July 18, 2019

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Strip club's owner opposes heritage protection by city

The building that houses Solid Gold on Notre Dame Avenue is a step closer to being getting heritage status. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

The building that houses Solid Gold on Notre Dame Avenue is a step closer to being getting heritage status. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

THE Oxford Hotel, home to one of Winnipeg’s longest-running strip clubs, has passed the first hurdle on the path to becoming a designated heritage building, despite the owner’s objections.

The city’s historical buildings and resources committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend adding the hotel — the site of the exotic dance club Solid Gold — to the city’s list of protected resources.

The hotel, which remains in use, is at 216 Notre Dame Ave. and was built in 1905 for $35,000. It played an important role in the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

The committee’s decision is contrary to the wishes of the owner, who filed last-minute paperwork with the city — which was been publicly released — opposing the motion.

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THE Oxford Hotel, home to one of Winnipeg’s longest-running strip clubs, has passed the first hurdle on the path to becoming a designated heritage building, despite the owner’s objections.

The city’s historical buildings and resources committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend adding the hotel — the site of the exotic dance club Solid Gold — to the city’s list of protected resources.

The hotel, which remains in use, is at 216 Notre Dame Ave. and was built in 1905 for $35,000. It played an important role in the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

The committee’s decision is contrary to the wishes of the owner, who filed last-minute paperwork with the city — which was been publicly released — opposing the motion.

In their written submission to the committee, the owner, whom the Free Press has not identified, said they did not believe the property was "architecturally and historically significant enough" to warrant protection.

The committee also voted to recommend adding the Rossmore Apartments at 80 Roslyn Rd. and the River-Osborne Building at 100 Osborne St. to the protected-resources list.

The owners of the Oxford Hotel and the Rossmore Apartments both opposed the motions, while the owner of the River-Osborne Building submitted no paperwork to the city.

The property and development will consider the designation issue next.

"If the (property and development 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," a city report reads.

After the initial walkout during the Winnipeg General Strike, when thousands of workers hit the city’s streets, strike leader Helen Armstrong organized a food kitchen at the Strathcona Hotel.

However, the Citizens’ Committee of One Thousand petitioned the hotel’s owner to shut Armstrong’s kitchen, forcing her to move the operation to the Oxford Hotel.

The multi-storey hotel, which features red brick and stone, was built in a similar style to many downtown hotels and large buildings constructed at the turn of the 20th century.

The building was designed by well-known local architect Henry Sandham Griffith and built by Winnipeg contractor Aaron Grey.

It remains one of the oldest continuous-use hotels downtown.

A number of exterior character-defining elements have been identified by the committee as being worth protecting.

However, the committee has been unable to gain access to the interior of the building to see if there are additional character-defining elements worthy of protection.

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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History

Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 9:12 AM CDT: Final

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