Tour historic Elmwood


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This article was published 23/04/2015 (2840 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The North East Winnipeg Historical Society is inviting area residents to walk with them on a journey through the past on the afternoon of May 3.

Organized as part of the annual Jane’s Walk historical walking tours, interested parties will meet, rain or shine, on Sun., May 3 at 1 p.m. at the west end of Ernie O’Dowda Memorial Park.

The walking tour will wind through the Louise Bridge District of Elmwood. Historic stops along the way include the site of the old pork packing plant, last operated by Swifts before closing shop 1959, the Louise Bridge, Fire Hall No. 8, and the former site of the Moline Tractor Company showroom.

Supplied View of the Louise Bridge, circa 1889.

“The reason we call it the Louise Bridge District, is because that’s what this area was called until they built the Elmwood Cemetery in 1902,” explained Jim Smith of the North East Winnipeg Historical Society, who will be leading the walk on May 3.

The Louise Bridge which gave the area its name was built in 1880 by the CPR, passing through Point Douglas before connecting to the north bank of the Red River north of St. Boniface. As industry moved into the area, people followed close behind.

Smith explained that, prior to joining Winnipeg in 1906, the Louise Bridge District was a part of the Municipality of Kildonan, with the exception of the far southeast corner, which was a part of St. Boniface until 1896.

“That southern portion of Elmwood was low in population,” Smith said. “10 years later, they wanted more city services, which the municipality of Kildonan was unwilling to provide.”

Citizens of the area petitioned Winnipeg for annexation, one condition of which was that Winnipeg build a them fire hall. In 1906, Winnipeg absorbed the Louise Bridge District, and built Fire Hall No. 8 at 325 Talbot Ave.

Supplied Postcard detailing a precursor (1880) to the Swift meatpacking plant which operated in the area, under various owners, from 1897 to 1939.

“This will be the first year we’re doing this particular walk,” Smith said, though the Historical Society has led “four or five” different tours in the northeastern part of the city in the past.

Every year, Jane’s Walks are organized around the world in honour of Jane Jacobs, an urbanist and activist. According to, the walks are intended to “develop urban literacy and a community-based approach to city building by encouraging citizen-led walking tours that make space for every person to observe, reflect, share, question and collectively reimagine the places in which they live, work and play.“

The North East Winnipeg Historical Society meets on the third Wednesday of every month. Their next meeting is May 20 at the Bronx Park Community Centre, located at 720 Henderson Hwy.

For more information, contact Donna Cudmore at 204-339-2547 or email
Twitter: @heraldWPG

Supplied Inside the Moline Tractor Company showroom on Riverton Ave., circa 1944.
Supplied Fire Hall No. 8, circa 1921. The building of a firehall in the area was a condition of Elmwood joining the city of Winniepg in 1906.
Supplied Inside the Moline Tractor Company showroom on Riverton Ave., circa 1944.
Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at Call him at 204-697-7112

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