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History of West Broadway

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West Broadway was part of the City of Winnipeg when it combined with surrounding municipalities to become today's City of Winnipeg which came into legal existence on January 1, 1972.

The West Broadway neighbourhood began to develop into one of Winnipeg's early residential districts shortly after incorporation in the 1870s. The neighbourhood began to fill with more homes after 1900 as Winnipeg's downtown began to expand with large warehouses and commercial and office structures, forcing residential districts further and further from the centre.

A new subdivision of 63 lots was created in 1903 on land originally granted to James Spence, an ex-Hudson's Bay Company employee who farmed the property for many years. [1] This new subdivision took in the south side of Broadway and east side of Spence Street, but mostly ran along both sides of a new road, a southern extension of Balmoral Street known then as Balmoral Place. [2] From 1904 to 1912, this drive filled with large, expensive homes for a number of middle- to upper-income families. Throughout the rest of West Broadway, large, well-built, architecturally detailed single-family dwellings were built in the 1900-1914 era, home to well-off businessmen and professionals and their families. Broadway, one of the City's signature streets, dissected the neighbourhood and provided commercial space to serve the local population. The majority of lots were filled by 1915, with a modest number of infill housing built between 1915 and 1970.

Changes in the settlement patterns, especially the development of new residential communities, meant a significant change in West Broadway, as dozens of homes were converted into boarding houses. After several decades of decline, the neighbourhood has taken significant strides to revitalize. In 1997, the West Broadway Development Corporation was founded, a not-for-profit organization working with residents, community-based organizations, businesses and government to support environmentally sustainable social and economic development in the neighbourhood. [3]

[1] M. Peterson, "Henry E. Sharpe, 56 Balmoral Street ," Report to the City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, January 1990, pp. 1-2.

[2] Ibid., p. 2.

[3] Information at West Broadway Development Corporation website, www.westbroadway.mb.ca.