The plan of rebuilding the area to the east of Main Street was called an absolute travesty

Architectural changes in the middle of the previous century could lead to the loss of historical heritage of the city.

The area east of Main Street was going to be reconstructed with modernist architecture, an amusement park and a tangle of expressways in the 1960s.

Cindy Tugwell, executive director of Heritage Winnipeg, called those changings an absolute travesty and said that the buildings have another problem- no support for heritage preservation.

The previous plan led to the demolition of Old Market Square building and some more structures that were built in the middle of the 20th Century.

In 1965 there was a plan to build a museum, a hospital and a lot of other buildings in modernist architecture to create a modern city. In addition, new expressways that were connected to the highway were also going to appear. Such avenues like Bannatyne и McDermot were expanded.

To attract people's attention and to create excitement in society, a model of all changes was placed in Portage Avenue Eaton's store at the beginning of the 1960s. Final changes could make Winnipeg an entertainment city. The project was even compared to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mayor Stephen Juba stated that the project would make Winnipeg a city of the future, a city of the next Century.

In Tugwell’s opinion, that approach was a good characteristic of politicians of that time and showed their desire to improve the city's economy. The destruction of historic buildings seemed quite a logical solution for them. It seemed to them that starting from scratch was much easier and more profitable.

An article published in 2010 in Prairie Perspectives said that the projects of the 1960s faced many difficulties, and therefore not all of them were implemented. Most of the difficulties were of a financial nature.

Cindy Tugwell is very glad that city authorities did not have enough money and did not make all their ideas come true. However, several buildings, such as two theaters and a Police station, were lost.

The Exchange had great changes and now the annual Jazz Winnipeg Festival and Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival take place in the district. It is also a great area of cafes, restaurants, and cinemas.

According to Tugwell’s words, without additional assistance from various organizations and authorities, the city could return to the problem that was in the 1960s. She believes that it is necessary to invest in the Exchange District, otherwise, everything will lead to its loss after a while.

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Cindy Tugwell Exchange District historical heritage
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