As a proud resident of Winnipeg, I find myself constantly enchanted by the stories that echo through the corridors of our city, and one such tale unfolds within the magnificent walls of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Imagine a majestic structure standing tall against the prairie sky, its golden dome glistening in the sunlight — a true testament to the dreams and aspirations of a province.
The Manitoba Legislative Building isn’t just a symbol of governance; it’s a living, breathing archive of our past, a repository of memories that have shaped our present.
As I meander through the halls of this architectural gem, I am reminded of the countless debates, triumphs, and challenges that have echoed within these walls.
Each step I take feels like a journey through time, a chance to connect with the visionaries who laid the foundation of our great province.
In this guide, we’ll go on a captivating exploration of the Manitoba Legislative Building, unraveling its secrets, uncovering its architectural marvels, and delving into the stories that have made it an integral part of our local identity.
About the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg
Address: 450 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8, Canada
Contact number: 204 945 5813
Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9 am – 4 pm
The Manitoba Legislative Building, located in central Winnipeg, is a monumental structure with a rich history dating back to its construction period from 1913 to 1920.
Serving as the distinguished meeting place for the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, it is not only a functional government space but also a significant provincial heritage site.
Designed by architects Frank Worthington Simon and Henry Boddington III, the building showcases a neoclassical Beaux-Arts style characterized by its grandeur and architectural finesse.
The imposing structure rises to a height of 242 feet (74 m) and spans an impressive floor area of 250,000 square feet (23,000 m²).
Beyond its architectural significance, the Manitoba Legislative Building plays a pivotal role in the governance of the province.
It houses the offices of the Premier, the Lieutenant Governor, and various government departments, making it a central hub for administrative activities.
Despite its official opening on July 15, 1920, the building’s history and influence extend far beyond its construction.
With an initial cost of C$8,075,865 in 1921 (equivalent to approximately $114 million in 2021 dollars), the investment reflects the importance placed on creating a structure that stands as proof of Manitoba’s identity and progress.
For those intrigued by its historical and architectural allure, the Manitoba Legislative Building warmly welcomes the public.
Guided tours, available through the Visitor Tour Program, offer an immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore both the interior and the grounds of this magnificent structure.
Best Time to Visit Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg
The best time to visit the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg is during the summer months, from June to August when the weather is mild and outdoor events and tours are available.
Sights to See at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg
The Manitoba Legislative Building is not just a seat of government; it is a majestic architectural marvel that houses a wealth of history and significance.
As you step into this iconic structure, you’ll be greeted not only by the corridors of power but also by a stunning array of sights that encapsulate the rich heritage and cultural tapestry of Manitoba.
From awe-inspiring architecture to intricate artwork, the Manitoba Legislative Building offers visitors a captivating journey through time.
Let’s explore some of the must-see sights that make this legislative landmark a unique and enriching experience.
1. Golden Boy
Address: 450 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1S4, Canada
Contact number: 204 945 8628
Operating hours: Tuesday and Sunday: Open 24 hours
Perched atop the dome of the Manitoba Legislative Building, the Golden Boy is a magnificent testament to both artistry and symbolism.
Crafted in 1918 by the skilled hands of sculptor Georges Gardet, this gilded bronze masterpiece emanates a sense of timeless prosperity and the entrepreneurial spirit ingrained in the heart of Manitoba.
Weighing in at a robust 1,650 kilograms, the Golden Boy commands attention, reaching a height of 5.25 meters from toe to torch and spanning 4.27 meters from head to toe.
Its inspiration draws from the classical figure of the Roman god Mercury (known as Hermes in Greek mythology), symbolizing eternal youth and the embodiment of enterprise.
The statue itself, with a torch held aloft in one hand and a sheaf of wheat in the other, represents the province’s pursuit of prosperity.
Positioned at the pinnacle of the Legislative Building, the Golden Boy’s torch, at 77 meters above ground, once claimed the title of Winnipeg’s highest point.
Despite the passage of time, the Golden Boy has endured, withstanding the elements and the changing landscape of the city.
In 2002, the statue underwent a meticulous restoration, including a regilding process, ensuring its continued prominence as a symbol of Manitoba’s enduring spirit.
2. Grand Staircase
Upon entering the Manitoba Legislative Building, visitors are greeted by the majestic Grand Staircase, a breathtaking architectural feature that sets the tone for the historical and artistic richness within.
This ceremonial route through the rotunda, consisting of three flights of 13 stairs each, leads to the assembly room beneath the impressive dome.
What captures the attention most are the two life-sized bronze statues of North American bison proudly positioned on either side of the staircase.
These striking sculptures not only add a touch of grandeur but also symbolize the strength and resilience of Manitoba, embodying the spirit of the province.
The Grand Staircase is more than a functional element; it is a piece of art that weaves seamlessly into the fabric of the Legislative Building.
The space exudes an open feeling, heightened by arcaded corridors on all sides across three levels, providing a vantage point that enhances the overall grandeur of the area.
3. Legislative Chamber
Address: 450 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C 3L6, Canada – Floor 2 Manitoba Legislative Building
Contact number: 204 945 3636
The Legislative Chamber within the Manitoba Legislative Building stands as a venerable testament to the province’s rich historical and political legacy.
This sacred space serves as the backdrop for the deliberations and proceedings that shape the course of Manitoba’s governance.
Stepping into the chamber, one is immediately struck by its unique and immaculate design — an architectural masterpiece distinguished by its circular form.
This distinctive layout sets the stage for the crucial discussions and decisions made by the 57 members of Manitoba’s legislative assembly, who convene here to debate and enact laws.
