Some of the city’s oldest, most historically significant buildings will be on display next weekend as part of the 13th annual Doors Open Brandon.
Step back into the city’s history through 15 properties, many of which are not normally open to the public.
"They are hidden gems," said Coun. Corey Roberts (Rosser). "For those people that might be new to Brandon or don’t take time to really notice what they’re driving by … This is an opportunity to really enjoy the heritage that Brandon has to offer."
The free two-day event, on
July 19-20, celebrates the city’s "unique spaces, architecture and history."
For the first time, the Masonic Temple, located at 302 Eighth St., is participating in the event.
"The oldest and largest fraternity in the world, freemasonry has a long history in Brandon that can be traced back to the city’s early days," states the Doors Open passport.
The current Masonic Temple was constructed in 1935. The antechamber and lodge room are located upstairs, complete with original chairs and pedestals.
"It’s something the general public doesn’t normally get to see, unless they join the membership," Roberts said.
Two properties on the list are marking their 100th year — Moreland Manor (1340 Louise Ave.) and the former Yates residence
(431 16th St.).
The Yates house was designed and built by prominent local contractor Frank C. Lissaman for James Yates, who is known for installing plumbing systems in many early Brandon buildings, including the Brandon Mental Health Centre, Brandon courthouse and Bank of Montreal.
Moreland Manor was built by the Bell brothers for George A. Paterson, vice-president and managing director of the Brandon Electric Light Company.
"It was built for his wife and four daughters, so it’s huge," said heritage administrative assistant Emily Cuggy. "There’s a bathroom that used to be kind of a secret passage room."
As part of the Doors Open event, there will also be a guided walking tour of "Brandon’s Ghetto." Brandon Sun columnist David McConkey will lead the hour-long tour through the city’s north end, which became home to many immigrant workers and families from Eastern Europe in the 1900s.
"The tour will reveal the rich, often dark, and largely unknown history of Brandon’s north end and the people who lived there in the early 20th century," states the Doors Open passport.
Other properties to explore include Brandon University’s original building and Clark Hall, Brandon Armoury, St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and the former Shillinglaw residence, which was constructed in 1882.
"I hope that it sparks people’s interest in our city’s built heritage," Cuggy said. "We pass by buildings every day but we don’t really know the stories behind them ... They can really provide a huge glimpse into what things in Brandon were like at the beginning."
Most locations will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day. However, some are only open for one day, or just available for an exterior tour.
Passports with full tour details are available at Sobeys south, Sobeys west, the city hall treasury department, HomeLife Realty and the Riverbank Discovery Centre booth at the Shoppers Mall.
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