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Inkster House

1637 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2V, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/09/22

Primary elevations, from the southeast, of Inkster House (Bleak House), Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism 2006
Primary Elevations
Veranda detail of Inkster House (Bleak House), Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism 2006
Veranda Detail
North elevation of Inkster House (Bleak House), Winnipeg, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism 2006
North Elevation

Other Name(s)

Inkster House
Bleak House
Bleak House Centre
Maison Bleak

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1873/01/01 to 1875/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/09/21

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Inkster House (Bleak House), built in 1873-75, is a 2 1/2-storey log dwelling in a residential area of north Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Inkster House (Bleak House) is an important dwelling built by a member of a prominent Red River Settlement family whose history parallels the colony's transition into the City of Winnipeg. It was on John Inkster's Seven Oaks estate that his son Colin erected the dwelling in a manner similar to the family's nearby 1851-53 home - Georgian in style and constructed of logs with an overlay of siding. A rear extension and front verandah were added in the early 1900s, while numerous outbuildings, including a quaint summer house, filled the surrounding farm lot. Best known as the High Sheriff of Manitoba for some 51 years, Colin Inkster also gained distinction as a progressive crop and livestock producer, provincial politician and warden of St. John's Cathedral. His home, known as Bleak House after a Charles Dickens novel, eventually was enveloped by urban development but remained occupied by his descendants until 1973. The extensively restored structure is now a recreation centre for seniors and, together with John Inkster's house nearby (Seven Oaks Museum), forms a rare intergenerational link to Winnipeg's settlement period, its river lot system of land distribution and one of its influential early families.

Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minute, September 22, 1980

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Inkster House (Bleak House) site include:
- the building's park-like location in a quiet residential area of north Winnipeg, set back from Main Street on a well-treed lot with a summer house to the west, etc.

Key elements that define the dwelling's exterior character and Georgian architecture include:
- the L-shaped massing, 2 1/2 storeys high, with a cross-gable roof, complemented by one-storey gable and shed-roofed rectangular volumes
- the construction of horizontally laid log walls sheathed in milled horizontal siding atop a limestone foundation
- the double-hung windows throughout, most featuring six-over-six-pane sashes and simple pedimented wood surrounds and mullions painted to contrast with the siding
- the one-storey front verandah with a centred entrance, plank wood floors and ceilings, an enclosed rear (eastern) section marked by a gable end with fish-scale detailing and large windows inset with cubes of coloured glass, etc.
- the details, including the simple, classically ornamented front entrance with sidelights, intact brick chimneys, etc.

Key elements that define the house's interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the formal side-hall plan with the main floor arranged into a series of common rooms and the second floor holding more private rooms
- the front entrance hall featuring a basic staircase with a graceful wooden balustrade and an arched doorway leading to the parlour
- the upper-level alcove separated from the bedrooms by a large archway
- the unassuming details, including intact wooden mouldings, trim and doors throughout, some with original hardware; coved ceilings upstairs; built-in wooden closets; an elaborate carved wood and brick fireplace; etc.




Recognition Authority

City of Winnipeg

Recognition Statute

City of Winnipeg Act

Recognition Type

Winnipeg Landmark Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Recreation Centre


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



Colin Inkster

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

15-30 Fort Street Winnipeg MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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