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‘A souvenir’: The history of Winnipeg’s buildings comes together in new book

When you look around Winnipeg, you can tell parts of its history through its buildings and architecture.

Now, with Winnipeg marking 150 years as a city, a new commemorative book is highlighting this rich legacy.

Heritage Winnipeg released a new publication called, ‘Winnipeg 150: Stories Our Buildings Tell,’ which encapsulates 150 years of triumphs and challenges.

“I wanted something tangible, I wanted a souvenir so that people after us could learn all about the hard work that’s been taken, not only to preserve these buildings, but to move them forward and retrofit them and use them for today,” said Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg.

“It’s storytelling from 1874 up until 2024 and that was important to us.”

The book features 150 original prints by artist Robert Sweeney.

It tells the story of the buildings that shaped Winnipeg’s history and culture, including some that no longer exist.

“We have such a rich history and it’s the connectivity from built heritage to social history and it’s who we are, it’s our identity,” Tugwell said.

She added that part of the reason Winnipeg has so many beautiful buildings is because, at the turn of the 20th century, the city had more millionaires per capita than anywhere in Canada.

“People came here to make a fortune,” she explained. “We were the last stop before you went to the Wild Wild West. So people came here to make money and with that money came big banks.”

As for what Tugwell envisions for the next 150 years, she said she thinks Winnipeg has an understanding of conservation.

“I think we’re showing that we’ve learned from our mistakes and going forward that’s critical, because you make the right decisions going forward,” she said.

Heritage Winnipeg is set to launch ‘Winnipeg 150: Stories Our Buildings Tell,’ at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at McNally Robinson.

– With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace.

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