Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre: home to many
The Dalnavert Museum was built in 1895 on Treaty 1 land and was home to former Manitoba premier, Police Magistrate, and lawyer Sir Hugh John Macdonald, and his family. The history extends beyond 1929 when the Macdonalds left the house. After Hugh John Macdonald passed away, he left all of the home’s belongings to Agnes, who moved to the Roslyn Apartments on Osborne Street.
Since then, the people who owned the house transformed it into a boarding and rooming house. In 1969, it was sold to a development company. The development company intended to make the grounds into a parking lot.
But in the 1970s, the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS) together with several historical activists worked with the development company and made numerous offers to buy the house, ultimately succeeding.
Working with the City of Winnipeg and other organizations, MHS attained grants to restore the home. John Chivers and George Walker led the restoration, which cost roughly $559,000 and took several years to complete.
In 2013, The MHS closed the doors of the museum spurring a group of dedicated and passionate individuals to create Friends of Dalnavert Museum Inc. This newly formed not-for-profit organization assumed ownership and was able to re-open Dalnavert Museum in the spring of 2015.
Today, Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre is a cultural hub, event centre, and along with interpreting the history of the house and early Winnipeg, is the host to educational and entertainment programs.
While little is known about his early life, Charles H. Wheeler left a lasting impression on Winnipeg.
He was born in April 1838 at Lutterworth, North West Leicestershire, England, and was married 20 years later to Annie Wakefield of Fairford, Gloucester.
He studied architecture and music in Birmingham, England and was an architect in England for about 20 years, according to reports. By 1882, he had immigrated to Winnipeg.
Wheeler soon worked for James Chisholm and within in a year of living in Winnipeg his design was chosen out of 44 submissions for the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on the corner of Graham Avenue and Donald Street. After that project, he established his own firm.
In 1893, Macdonald approached Wheeler to build Dalnavert.