100-year-old Charleswood building one step closer to historical status

A sprawling property in Charleswood is celebrating its centennial birthday — and may soon receive historical status from the city.

It’s a designation the Manitoba Historical Society’s president say is well-earned.

“This is the only iconic building from the early era in Charleswood,” MHS President Dan Furlan told CTV News. “It’s unique stone building as opposed to the wood buildings in other places.”

The building was constructed in 1922 by the International Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization initially established in the 1800s.

“The Odd Fellows home was for members of their order that was retired and to live here,” Furlan explained.

The Odd Fellows Home also housed orphaned children of deceased members.

It was only the second home for the organization in all of Canada, with the first located in Toronto.

The building closed its doors in 1997 and was eventually renovated and turned into an assisted living facility in 2001.

Now the building is on the verge of being added to the city’s list of historical resources – a designation that would preserve the building’s structure, brick façade, gabled roof, and other elements.

“It is an iconic lasting monument to the history of the place, but it is one of those unique buildings that has significance to this area,” said Furlan.

The potential designation comes months after proposed 10-storey apartment complex on the property’s green space was rejected despite city council’s approval.

“What I saw in the Roblin property was actually a really great 199-unit development that the Municipal Board turned down,” Sherri Rollins, property and development chair, told CTV News Friday.

Following the decision, the Manitoba Municipal Board told CTV News the size and scale of the development wasn’t compatible with the character and context of the neighbourhood.

Rollins said she supports historic designations as an integral part of Winnipeg’s identity and heritage, but believes there is room for compromise.

“You can see nice preservation and you can see new plans emerge and grow — in and around or even attached to,” Rollins said.

Her ‘best of the both worlds’ sentiment is shared by the Manitoba Historical Society’s president.

“If there’s apartments over there, but still keep the building and the green space. It’s a much more attractive environment.”

The city’s historical buildings committee meets on December 14.

– with files from Devon McKendrick

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