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Assiniboine Park: A Park for all Seasons
Assiniboine Park:
A Park for all Seasons

Produced for Prairie Public Television ©2003
Written and Produced By George Siamandas

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Page 5

THE ASSINIBOINE PARK PAVILION
NAR: Whether a family group, a picnic, or a solitary walk throughout the many landscaped paths, the park remains a joyful retreat from the city's hustle and bustle. And the focal point has always been the Pavilion.

The first major building was the Pavilion designed by architect John Atchison built in 1908 for $19,000. It included a 90-foot tower, which contained a 16,000-gal water tank for watering the park's grounds.

The Pavilion soon became a centre for Winnipeg social life offering a dance and banquet hall, and, catering facilities. For 20 years it hosted a variety of events. A tragic fire in 1929 destroyed the pavilion leaving only a safe. A new one was built in 1930. Yet its potential was never fully realized.

CATHERINE MACDONALD
The 1931 pavilion never reached its potential because the parks board never had enough money to develop it.

HARTLEY RICHARDSON, PARTNERS IN THE PARK
This wonderful building had sat empty and abandoned and we felt in order to make it a destination that we would like to have a wonderful eating experience. So the Tavern in the Park idea came as part of trying to make it an all round experience for people.

The great joy is to see the pleasure it has brought to so many people in so many ways that have such a wonderful connection to this building. It spans generations and it spans all sorts of emotional ties.

DONNA HICKS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PARTNERS IN THE PARK
In 1930 the Pavilion was rebuilt after a tremendous fire. It sort of functioned for many years; it had a little banquet facility. Over the years it became very tired - just an old building. Then a group of really concerned citizens saw the potential, walked through the building loved what they saw and decided they would do a major fundraising in order to rehabilitate the building. Tavern in the Park happens to be one of the top-rated restaurants in Winnipeg. The food is fabulous. We also do a large number of private functions here - lots of weddings because the venue here is so perfect.

And then when we come to the second and third floors we have on the second floor Walter Phillip's work. We have one of the largest collections in Canada. They are beautiful watercolours - many of them done here and in Kenora. And then on the other side of that floor we have Clarence Telenius. His work is just incredible a lot of animals - mother and baby type of animal pictures. They are quite spectacular. When you come to the third floor we have Ivan Eyers work - very modern, exciting, lots of controversy when you look at his work and try to understand what it's all about. So three very, very different artists.

I think one of the things I like the best is to hear from someone that hasn't been here in 20 years, that I used to come and have a hot dog and now look at this space. It's so beautiful, so gorgeous. We have three different entities here. One of course is the art gallery, which is an art museum. Second we have the Leo Mol Sculpture Gardens. And then the third entity is the Lyric Theatre, which is the outdoor stage. So really what we are doing here is providing free for all to enjoy - fine art, fine sculpture, and fine theatre.

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