A. E. Gardiner Building, 116 Main Street, Carberry, MB


Reid Dickie

Another unique building in Carberry!

Yes, in Manitoba’s only Heritage District which offers dozens of different styles, materials and uses, we find yet another unique structure! Now a museum and gift shop devoted to Ernest Thompson Seton, the world-renowned artist and naturalist who spent about ten years in the Carberry area, this building has a rich past.

CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 106Built about 1915, this little place is a finely-crafted example of a popular building technique of the era: concrete blocks formed on site. Choosing from a variety of moulds with various facings, Frank Thomson of Austin, MB created the blocks and assembled them into this compact, one-storey commercial building. Hiding behind the boomtown storefront is a forward-facing, medium-pitch gable roof.


Thomson used one lovely pattern on the building. The intertwining floral design flows around the little place like sweet concrete syrup, a divine, resonant texture that embraces rather than creates the inner space. Even after almost a hundred years of exposure to Manitoba weather,CARBERRY OCTOBER PICTURES 108 the pattern on the blocks remains crisp and vibrant, a testament to the builder.

The two rougher patterns on the boomtown parapet imitate blocks but are actually a metal covering. The quoins were created by raising the corner blocks. The lintels and sills are concrete.

Today it houses The Seton Centre but its original moniker is well earned. A. E. Gardiner ran a harness repair business out of this place for 48 years starting just after it was built.

Pa Tuckett spent a lot of hours jawing with A. E. “We were like brothers sometimes,” Pa remembers, “Close and caring. We used to joke that one fixed up busted horse leather and the other fixed up busted automobiles, who would win. I think A. E. knew the answer to that all along.”

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1 Comment

Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

One response to “A. E. Gardiner Building, 116 Main Street, Carberry, MB

  1. Carberry has some great buildings ! I love walking down their Main Street, surprisingly untouched by the bulldozer or “corrugated metal siding fairy”.

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