Winnipeg Archives should relocate back to its home: report

Winnipeg’s library of history could be going home.

The city’s archives hold several documents detailing Winnipeg’s past, like pictures of the 1950 flood.

In 2013, a rain storm flooded the archives building on William Avenue causing damage. This forced the city to relocate its historical documents, temporarily, to a warehouse on Myrtle St.

Now a new report is recommending they be returned home.

After years of looking for a permanent location, Winnipeg’s public service says the archives should be relocated back to its original site, the Carnegie Library building.

Cindy Tugwell, from Heritage Winnipeg, has been pushing for the relocation.

“We have always been steadfast that you need to go back to that building,” said Tugwell.

The report said the fill-in spot at the warehouse is not ideal for storage, programming and office space.

“There are substandard environmental controls as warranted to preserve and protect the collection for long-term use,” states the report.

Property and Development Committee Chair Councillor Cindy Gilroy supports the move.

“Part of the calls for justice was to look at our archives and how we are also keeping our Indigenous records,” said Gilroy.

But there is a cost to all of this. To move the archives back home, an estimated $12.7 million renovation is required on the heritage building.

The report said this is the cheapest plan compared to building new or leasing other properties. Those options range between $20 and $25 million.

“This is so logical and I think this is the right thing to do financially, socially, morally. COVID taught us we’re connected,” said Tugwell.

The report recommends the funding ask to be forwarded to the 2023 budget process.

“We’re looking at investing in downtown, we’re trying to encourage more people to come downtown, this could be an added investment,” Gilroy said.

The city’s property and development committee will vote on this next week.

The report said the current lease on the warehouse space runs until 2027, but the city can get out of it penalty-free with a year’s notice.