Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop
(The Manitoba Children’s Museum)
45 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg

 

Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Repair Shop

Designation Date: March 22, 1995
Designation Authority: Honourable Harold Gilleshammer, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship
Present Owner: The Forks North Portage Partnership

Built in 1889 by the Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway Company, this structure is the oldest surviving railway repair facility in Manitoba. It originally included a machine and blacksmith shop, engine house, and ten-stall roundhouse and turntable. It is the only surviving building of a complex that included two roundhouses, freight sheds, an elegant hotel and a large station. The industrial site subsequently became Canadian National’s East Yards before the complex was transformed into The Forks.

Members of various railway craft unions worked at the East Yards for the Northern Pacific and Manitoba, Canadian Northern and Canadian National railways. Engines and cars entered the engine house on tracks positioned over pits. Repairs were undertaken from beneath the engines and cars, and were then passed onto the turntable to be pivoted on to one of the 10 roundhouse stalls. After 1909 the building fell into disuse. Canadian National locomotive repairs increasingly were undertaken at the Fort Rouge, Transcona and Symington shops, though the building was used in a variety of capacities until the 1960s. In 1993–94 the Bridges and Structures Building was renovated to become the home of the Manitoba Children’s Museum.