Here is the old house from the vast expanse of surfacing parking directly beind it.
Really, there nothing special about it, other than that it is a final vestige of Winnipeg's early history: before the real estate boom of 1881-2, before the Canadian Pacific, before electric streetcars (or horsecars, for that matter), before "Chicago of the North", before terra cotta, etc. When Winnipeg was a muddy village that hugged Main from about Notre Dame East, up to Brown's Creek.
Aside from the house, the properties in question are just a single-storey row of tiny shopfronts between the Royal Albert and the St. Charles. If Winnipeg's boom lasted another year longer than it did, these buildings would certainly have been gone; replaced by something more tall and grand. Today, if a developer wanted to replace it with something taller and grander, that would be fine, but it's instead threatened by plans for more parking and--to add salt to the wound--a curb cut.
So while these buildings add very little to the architectural grandiosity of the Exchange District, it adds something just as important: places to house commercial enterprises for cheap prices. Two of the three storefronts have been consistantly occupied (since I started coming around almost ten years ago anyway) by two enterprises--a renowned Chinese restaurant, and a tailor--who would most likely not operate in the Exchange District were it not for small, affordable premises like this. When the Exchange becomes a true neighborhood, as it is slowly beginning to, it will need little storefronts like these, not for their form, but for their fuction.
Looking south on Main from William Ave, 1877