For over 30 years, a house located on Kildonan Drive next to the Red River in East Kildonan has been home to Peggy Brooke and her husband Chris. It’s a home they share with their two beloved cats, Winnifred and Dorothy. The retired couple also has one daughter, Everly, who likewise lives in their cherished neighbourhood.
Unlike most buyers purchasing a new home, Brooke and her family had the rare opportunity to learn a lot about the origins of their new but historic place of residence. When buying it, over three decades ago, they were given an album in which pictures and stories about the original owner had been collected, offering them a step-by-step look at the building, and thereby the history of the house.
Peggy Brooke cites a Mr. Wilson as the home’s original builder, who began clearing the site and digging the foundation in 1932, aided by literal horse power.
"The stone foundation and fireplace were built with rocks from all over Canada and the front room is a log cabin," Brooke explained. "The family lived in the basement while Mr. Wilson took almost 20 years to complete the house. He worked as he had the money and (they were) mortgage-free. When the flood in 1950 came, the family finally moved upstairs.
"The original floor plan was a California bungalow into which he incorporated some of his Scottish heritage, with the talismans over the largest windows to ward off bad luck, and 10-foot-high ceilings and some Canadiana with the rocks and log cabin."
It was their admiration of the many unique historical details that first drew the Peggy and Chris, who were moving to Winnipeg from Montreal, to the notable house.
"The features we appreciated most were the architecture both inside and outside, the high ceilings, the log cabin and the windows. The character is what we appreciate about older homes," Peggy Brooke said.
"We felt the house was very unusual and unique and we liked that. The decor is mostly eclectic which reflects our love of all things unique."
Given the plethora of windows around the house, particularly on the upper level, she said, "I love a lot about my house but one of the big things is the fact that it is filled with natural light all day and my view is lovely."
The spacious, character-filled home has three bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms. The basement offers an entire additional level of living space. It is finished with cedar shiplap throughout the music room, a wet bar and home theatre. Flower beds surround the house on all sides, adding charm and beauty.
The distinctive home has not only sheltered Brooke and her family and provided them with years of great contentment, it has also afforded them the family-friendly locale in which it stands, replete with a multitude of other long-term residents who found a welcoming setting in which to put down roots.
The Brookes have been enriched by the uniqueness of their home, the stories, and the area.
"I love everything about my house. The history and the neighborhood most of all," Brooke said.
Janine LeGal is a freelance writer who loves Winnipeg’s homes and architecture. If you have a suggestion for a house to be featured in this column, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Boniface community correspondent
Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for St. Boniface who also writes the These Old Houses column for our Community Homes section.