Saint-Boniface City Hall

A fine example of the Second Empire style

219 Provencher Boulevard

This building was the St. Boniface City Hall until 1972, when St. Boniface was amalgamated with the City of Winnipeg. Designed by Victor Horwood, St. Boniface City Hall is a good example of the Second Empire style.

The foundation and the roof edging are limestone with the rest of the building in red brick. Today, it houses the offices of Tourisme Riel, the World Trade Centre and the Maison des artistes visuels francophones (Franco-Manitoban Visual Artists Centre) with its contemporary and community art galleries, as well as the Sculpture Gardens where we can see the Joseph Fafard sculpture “Entre chien et loup” and many others.

A City in Full Expansion

A booming city, Saint-Boniface sees its population rise quickly from 1000 to 9992 between 1900 and 1912. Tax incentives, low land cost, affordable energy sources and good means of transportation allowed the Saint-Boniface city council to convince the agriculture industry (lumber, abattoirs and mills, including Manitoba’s first roller mill) to get established in Saint-Boniface.

As the city and its population grew, a new city hall was required to accommodate the expanding municipal services. A request for tenders was published on April 20, 1905. Victor Harwood’s architectural design was chosen and construction of the new building was completed in 1906 at a cost of $60,000.

Interesting Facts

Engraved in the lintel stone of the red brick building are the words “Hôtel de Ville”, French for “City Hall” and in the cornerstone, the date of construction – 1906 – is engraved. The St. Boniface coat of arms is located in the entrance of the building.

It appears that during the construction of the building, Horwood changed the original design to save money on the construction of the tower. Two years after the construction, not satisfied with the look of the tower, the municipal counsellors insisted that it be replaced so as to resemble the architect’s original design.

The interior has a few interesting details: a double staircase, pressed-tin ceilings and painted wood trim. The council meeting chamber was on the main floor. The mayor’s chair was on a pedestal surrounded by the counsellors’ chairs on the floor.

The offices of the Chief of Police, the Civil Engineer and the City Public Works Foreman were also located on the main floor. The residence of the Chief of Police and of his assistant was located on the 4th floor. The Courtroom and seven jail cells were located in the basement. In 1966, construction of the new police building was completed and, in 1967, a new municipal civil service complex was completed on the east side of City Hall.

In 1997-1998, the building underwent a renewal costing 1.2 million dollars. The first clock is finally installed in the tower, the exterior is restored and the interior renovated.

Extract of
Saint-Boniface Historical Tour

Saint-Boniface Historical Tour image circuit

Presented by : La Société historique de Saint-Boniface

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