The McIntyre Block pictured during the 1950s. It was the first office building in Western Canada, and site owner Creswin reportedly is eyeing a hotel tower for the land.
The Archives of Manitoba are filled with photos of buildings, but there are none of parking lots. Urbanites hate them. Mayors and premiers campaign against them. Parking lots are a maligned group. It is easy to love a building, to find beauty and meaning in stone columns and arched windows, but nobody ever considers the story of a parking lot or wonders what ghosts might linger on their asphalt surfaces.
PREGNANT WOMAN: What's that for?
OBSTETRICIAN: That's the machine that goes 'ping.' (Ping) You see? That means your baby is still alive! Its the most expensive machine in the hospital!
If the "machine that goes ping" from the Monty Python film The Meaning of Life, were to be hooked up to Winnipeg's downtown Hudson's Bay department store, the pinging sounds would likely be few and far between. The old store appears to be clinging to life after closing four of its six floors, the Paddlewheel restaurant and most recently its Zellers and basement grocery store.
Thesis project sees blend of new, historic marketplace
On a late November evening in 1877, the distinctive clip-clop, clip-clop of horses' hooves would pierce through Winnipeg's cold autumn air. The setting sun outlined the silhouette of an overloaded stagecoach staggering along the sharp prairie horizon. Curious onlookers were drawn by the moan of rigid wheels struggling to navigate the city's dusty Main Street. Unfamiliar sounds of foreign voices came from within the American caravan transporting the first three Chinese settlers to the isolated town of 6,500 people.
"The face of the city is changing. The heart beat's stronger. You can feel it in the air. Here's where the city comes alive -- Portage Place!"
The '60s was a decade of sweeping change and exuberant style; Zeppelin and Floyd, Corvettes and Mustangs, bell bottoms and miniskirts. As the baby-boom generation watched man walk on the moon, the ideas of the past were washed away in a tide of forward-looking enthusiasm.
More than four decades later, we remain enamoured with the psychedelic styles and imagery of the Mad Men era, yet architecture finds itself the one artistic expression from that time that is unloved and even reviled in today's popular culture.