City archives a gold mine of information

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2022 (193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

More and more people in Winnipeg have become interested in the history of Winnipeg and the place with the largest amount of archival material dealing with the history of Winnipeg and the former cities, town and municipalities that now make up the City of Winnipeg, is the City of Winnipeg Archives. Located presently at 50 Myrtle St. it contains written records of the City of Winnipeg going back to 1874.

Like many archives it is only open during regular business hours, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. One must make an appointment to visit, as space is very limited for researchers. Staff can be reached at archives@winnipeg.ca or 204-986-5325. Your best bet is to be very specific about what you are looking for, as the collection is vast and staff members bring materials out to the research area.

Among the records in the archives are photographs but they have very few of individual house – most pictures show public buildings, public parks, and other city-owned properties.

The City of Winnipeg Archives on Myrtle Street contain written records of Winnipeg and its constituent municipalities, dating back to the 19th century.

What the archives do contain is all the City of Winnipeg’s council minutes, bylaws, and many other written records, such as building permit records, and property tax assessment rolls. The assessment rolls contain on the owners of a property in a specific year, the amount of municipal and school taxes assessed, as well as local improvement charges. The council minutes and bylaws books are a gold mine of information about what went on in the community in specific years that you will not find anywhere else. If you’re interested in learning when sewer and water was installed on your street, when the street was created and paved, when the sidewalks were built, even when local parks were created and when your local schools were built and expanded you can find out here. If your family members or distant ancestors were municipal employees that information can be often found in the council minute books, as well as when they were hired and what their salaries were.

The archives also contain fire atlases, which show the buildings and houses that existed at specific times of history. Many letters that were sent to various departments of the municipalities can be found there along with interdepartmental memos between various arms of the municipal governments.

The archives staff will sometimes do limited research for you via email or by phone if they have time but for you will have to detailed research in person.

Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Jim Smith is a community correspondent for Elmwood, East Kildonan and North Kildonan. Email him at jimsmith@mts.net

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