The chamber’s interior is a canvas of artistry that weaves together a tapestry of history and symbolism. Elaborate and sumptuous materials adorn the surroundings, drawing inspiration from various realms.
Intricate motifs, carefully selected from antiquity and legal and legislative history, as well as elements representing war, royalty, and Manitoba’s natural heritage, converge to create a visually stunning and intellectually enriching atmosphere.
Beyond its physical beauty, the chamber encapsulates the spirit of Manitoba’s political journey, echoing the voices of those who have passionately debated and crafted the laws that govern the province.
It is a living testament to the profound significance of the legislative process in shaping the identity and destiny of Manitoba.
4. The Rotunda
At the heart of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg lies the Rotunda, a captivating focal point that attracts visitors with its architectural splendor.
Positioned at the top of the Grand Staircase, it serves as a dignified entryway to the legislative chamber, setting the tone for the richness that lies within.
Upon entering the Rotunda, one’s gaze is immediately drawn to the awe-inspiring dome that crowns the edifice.
This remarkable structure is supported by four pairs of Corinthian columns, each gracefully ascending from the floor to the cornice enveloping the dome’s base. It is a testament to the meticulous design and craftsmanship that define the interior.
Beneath the dome, the floor reveals a mosaic of elegance, crafted from Tennessee marble and artfully bordered with black Vermont and verde antique marble.
This carefully chosen material not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also symbolizes the commitment to quality and endurance.
As visitors stand in the Rotunda, they are afforded a breathtaking view of the grandeur that surrounds them.
The dome, reaching its apex above the Pool of the Black Star, is not merely a structural element but a canvas for the captivating Golden Boy statue that graces its summit.
This iconic figure, bathed in a golden hue, encapsulates the spirit and aspirations of Manitoba.
Beyond being a mere passageway, the Rotunda invites guests to pause, absorb, and appreciate the history and architectural magnificence of the Legislative Building.
5. Provincial War Memorial
Nestled at the northwest corner of the Manitoba Legislative Building grounds, the Provincial War Memorial is a poignant tribute to the courage and sacrifices of Manitobans in times of conflict.
This solemn site has been a place of reflection for nearly a century.
Unveiled in 1923, the memorial serves as a reminder of the 1,663 Manitobans, predominantly from Winnipeg, who never returned from the harrowing battlegrounds of the First World War.
The unveiling marked the establishment of a timeless memorial park, creating a space for remembrance and honor.
Within this green expanse, a focal point emerges: the 1918 War Memorial, a symbolic centerpiece positioned between Memorial Boulevard and Osborne Street.
The Provincial War Memorial embodies a collective memory etched into the cultural fabric of Manitoba.
Its presence adds depth and reverence to the legislative building’s surroundings, inviting visitors to pause and pay homage to the individuals who served and sacrificed for their country.
As one navigates the memorial park, the atmosphere resonates with a sense of contemplation, encouraging quiet reflection on the profound impact of war.
It stands as an integral part of the Manitoba Legislative Building’s historic grounds, weaving a narrative of resilience, honor, and remembrance that transcends time.
The Provincial War Memorial invites all who encounter it to participate in a meaningful dialogue with the past, fostering a connection between generations and ensuring that the sacrifices made are never forgotten.
6. Famous Five Monument
Address: 60 Osborne St N, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1V3, Canada
The Famous Five Monument is a powerful tribute to five remarkable women who played a pivotal role in the fight for women’s rights in Canada. Unveiled on June 18, 2010, this bronze sculpture was skillfully crafted by local artist Helen Lillian Granger Young.
Commissioned by the Nellie McClung Foundation, the monument cost an estimated $750,000. It symbolizes the collective efforts of Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, Emily Murphy, and Henrietta Muir Edwards.
These trailblazing women boldly challenged the Supreme Court of Canada in 1929, ultimately securing the legal recognition of women as persons under the British North America Act.
Positioned amidst the grandeur of the Manitoba Legislative Building, the Famous Five Monument is part of a trio of monuments celebrating the impact of women.
Joining the company of statues dedicated to Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, it adds a distinct feminist narrative to the historical landscape.
Tips When Visiting Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg
When planning a visit to the majestic Manitoba Legislative Building, it’s essential to make the most of your experience by being well-prepared.
To ensure you have a seamless and enjoyable visit, consider these tips that will enhance your exploration of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
1. Plan your visit.
The Manitoba Legislative Building is open to the public seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, guided tours are only available from June to August and must be booked in advance.
During the summer months, tours run every hour on the hour. Allow yourself at least an hour to explore the building and grounds.
2. Plan your parking.
There is limited metered parking available on the street around the Legislative Building. Paid parking is also available in the nearby Portage Place parkade.
3. Take a tour.
Guided tours are a great way to learn about the history and architecture of the Manitoba Legislative Building. Tours are available in both English and French.
They last approximately 45 minutes and cover the building’s history, architecture, and artwork.
4. Respect the building and its occupants.
The Manitoba Legislative Building is a working government building. Please be respectful of the building and its occupants.
Do not touch or climb on any exhibits or furniture. Be quiet in the Legislative Assembly chamber and other areas where people are working.
5. Respect the dress code.
While there is no formal dress code, visitors are expected to dress appropriately. Avoid wearing clothing that is overly revealing, offensive, or disrespectful.
6. Enjoy the view.
The Legislative Building is located on a hilltop, which offers stunning views of the city. Be sure to take some time to enjoy the view before you leave.
7. Combine your visit with other attractions.
The Legislative Building is located near several other popular attractions, such as the Manitoba Museum and the Forks. Make a day of it and explore all that downtown Winnipeg has to offer.
8. Attend a special event.
The Legislative Building hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, lectures, and open houses. Check the calendar on the official website for upcoming events.