Underneath the Elms Self-Guided Tour

Starts: Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute (175 Talbot Ave)
Tour Length: 9.50 km


Few people realize that Elmwood started out as one of Winnipeg’s original suburbs. Not so long ago, developed areas of East Kildonan were open prairie. This ride will trace the evolution of this cozy neighbourhood from remote woodlots and farmland, to a bustling hub for industry and immigration. Rail lines and factories gave rise to their own style of distinctly Canadian working-class architecture, standing in stark contrast with monumental churches.

As we tour the historic sites and architecture along the east bank of the mighty Red River, we’ll learn about the unique influences left on the area by its many immigrant communities from Central and Eastern Europe.

Elmwood was a part of the Rural Municipality of Kildonan until 1906, when it became the first outlying area to join the City of Winnipeg. Most other neighborhoods wouldn’t follow officially until 1972. The area’s historical roots lay with the Selkirk Settlers who arrived in the Seven Oaks area on the west bank of the Red River in 1812. Many settlers maintained wood lots here on the east bank, which were gradually cleared and occupied as the west side filled with river lot farms. This side of the river was generally developed later, and most of Elmwood remained fairly rural until around 1900.

Religion & religious architecture are an important foundational element in the area, and are one of the most visible histories left today. After the rail lines arrived in Winnipeg in the 1880s, thousands of immigrants from diverse backgrounds traveled here. Their unique styles of religious architecture were a distinct expression of culture and an important beacon for communities in a distant place. Religious roots here in Elmwood remained so strong into the 1900s that they led to fights with the City of Winnipeg over its lax laws and reputation as a den of vice. 

Elmwood’s location along the rail lines and its intersecting key bridges spurred industrial development in the east, giving the neighbourhood a clear border and a distinctly working-class character that’s still seen in its culture.

Tour Stops

1 – Anna Gibson School Memorial (Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute) – Henderson Hwy @ Talbot St

Riverside District

2 – Louise Square / Midwinter Square / Midwinter Park (Stadacona St)

3 – Canadian Bank of Commerce Building (325 Nairn Ave)

4 – La Salle Hotel (346 Nairn Ave)

East Elmwood / Gateway

5 – Northeast Pioneers Greenway (near Herbert Ave)

6 – Mother of Perpetual Help Ukrainian Catholic Church / St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church (580 Talbot Ave)

7 – St. Paul’s Lutheran Church / Spanish Church of God (420 Tweed Ave)

8 – Fire Hall No. 8/Redwood Community Church (325 Talbot Ave)

Downtown Elmwood

9 Bank of Montreal Elmwood Branch / McLean Printers (194 Henderson Hwy)

10 – Dominion Business College Building / Elmwood Building (189 Henderson Hwy)

11 Dominion Post Office Building / Winnipeg Postal Station F (187 Henderson Hwy)

12 Hamilton House (185 Henderson Hwy)

13 Gordon Methodist Church / Gordon United Church (200 Brazier St)

14 St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church (196 McIntosh Ave)

15Elmwood Telephone Exchange Building (230 Martin Ave West)

16Goldfind House (346 Chalmers Ave)

East Kildonan

17 East Kildonan Municipal Office (414 Winterton Ave)

18 Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church (505 Watt St)


19 – Roxy Theatre / Roxy Lanes ((385 Henderson Hwy)

20 – Glenwood School / Glenelm School (96 Carmen Ave)

21 – Elmwood Presbyterian Church / King Memorial Presbyterian Church / King Memorial United Church / Gordon-King Memorial United Church (127 Cobourg Ave)

22 – Elmwood Cemetary (88 Hespeler Ave)

The Pedal into History project was supported by contributions from the Province of Manitoba through the Heritage Grants Program., the City of Winnipeg, and Seven Oaks House Museum. We are grateful for their support.