Located at the foot of the Red River at the east end of Bannatyne
Ave., the Bain Building was an example of the kind of structure
that the pumping station was designed to protect. The wooden
floor and post and beam structures comprising the interiors
of these warehouses as well as the variety of goods they
stored resulted in fires and accompanying high insurance
rates. The increased capacity provided by the pumping station
helped reduce the risks and costs of warehousing and distribution.
Once a grocery dry goods store, the Bain Building was one
for the earliest buildings to see renovation in the early
1970s. And the project succeeded in attracting a variety
of professionals in the design field.
One of Winnipeg's early settlers was James Ashdown. A tinsmith
by trade Ashdown became a prominent businessman and citizen.
He served as mayor in 1907-1908 a period in which he was
Merchant Prince of Winnipeg. Ashdown's hardware empire
was the largest in the west and his massive warehouse at
167 Bannatyne itself saw expansion reflecting Winnipeg's
growth spurts as more and more capacity was increasingly
needed to serve the growing west. Today this building has
been completely rehabilitated into 100 upscale condominium
residences. Its occupants include young upwardly mobile
professionals and empty nesters and those that like to
live close to work and the theatre and entertainment district.
But the Ashdown's original occupants were workers. The railways
contributed more to Winnipeg's growth than the business of
transportation. Rail also brought hundreds of thousands of
immigrants swelling the city's population with every train
headed west. And while most continued west, a large number
stopped and found work in this growing settlement. Immigrants
that made up the bulk of the work force for this expanding
The Exchange District has always been the place for entertainment.
Whether it's a theatrical performance or a night out at a
fine restaurant or an even in Old Market Square, this is
the place to be. Today the Exchange district continues to
see new life. On the East Side, Waterfront Drive has given
a new river experience, making it prime for future residential
The dreams the hopes of past and future generations have
made all we have seen possible. The status of a heritage
district is always a precarious one subject to the whims
and fads of the day. It is each generation's responsibility
to preserve a treasure so that it can be willed to the hands
and eyes of our next set of dreamers.
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