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Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop

45 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/03/22

Primary elevation, from the southwest, of the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Primary Elevation
Main entrance, from the west, of the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Main Entrance
View of the northwest elevation of the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005

Other Name(s)

Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop
Kinsmen Building
The Manitoba Children's Museum
CNR Bridges and Structures Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1889/01/01 to 1889/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/02/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway (NP and MR) Repair Shop is a long one-storey brick structure on the eastern edge of The Forks, an historical site at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red rivers in downtown Winnipeg. Built in 1889 and expanded in 1946, the T-shaped structure now houses the Manitoba Children's Museum. The provincial designation applies to the building and its large parcel of land.

Heritage Value

The NP and MR Repair Shop is the oldest surviving railway repair facility in Manitoba and the only building that remains from the NP and MR's pre-1900 Winnipeg complex that included two roundhouses, freight sheds, an elegant hotel and a large passenger station. Development of the complex confirmed the early end of the Canadian Pacific Railway's charter monopoly in southern Manitoba and also began nearly a century of rail yard occupancy of The Forks. The utilitarian brick shop, designed by John Woodman, the NP and MR's construction superintendent and subsequently a prominent Winnipeg architect, is a typical example of a late nineteenth-century industrial building. It was used for car and engine repairs until 1909, then accommodated various other functions for the NP and MR's successors, the Canadian Northern and Canadian National railways. Sympathetically rehabilitated in 1993-94, the shop is one of a handful of important railway structures that have been integrated into the establishment of The Forks as an archaeological preserve, national historic site and commercial and recreational meeting place.

Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, September 12, 1987

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the NP and MR Repair Shop site include:
- the placement of the structure, aligned north-south, on the west bank of the Red River near its junction with the Assiniboine River

Key elements that define the repair shop's industrial character and original function include:
- the strong horizontal massing created by the one-storey building's elongated rectangular plan and expansive footprint, measuring no less than 73 by 30 metres, with an east wing jutting off centre
- the shallow-pitched gable roof shape running the length of the main building and a truncated gable roof shape on the addition
- the complementary simple, symmetrical composition and articulated masonry construction
- the rhythmic arrangement of long paired windows set in bays defined by brick pilasters and corbelled brick detailing on the side elevations
- the four large openings at the south ends, also set in bays between brick pilasters
- the unpretentious materials and details, including smooth buff-coloured brick walls, painted wood trim, windows with rusticated limestone sills and segmental brick voussoirs, etc.

Key internal elements that define the building's heritage character include:
- the exposed brick walls and heavy timber columns with diagonal bracing that support the roof




Recognition Authority

Province of Manitoba

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1946/01/01 to 1946/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type




Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

John Woodman



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Main Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue Winnipeg MB R3B 1N3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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