FTLComm - Winnipeg - July 3, 1999
The smoke pouring from the windows down the block caught my eye and I snapped the picture wondering what was going on. An hour or so later when we walked by the building we discovered that a sand blasting truck was parked on the other side of the building and it was in the midst of renovations

This is the old "exchange" district of Winnipeg that houses from the 1920s onward the Winnipeg grain and commodities exchange and the many offices and companies associated with commodity trading. Today the area is more vacant then occupied and efforts are being made to rejuvenate the area and develop modern work spaces in these buildings from the first part of this century. These old buildings were made with brick and concrete, steel and a considerable amount of external artwork.

I think this building on the right demonstrates the changes as we see air conditioning jabbed into the windows along the third floor and the arched windows of the first floor. The external fire escapes always fascinated me as kid and today I wonder at the after thought. Design and build a large structure and then tag on something as fundamental as a means of getting out of the building in an disaster. Suggests a great deal about that society and the value it placed on things. This is a six story building and is fairly typical of its streetmates. From the design I wonder if the upper two floors were not an addition or something that came along later.

The little four story stand alone below is interesting as you can see the way it has changed over the years. The modern single unit windows have been installed but also we can see
the bricked over areas that may or may not have once held other windows. The brick work at street level is showing its age as are many of the entrances to buildings of this era. I noticed some where the actual limestone steps into the building are broken and damaged.

The odd little tunnel under one of the old buildings looks like the sort of thing architects might like to avoid but out of necessity have to insert to grant access to some area. The building beside this one has already been torn down to make room for a parking lot. You will notice that this building makes use of locally quarried limestone as the primary building material. This elderly portion of Winnipeg seems to have lots of local material in buildings.
Below are a couple of alleys that seemed to be from lost kingdom and presented such interesting perspectives in line and the proportion of sky and buildings.
Below are two banks. The old Royal Bank building is mysteriously shrouded in either plastic or netting for some reason and on the right is the glamorous Bank of Montreal at the corner of Portage and Main taken at night from the rolling van as we passed through the intersection.
This aging garage is located across the street from the Market square and perhaps once was a livery stable at least it has the look of a barn and it would be reasonable for that to have been the case. Now it serves as a parking facility beside an old two story office building that now serves as an English pub.

The wonders of an urban place seem to revolve around the interaction between the inhabitants and the structures that have been built and it would be rare that those who build and design would be those who would inhabit or use the facilities. The nature of urban life is a puzzle that needs to be considered for through out this century we have seen cities flourish and be abandoned only to be reused and remodeled as newer lifestyles evolve. The changes of technology, primarily that of the telephone and what it involves has changed the landscape over and over.