History of 603 Wellington Crescent
The old house was built during 1912-14 by H.W. Hutchinson, the local managing Director of the John Deere Plough Company. Its architects were Ross and Macfarlane, a Montreal firm which also designed the Hotel Fort Gary. The ornate fireplace in the living room and mahogany wood staircase in the central hallway are its most distinguishing features. In the late 1920s, 603 Wellington Crescent was sold to W.P Riley and then again in 1955 to Joseph Harris of Canada Packers. It is located on two lots fronting on the Assiniboine River adjacent to the Maryland Bridge.
1997 - Wellington Crescent Property Acquired
In 1996, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg purchased the building and property at 603 Wellington Crescent and became its fifth owner. The Wellington Crescent/Academy Avenue corner is now home to four religious groups: The Lutheran Church; St. Mary’s Academy; Shaarey Zedek Synagogue and now the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg.
In 1997 the church purchased a property at 603 Wellington Crescent which boasted an elegant stone house, to which the church added a multi-functional sanctuary with a seating capacity of 225, seven classrooms and meeting places. The stained-glass windows especially designed for the two previous churches accompanied the move into the new church home.
When the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg was officially opened in the fall of 2001, the theme of Enter! Rejoice! Come In! was used to celebrate its completion. The product of several years of sweat equity, it was designed to combine old and new - the elegance of a mansion built in 1914 with the practicality of a commercial kitchen, a multipurpose sanctuary and lower level rooms for children and youth. A Building Use Policy was passed by the Board of Directors shortly afterwards.
Consistent with the theme of Enter! Rejoice! Come In! the board extended its building use to non-members as well as members with the intent of the sharing the unique facility with the general public and improving its public relations. 603 Wellington Crescent is a part of Winnipeg's history.
The second floor of 603 Wellington Crescent has been converted into the administration and religious education offices of Unitarian House; and a new sanctuary designed by Prairie Architects was completed through sweat equity and was officially opened in October of 2001. The matching stone exterior and stained glass windows from the three previous locations the First Unitarian/Universalist Church of Winnipeg to complement the integrity of the original building and add to the historic significance of the combined properties.
The renovations and construction of the new sanctuary are ongoing and are largely a sweat equity effort of the membership of the First Unitarian/Universalist Church of Winnipeg. The official opening of Unitarian House and the new sanctuary was October 2001.
The old house has a capacity of 60 people for wine and cheese type events but the new sanctuary can seat up to 200 people theatre style. The building has been actively used by for a great variety of membership activities from board and committee meetings through to chalice circles and workshops. In addition, there have been six kinds of major events held by members and non-members: Weddings Ceremonies and Receptions; Memorial Services and Receptions; Concerts and fund raisers; Retreats and workshops; "Wine and Cheese" receptions. the parking lot has a capacity of 55 cars.
All building use is centralized through the administration office on a fee for service basis. Potential users - member as well as non-member - may contact the office administrator by phone 474-1267 and make an appointment during office hours to view the premises.