University of Manitoba’s student FM radio station also returned to the airwaves Wednesday. The transmitter tower for both stations is on the roof of the building.

“It was somewhat surprising, but I’m not complaining,” UMFM station manager Jared McKetiak said, noting it had been told earlier by the property manager the signal was going to be out until Friday at noon.

A spokesman for the Richardson Building’s property manager said they have nothing further to add since Tuesday’s statement: the main electrical systems were damaged, they are working to restore the system and are in communication with tenants.

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Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.


Updated on Thursday, July 21, 2022 5:10 PM CDT: Adds ticket buying options.

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