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History of Silver Heights

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Silver Heights was part of the City of St. James when it became part of the City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

The area known today as the neighbourhood of Silver Heights was one of the Western Canada's first modern community developments - an early planned neighbourhood project that was the brainchild of local developer Frank R. Lount.

The permanent settlement of the area (called Silver Heights because of the silvery appearance of vegetation on the height of land), began in the late 1850s with an estate created by John Rowand, Hudson's Bay Company official. [1] His home was used as Manitoba's first Government House for at least one summer and was ultimately sold to Donald A. Smith, railway entrepreneur and considered one of the wealthiest men in the world. The house burned to the ground in 1892. From then until the late 1940s, the area remained a largely untouched piece of rural property.

In 1949, 40.5 hectares were sold by the Rural Municipality of St. James to Frank R. Lount of Frank Lount and Son Construction Company. With Mount Royal Road as its main thoroughfare, the new subdivision stretched from Portage Avenue to Ness Avenue and from Conway Street on the east to Davidson Street on the west. Looping crescents ran off Mount Royal and were named for 19th century Hudson's Bay Company employees. By 1952, more than 300 single-family homes have been completed. Also part of this development was the construction of the Mount Royal Shopping Centre and Silver Heights Apartments east of Mount Royal on Portage Avenue.

Lount also built markers in 1950-1951 along Mount Royal Road, two sets of low limestone and concrete benches with wrought-iron detailing near the northwest corner of Portage Avenue and the southwest corner of Traill Avenue. Across Traill Avenue was the largest marker which has been recognized as a heritage structure by the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba.

[1] R.R. Rostecki, "Pillars of the Community: Roadside Markers in Winnipeg," report for the City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, March 1995, pp. 14-16.