June 17, 2019

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History buff: Home of downtown strip club up for heritage designation vote

The site of one of Winnipeg’s longstanding strip clubs may soon become a recommended addition to the local list of protected historical resources.

The Oxford Hotel, which stands at 216 Notre Dame Ave., has long been home to Solid Gold, one of the city's better-known “exotic dance” clubs. The building (along with two others) is up for consideration as a protected historical resource at the May 15 meeting of the City of Winnipeg’s historical buildings and resources committee.

A number of exterior character-defining elements have been identified that could be designated for protection.

However, a report filed to the city’s website notes committee volunteers have been unable to gain access to the inside of the building to see if there are character-defining elements in the interior also worthy of protection.

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The site of one of Winnipeg’s longstanding strip clubs may soon become a recommended addition to the local list of protected historical resources.

The Oxford Hotel, which stands at 216 Notre Dame Ave., has long been home to Solid Gold, one of the city's better-known "exotic dance" clubs. The building (along with two others) is up for consideration as a protected historical resource at the May 15 meeting of the City of Winnipeg’s historical buildings and resources committee.

Looking west on Notre Dame Avenue in 1927 with the Oxford Hotel on the left.

Looking west on Notre Dame Avenue in 1927 with the Oxford Hotel on the left.

A number of exterior character-defining elements have been identified that could be designated for protection.

However, a report filed to the city’s website notes committee volunteers have been unable to gain access to the inside of the building to see if there are character-defining elements in the interior also worthy of protection.

"The historical buildings and resources committee could not gain access to the interior to evaluate its present condition," the report reads.

It remains unclear if the owner of Solid Gold is also the owner of the building. In an unusual move, the owner of the property has not filed paperwork to the city committee either supporting or opposing the proposed designation.

Built in 1905 at the cost of $35,000, the multi-storey structure features red brick and stone, and is built in a similar style to many downtown hotels and large buildings that were constructed at the turn of the 19th century.

The building was designed by well-known local architect Henry Sandham Griffith, who was involved in the construction of many notable Manitoba properties, and was built by Winnipeg-based contractor Aaron Grey.

In a city report, it’s noted the building’s "exterior has suffered little alteration" over the years.

1905 advertisment for the Oxford Hotel in the Manitoba Free Press.

1905 advertisment for the Oxford Hotel in the Manitoba Free Press.

In addition to being home to the strip club, the building remains an in-use hotel — making it one of the oldest continuous-use hotels in Winnipeg’s downtown, according to the city report.

If the committee votes to add it to the protected resources list, the matter will then move onto the standing policy committee on property and development for another vote.

"If the (standing policy committee), the owner, and the (historical buildings and resources committee) all agree on the appropriate status of the building, the decision is final. If there is disagreement at this stage, a final decision will come from city council," reads a city report.

The Free Press was unable to contact the building’s owner for comment by deadline Wednesday.

At the May 15 meeting, the committee will also make recommendations on the Rossmore Apartments (80 Roslyn Rd.) and the River-Osborne building (100 Osborne St.)

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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