Two decades ago, former Winnipeg mayor Susan Thompson wrestled power away from the administration building at city hall and concentrated it in the hands of politicians.

Soon, that building will bear her name.

The first woman to serve as Winnipeg's mayor is returning to the city for the rechristening of the administration building as the Susan A. Thompson Building.

Council voted unanimously in November in favour of the name chan​ge to honour Thompson, who served two terms as mayor from 1992 to 1998. 

"I was honoured. I was overwhelmed. I was emotional. I was blessed. I had every emotion you could imagine because in a million years I never thought something like this would happen," Thompson said Monday over the phone from Vancouver.


The administration building, soon to become the Susan A. Thompson building, sits north of the city council building. (Google Street View)

She said she sees no irony in her name adorning the administration building, which used to house the public servants she battled in her quest to replace the old board of commissioners — a group of unelected senior officials — with a "strong-mayor" model that benefited her successors, Glen Murray, Sam Katz and Brian Bowman.

"As time goes on, various models of government are put in place," she said, shrugging off the notion triumphalism played any role in the name change.

Council speaker Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) spearheaded the renaming, which is slated for 10 a.m. on Thursday. Thompson said she hopes the name change will serve as a symbol of recognition of women's leadership in politics.​

"You know women are still only 26 per cent of members of parliament, 25 per cent of  councillors at the City of Winnipeg and 22.8 per cent of  MLAs in the province of M anitoba. It's not good enough," she said, encouraging women to help advance more women into political office.

The former mayor, who is bringing her family to the city to witness the renaming, is still involved in one public project in Winnipeg: she works as a fundraising consultant for the Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre project.