Description of Historic Place
The Ukrainian Labor Temple, long a hub of cultural activity in Winnipeg, occupies a prominent corner in an older mixed-use neighbourhood in the North End. The large Neo-Classical-style structure, built in 1918-19, and later expanded, is on a tree-lined street in an area that once teemed with Ukrainian and other eastern European immigrants. The Temple is now physically connected to a high-rise senior citizen's residence named after Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko. The site's provincial designation applies to the building and the lot on which its sits.
The Ukrainian Labor Temple, the first and largest labour hall in Canada, and built as a centre for Ukrainian culture and worker and farmer political activism, played an important role in maintaining a distinctive Ukrainian cultural identity in Manitoba. Historically associated with the trade union movement and the turbulent events of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, the temple also printed and distributed groundbreaking Ukrainian language publications including Canada's first Ukrainian newspaper, 'Working People.' Established as the headquarters for the national Ukrainian Labour Farmer Temple Association (ULFTA) in 1924, an organization with at least 23 rural branches, the temple was the site of several ULFTA conventions and is the only remaining functioning Labor Temple in Manitoba, headquarters for the Workers Benevolent Association of Canada. Designed by Robert E. Davies of Winnipeg, the Neo-Classical style structure has proved well-adapted to its roles over the decades. The large multi-purpose facility, with its 1926 addition, continues to function as an important and active social and educational centre.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minute, 14 October, 1995
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ukrainian Labor Temple site include:
- placement of the structure at the northwest corner of Pritchard Avenue and McGregor Street, with the front elevation facing south
Key elements that define the Ukrainian Labor Temple's Neo-Classical style include:
- the structure's rectangular form and symmetry with a flat roof line and rear (north) bulkhead, a parapet that rises a metre above the cornice, a recessed front entrance bay and side flanking bays, lintelled door and window openings, fawn-coloured brick surfaces on a solid limestone base, etc.
- the powerful fenestration pattern, characterized by the arrangement of very tall windows set in stone surrounds with exaggerated keystones, and placed at regular intervals between brick pilasters around the building's east and south elevations, etc.
- the impressive main (south) facade composition, with entrances heavily articulated with limestone detailing
- the corners defined by projecting blocks with paired capped pilasters and plinths
- the details and finishes, including the metal cornice, a stone course which interconnects the pilasters, keystones and limestone sills, etc.
- the 1926 addition on the west side of the Pritchard elevation that duplicates the masonry construction, brick wall finishes, fenestration and detailing of the original building and has a separate entrance compatible with the main entrance
Key external elements that recall the political and labour reform origins of the temple include:
- the recessed main entrance surrounded by heavy rusticated stone and an entablature with elaborate sculptures featuring the words 'WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE'
- a stone at the southeast corner with Ukrainian words translated as 'UKRAINIAN LABOR TEMPLE CONSTRUCTED WITH THE DONATIONS OF WORKERS IN THE YEAR 1918'
Key internal elements that define the Labor Temple's multi-purpose use include:
- the volumetric space of the large auditorium with an open space floor plan, high beamed ceiling, rear balcony, and stage behind a proscenium; the wide front vestibule with two sets of double entrance doors to the auditorium and side staircases to the upper balcony
- original features and materials including the auditorium's plain concrete block walls, pilasters placed at regular intervals on the sides of the auditorium and in pairs at the sides of the stage, dentil decoration on the beams, stage dressing rooms, fire curtain with a factory-peasant scene, stage lighting and backdrops, curtain mechanisms and intercom system, balcony seating complete with wire hat racks below the seats, busts of the founding members, etc.
- the 1926 addition with main-floor classrooms, second-floor editorial offices, library and archives; the basement area printing plant, etc.