June 4, 2020

11° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us

Heritage community seeks to save Dalnavert

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/11/2013 (2403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dalnavert's friends are willing to help keep the national historic site open as a portal into the past.

A story in the Free Press reporting Dalnavert Museum, one of Winnipeg's finest examples of Queen Anne Revival architecture, was quietly closed two months ago ran through the city's heritage community like a dose of old-fashioned salts.

Dalnavert Museum quietly closed over the Labour Day weekend.


Dalnavert Museum quietly closed over the Labour Day weekend.

Heritage Winnipeg's executive director, Cindy Tugwell, said it wasn't known the Manitoba Historical Society was grappling with the potential closure of its crown jewel.

"We'd understand, the heritage community at large, if they'd come to us and say we have an issue... There are always solutions to a problem ... and if (it turns out) there aren't, at least we'd know we tried," Tugwell said. "We'd welcome the chance to help if we're asked."

Dalnavert is the restored 1895 home of Hugh John Macdonald, son of Canada's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald. During his career, the younger Macdonald was premier of Manitoba and later police magistrate for Winnipeg.

Heritage Winnipeg works with the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba and the Heritage Canada Foundation to promote a heritage conservation area in Winnipeg. Dalnavert's owners are supposed to sit on the Heritage Winnipeg board but withdrew a couple of years ago, which complicates communications with them.

"I'd like Winnipeggers to think this is not a fait accompli," Tugwell said.

The historical society, which owns the property, closed the doors to the public after Labour Day, timed with the end of the tourist season and the start of the curator's maternity leave.

Late last week, volunteers stepped forward with concerns about the future of the heritage property and said they didn't expect to see it open again.

City Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, whose ward (Fort Rouge East Fort Garry) includes the property, said she was "quite shocked" and expressed concern the decision was made without public notice.

The city contributes an annual grant of about $20,000 to the Manitoba Historical Society.

"I see it as something for all Winnipeggers and visitors. I would hope something could be done to keep it; it's an irreplaceable asset in our city," Gerbasi said.

"The whole thing is unfortunate. It's a private property and this group... can do what they wish. I just hope there's some way to have a happier outcome."

Later this week, several past presidents of the society are expected to meet in an emergency session over Dalnavert's future, the Free Press has learned.

But whether that meeting was called by the society is an open question.

Society president James Kostuchuk said the only meeting he's aware of is later this month, of the society's board.

Kostuchuk said the society didn't reach out to groups such as Heritage Winnipeg because they want a permanent solution without scrambling for money every year, against a backdrop of falling attendance and spiralling upkeep. Attendance dropped by half in a single decade, he said.



Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.


Updated on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 7:01 AM CST: Fixes typo.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

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

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

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

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us