Tuesday, September 16, 2014

510 Main Street - City Clock

Winnipeg City Hall

Place: Winnipeg City Clock
Location: Administration Building, 510 Main Street
Cost: Unknown
Unveiled: September 16, 1974

"Gingerbread" City Hall (source)

When Winnipeg's "Gingerbread" City Hall was built in 1896, the design called for a large, four-faced clock in its tower. Due to budget issues, though, it did not materialize until 1903. The timepiece served the city, with just the odd interruption in service, until the building was demolished in 1961.

The clock's faces and works were put into storage with the intention that they may be used in a future project, perhaps even the new city hall. That was not to be and it wasn't until 1987 that parts it were unveiled in Edmonton Court in Portage Place. (Read more about the city's 1903 city clock.)

Studying the model, ca. 1959 (source)

When the design for the new civic centre complex was finally chosen in 1959, there was no provision for a clock at all. The building was constructed between 1962 - 1965.

September 17, 1974, Winnipeg Free Press

In September 1974, Molson Companies Ltd. held a large executive gathering and board meeting in Winnipeg. At the time, Molson's consisted of ten companies, four of which were headquartered in the city, (Molson’s Brewery Manitoba Ltd, Beaver Lumber, Willson’s Stationers and  Seaway-Midwest Ltd.)

That was also the year of Winnipeg's centennial celebrations, so Molson's decided to bring along a gift for all Winnipeggers: a new city clock.

On September 17, 1974 Molson's held its board meeting in the council chambers, during which they presented the timepiece to Mayor Stephen Juba. Everyone then went outside to watch the curtains drop and the release of hundreds of balloons.

Winnipeg Civic Centre from above

In late 2009 the clock's internal mechanism failed and time stood still ! It was removed in February 2010 for a $26,000 refurbishment and was reinstalled in November.

For more photos of city hall's early days:
510 Main Street Winnipeg Architecture Foundation
Winnipeg Civic Centre 1964 - 2014 Exhibit Winnipeg Architecture Foundation
510 Main Street Winnipeg Building Index

 Civic Centre 60s
 Civic Centre

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