Most prairie towns in Manitoba have experienced ongoing physical renewal over the last 130 years with older commercial and residential buildings burned or torn down and replaced with new structures. The faces of Main Streets all over the province are in continuous flux. Exceptions to this process are rare and precious and one in particular stands out – Carberry, Manitoba.
Located 42 kms east of Brandon and three kms south of the Trans Canada Highway, Carberry bucked the typical raze-and-build trend of most small towns and proudly retained most of its original brick and mortar architecture from its formative years in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Because of this, Carberry has garnered the distinction of having Manitoba’s first and, so far, only Heritage District. Designated by the provincial heritage people, two blocks of the town’s Main Street comprise the district, which includes 28 buildings, all of them deemed significant for their architectural and historical value. It’s a little slice of heritage heaven.
As a bit of a teaser, this shot shows one section of Carberry’s Main Street – a continuous row of original brick buildings sporting the elaborate decorative brickwork of the era. Though the first floor facades have been changed over the decades to accommodate various tenants and owners, the second floors remain mostly original, an exceedingly rare example of an early small town Manitoba streetscape.
Here’s my plan: I have photographed all the buildings in the Heritage District and plan to develop written descriptions for each, posting them individually on this blog over the summer. With my trusty JVC Everio I have shot video of the district which I will edit and post on my YouTube channel soon along with this series.
Its central location makes Carberry a great destination for daytrippers all over southern Manitoba. Besides its amazing Main Street, Carberry has several other heritage gems. I have blogged about their White house, Lyon house, agricultural display building, octagonal silo, St. Agnes Anglican Church, Carberry United Church Be sure to check out the Carberry Plains Museum and the building it is housed in.
For clarity, this project is of my own volition and I have no connection, financial or otherwise, to Carberry or any business in the area. I do have an appreciation of its architectural uniqueness and its location in the world, both of which motivate this series. My first post will be in a few days. As ever, I welcome all feedback.