Once upon a time, the streets of Winnipeg were filled with streetcars. From Portage to Pembina, thousands of Winnipeggers used streetcars as their primary mode of travel.
(Streetcar 356 on Portage Avenue, 1955)
Streetcar 356 was one of four unique wooden streetcars. It was built in Winnipeg at the Fort Rouge Garage and put into operation in 1909.
Before Winnipeg Transit, there was the “Winnipeg Electric Company” which provided Streetcar and Trolly Bus Transportation until September 1955, when the streetcars were retired from service and sold for scraps.
(A painted streetcar on their last run; Monday, September 19, 1955)
The body of one streetcar in particular, Streetcar 356, was sold for $100 and left at Springfield Road at Panet until 1980, when it was bought by the Old Market Square Association.
Later that year, Heritage Winnipeg acquired Streetcar 356 and accepted both ownership and responsibility for its preservation. It's believed to be the last remaining original wooden streetcar in Winnipeg.
Today, Streetcar 356 is housed in VIA Rail Station at the Winnipeg Railway Museum (123 Main Street).
(A photo of Streetcar 356 in its heyday)
For over 35 years, dedicated volunteers have spent countless hours restoring Streetcar 356 to its old glory. David McDowell is just one of the many volunteers who championed the restoration of 356. On June 18 of this year, we were saddened by the news of his passing. David was the co-chair of Streetcar 356 restoration project and the father of Winnipeg's heritage movement. The goal is to complete Streetcar 356 in honour of David!
All donations go directly towards finishing the streetcar, with an ideal completion by the end of this year, as streetcars played a major role in the Winnipeg General Strike
and this year is the 100th anniversary of the strike.
(David McDowell poses in Streetcar 356, circa 2005)
Streetcar 356 is a valuable reminder of Winnipeg's rich and interesting transportation history. As the streetcar played a fundamental role in Winnipeg's development and social activism, Heritage Winnipeg believes restoring Streetcar 356 is truly a worthwhile and honourable endeavour, conserving our heritage for generations to come.
If you are interested in volunteering to help restore Streetcar 356, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or message the official Facebook group
(Volunteers working hard on the roof of the streetcar, 2018)
About Heritage Winnipeg:
Established in 1978, Heritage Winnipeg is a non-profit, charitable organization that promotes the conservation of Winnipeg’s built heritage.
Here are some links for more information.
(More info about the restoration team) https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/winnipeg-streetcar-356
(Official Streetcar 356 website)https://winnipegstreetcar.com/
(Heritage Winnipeg Website)http://www.heritagewinnipeg.com/index.html
(David McDowell - Obituary)https://passages.winnipegfreepress.com/passage-details/id-265192/DAVID-MCDOWELL