Pieces of Winnipeg's history for sale
56 building shards available at Shelmerdine Garden Centre; proceeds go to Heritage Winnipeg
If you're willing to shell out the cash, everyone can now purchase a chunk of Winnipeg history.
A collection of 56 building fragments is on sale at the Shelmerdine Garden Centre in Headingley, Man., just west of the city.
Prices for the fragments — which can give a dash of romance to the backyard — range from a few hundred dollars to nearly $10,000 for larger pieces.
"When you look at these building fragments, these shards, you don't just look at the facade … you look at the history," said Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg.
Many of the pieces were recovered from historic buildings built more than a century ago — the Alloway and Champion Building, the Royal Alexandra Hotel, the Main Street Post Office and the McIntyre Block.
The fragments are made of sturdy materials like granite and Tyndall stone and come with a certificate of authenticity. Some pieces almost look like Roman ruins, while others are carved faces or fragments of vines.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Winnipeg came under pressure to modernize and it demolished a number of heritage buildings.
"You had to get rid of the old and in with the new. People felt it was very expensive to retrofit and rehabilitate these buildings," Tugwell said.
In its day, the McIntyre Block was a massive commercial and retail building in downtown Winnipeg. Located near Portage and Main, the building was completely sound before it was knocked down.
"Sadly, had we been around, it may not have been destroyed," said Tugwell.
Tugwell said she has a personal connection to pieces from the Royal Alexandra Hotel, which was where her parents met and were married.
"The interior was brass and marble; it was absolutely beautiful," she said. "One of the most amazing hotels before it was demolished in the mid-1970s."
"I have to applaud the City of Winnipeg because along with Heritage Winnipeg and the Manitoba Historical Society and even the Winnipeg Foundation … it took a lot of work and a lot of money to preserve these," she said.
All of the money made from selling the shards will support Heritage Winnipeg.
Tugwell said the advocacy group has many more smaller shards, still in storage, that are also for sale. People who are interested in checking them out can contact Heritage Winnipeg directly. All prices are negotiable, she said.
With files from Ismaila Alfa