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History of Spence

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Spence was part of the City of Winnipeg when it amalgamated with the surrounding municipalities to form the City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

Spence is one of the older residential neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, developing after 1900 as a reaction to the steadily increasing population, the demand for modern housing and the lack of affordable real estate in the downtown. The location of housing further from the core created a number of new residential districts, the area to the west was served by Portage Avenue, one of the regions important roads, dating back to its use as a fur trade trail. An increase in population and development in the 20th century necessitated streetcar access which, in turn, supported more growth. Blocks and blocks of land was surveyed into small city lots and individuals, contracting firms, banks and financial institutions and companies built single family homes of every description. Apartment blocks became a popular form of residential housing after 1905 and more were built per capita in Winnipeg between 1905 and 1915 than any other city in Canada.

This neighbourhood also featured extensive commercial property along its southern edge - Portage Avenue and to a lesser degree along Sherbrook Street and Sargent, Ellice and Notre Dame avenues.