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Historic Wellington Crescent mansion falls for new home

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Gilchrist House had stood tall on Wellington Crescent for 90 years but its Tudor-style brick frame is now on its way down.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/07/2022 (186 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Gilchrist House had stood tall on Wellington Crescent for 90 years but its Tudor-style brick frame is now on its way down.

The well-known mansion on one of Winnipeg’s most prominent streets is being demolished for a new home.

The residence built in 1932 has been on the City of Winnipeg’s commemorative list of historical resources since 2014, but didn’t have any protection from demolition.

ETHAN CAIRNS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Gilchrist House at 1015 Wellington Crescent in the progress of being demolished in Winnipeg.

“It’s pretty disappointing to see this demolition, but it’s no surprise because of the fact that we’ve known for years now that a lot of the beautiful mansions on Wellington Crescent are marketed as teardowns,” Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg, said Friday.

“If you tear it down and build something new, it will change the whole dynamic of the area. It will eventually just become newer homes down there, so the allure will still be the crescent itself, but it won’t be the grand homes at the turn of the century.”

Local architect Arthur Edward Cubbidge designed the home at 1015 Wellington Cres. for grain merchant James M. Gilchrist. Other occupants included T. Eaton & Co. director Gilbert and Marjorie Eaton, former fashion mogul Peter Nygard, and lawyer and businessman David Asper.

Tugwell said one of the reasons the house didn’t obtain protection from the city for its historical values is because it’s a private property.

Prior to being on the commemorative list, Tugwell said the house was on the city’s inventory list, which also wouldn’t have given the property protection, but at least would’ve provided the opportunity for a potential discussion.

Dlux Design & Co. is handling the interior design and said the new home, estimated to be completed in 2024, will be a positive addition to the neighbourhood.

“Over the past 18 months, our clients put an immense amount of resources toward rehabilitation. This included asbestos abatement, careful hand disassembly of the interior and multiple structural/engineering reviews,” a company spokesperson said.

ETHAN CAIRNS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The residence built in 1932 has been on the City of Winnipeg’s commemorative list of historical resources since 2014, but didn’t have any protection from demolition.

“Based on the feedback gathered, it was determined that a restoration and renovation would be too risky given the current condition of the home. The new home is designed to respect and pay homage to the existing architecture.”

Asper lived in the house for a decade and did a number of renovations to try and maintain its condition, but said its design made modernization difficult.

“There were some really thick stone walls and very old infrastructure. We knew that it was going to be a perpetual project to try and keep it updated. When we started looking at various things, you either couldn’t do them, or it was just so expensive that it was prohibitive,” he said Friday.

bryce.hunt@freepress.mb.ca

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