Manitoba

Winnipeg considers historic status for supposedly haunted Masonic Temple

Winnipeg may confer heritage status upon the Masonic Temple, a supposedly haunted downtown landmark.

Owner of 1895 structure more disturbed by heritage proposal than stories of ghosts in downtown landmark

Winnipeg's Masonic Temple was completed in December 1895. (City of Winnipeg)

Winnipeg may confer heritage status upon the Masonic Temple, a supposedly haunted downtown landmark.

On Wednesday, city council's historical buildings committee will consider adding the 123-year-old structure on Donald Street at Ellice Avenue to the city's list of historic resources.

The currently vacant three-storey stone and brick building was completed in December 1895.

The committee will consider adding its exterior to the historic resources list. No interior elements of the building are up for heritage consideration.

The building served as a Masonic temple  until 1968 and then housed restaurants, most notably Mother Tucker's, for much of the latter part of the 20th century. In the 1970s, Mother Tucker's employees claimed the building was haunted.

"Employees say after closing time, lights flash on and off, and objects move by themselves," CBC's The National reported in 1978.

The building's current owner is more disturbed by the proposed heritage designation. According to land titles, the property is owned by a numbered company that lists restaurateur Peter Ginakes as its director.

"The owner has taken care to maintain the building, replacing windows, sandblasting and repointing the exterior brickwork and installing a new roof," consultant Syd Storey wrote in a letter to the city.

"The owner has acted in good faith to revitalize the property and will continue do so. There is no risk of this building falling into disrepair, being demolished or having its character-defining elements significantly altered."

At the same Jan. 16 meeting, the historical buildings committee will also consider adding three other properties to the city's historic resources list: Knox United Church on Edmonton Street, St. James Anglican Church on Tylehurst Street and Monte Cassino Court, an office building on Portage Avenue.

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