In the spring of 1997, as a prairie ocean slowly formed around our city, we anxiously followed along as the provincial flood forecaster reported the rising water levels each day, describing it as 21, 22 or 23 feet above James. The term became a local catchphrase, but few people knew that "James" referred to the James Avenue Pumping Station, an unassuming little building along the Red River in the Exchange District.

As the waters receded, the spotlight dimmed and the building's last moments of fame faded away. A century earlier, however, the pumping station was one of the most important buildings in our growing young city. James Avenue Pumping Station.


There is an 89 per cent chance you are inside a building at this very moment. On average, Canadians spend 21 hours and 20 minutes of every day indoors. In a country of 34 million people, we have almost 14 million buildings that consume 70 per cent of our electricity, 14 per cent of our water and 50 per cent of our extracted natural resources. They account for 25 per cent of our landfill waste and emit 35 per cent of our greenhouse gases.

These statistics illustrate the profound effect buildings have on each one of us. Our physical health, emotional well-being and ecological footprint are all closely linked to the types of buildings we choose to build and inhabit.
Manitoba Hydro Place recently earned LEED Platinum certification for green building.



So... what now?

Over the past few months, Winnipeggers have been captivated by the most recent chapter in one of our city's great legends of modern folklore, the search for the ever-elusive "world-class Winnipeg water park."

Adjacent to The Forks, the location of the most recent water-park proposal created a wave of public opposition that caused Canalta Hotels to pack up its snorkel and swim fins and head back to Drumheller. With the pressure relieved, we now have the opportunity to step back and ask ourselves as a community, what is the best way forward for one of the most important pieces of real estate that we, the citizens of Winnipeg, collectively own?


The Oct. 26, 1881, edition of the Manitoba Free Press reported, "A cow with a bell on, now in the pound, will shortly be sold by auction if the owner doesn't look after her." Secondary to this news, it was noted that, "The buildings within the walls of Fort Garry are to be removed this season, so that Main Street will be continued in a straight line to the Assiniboine Bridge."

Considered insignificant in the moment, the century-long lament of Upper Fort Garry's demolition would begin a mere seven years later in an article from the Montreal Star that proclaimed, "It would have been worth yearly thousands of dollars to future Winnipeg as a bit of pioneer history of the most fascinating sort, but the thick-headed controllers of the city's destiny could see nothing but the immediate realisation of its value in dollars and cents. It is about the most astounding piece of utterly ignorant and vulgar administration that Canada affords."



Moonlight sparkled on the water as a sleek new cargo ship backed away from her Vancouver dock and quietly slipped into the dark November night. Without ceremony, the Clifford J. Rodgers set sail for the Yukon carrying a shipment of beer, stored for the first time in a series of specially fabricated stacking metal containers. On that autumn night in 1955, she became the first cargo ship in the world to use this revolutionary technology that would transform the global economy in the 20th century.

Today, 90 per cent of the world's cargo is transported in standardized shipping containers, with more than 20 million containers making 200 million trips each year.
Architect David Penner is creatively exploring the use of shipping containers in a proposed new rental housing development at 956 Notre Dame Ave.

Number TEN Blog

Number TEN Inspired! captures the knowledge, passion and ideas of our award winning architects, interior designers and supporting staff, as they navigate through the complexities of the modern design landscape. We are creative problem solvers, advocates for better ways of doing things, and observers of all that is interesting and noteworthy in our field. This blog is our effort to share our knowledge and ideas in a way that resonates with everyone. Whether you work in the industry as an architect, interior designer, building manager, property developer, or are just someone with an interest in creativity and new ways of doing things, this blog has something for you.