CURRENT NEWS FOR THE FRIENDS OF THE RALPH CONNOR HOUSE

November 2020

Hello everyone:

We hope you are keeping healthy and safe as we navigate our way through these uncertain times. Parsons Plumbing has now installed the new boiler, so it is lovely and warm at the house again. On Friday, October 23, Class-A will be doing the annual cleaning and maintenance of the eavestroughs.

* Important Announcement *

As we are unable to meet in large numbers at RCH, due to the COVID-19 health restrictions, FRCH will be holding an electronic AGM. The University Women’s Club membership will be receiving a package via e-mail that will contain :

  • Agenda
  • Minutes of June 19, 2019 FRCH, AGM
  • President’s Report
  • Financial statements for Fiscal year 2018/19, and Fiscal year 2019/20

This package will be sent out in the first week of November, with all the pertinent information as to how to proceed.

Thank you. Please, take care, stay well and be safe!

October 2020

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe.

Kildonan Tree Service completed the tree removal and trimming at Ralph Connor House on September 16 and 17. They did an amazing job as you would not ever know they had been there when the work was completed !

As I am sure many of you are aware, we have had quite a week dealing with our boiler. I am happy to tell you we have ordered a new boiler from Parsons Plumbing and it will be installed within a week, in the meantime, Parsons has installed a temporary hot water tank.

In mid October the FRCH Board will be sending out packages via e-mail for our virtual AGM. All the information as to how it will work will be included in the package. Watch for it !!

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Your Friends of The Ralph Connor House Board

September 2020

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe in these unusual times.

Almost all of the required repairs to Ralph Connor House have now been completed, with only one location not quite finished and that will see completion in late Fall.

Kildonan Tree Service Ltd. will be doing some required tree (large tree at front of house, off driveway) and branch removal (all that over-hang the roof), as well as others around the back of the property.

All the overhanging branches on the side driveway will also be trimmed back. Our timeline for all this work is early October.

Please take care and be safe out there!!

April 2020

Hello everyone !

All ongoing repairs to RCH have now been suspended until July, when the house is closed for two weeks.
Wednesday, March 11th saw the first school tour of 2020 for our Living History Program – with 77 Grade 6 students participating in a morning and afternoon tour.

As for DOORS OPEN- Sunday, May 31st - to date Heritage Winnipeg has not informed us that the event has been cancelled. However, that could yet happen, I will keep you informed as information becomes available.

Look after yourselves everyone, and be safe out there!!

March 2020

Hello everyone! The repairs to our beautiful house are ongoing, with much of the designated work completed and still more to come. There have been a number of electrical and lighting issues in the last month, that have now been dealt with.

Our Living History Program is having a School tour on Wednesday, March 11. It is an all day tour, with lunch provided for the players. Come and shadow one of the players for the morning or afternoon tour, or just follow the students to each room to see what the school tours are all about. Please contact Sue Bishop or Janice MacDonald at uwcevents@mymts.net if you would like to join in.

Ralph Connor House will be participating in Doors Open Winnipeg again this year, however, we will be doing tours on Sunday, May 31, instead of Saturday. The sign-up book for tour guides will be available the middle of March at the house.

February 2020

Happy New Year everyone! 2019 was a very busy year, with the many repairs to the house and 2020 is looking just as busy. The many repairs to the second floor are coming along nicely, with many now finished and others still ongoing. We are hopeful all will be completed within the next few months. Heritage Winnipeg is holding their 35th Annual Preservation Awards on February 18th and The Friends of the Ralph Connor House will have representatives at the event.

Our Living History Program is still looking for members to shadow the players for the upcoming School Tours. All Tours are the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The roles are easy to take on and it is always fun interacting with the students. Please contact - Sue Bishop OR Janice MacDonald @ uwcevents@mymts.net if you are interested in “shadowing” one of the tours to see what a very worthwhile experience is being offered to our community.

Thank you and let’s hope "2020" is a wonderful year for us.

FRIENDS OF RALPH CONNOR HOUSE (FRCH) HISTORY

The historic Ralph Connor House has been the home of the University Women’s Club since 1937, and this lovely old Jacobean Revival house has served us very well indeed.  However, it has been showing its age for some time now, and is very expensive to maintain.

Doris Saunders, a long-time member of the Club who served a term as president, celebrated her 100th birthday in the house.  The sitting room was named in her honor while she was still alive.   Unfortunately, she was no longer able to navigate the stairs, so in her will she bequeathed the sum of $25,000 to be used to install an elevator.

This bequest opened the proverbial ”can of worms”, in that permission was required from the city to proceed with the installation.  It was found that the house did not meet the current fire code, and this situation would need to be remedied before work on the elevator could proceed.  Further investigations by an engineering firm revealed that the estimated cost was far beyond the current means of the UWC.  Members were then polled to determine whether to sell the house, continue to live dangerously, or to launch a capital campaign to bring the building up to code.

Members chose to go ahead with a capital campaign, and they determined that the best way to do this was to form a separate organization.  This resulted, in 2003, in the birth of Friends of Ralph Connor House (FRCH), a charitable organization whose mandate is to ensure that this historic treasure would be maintained and preserved in good condition so that it might be enjoyed by future generations.  The UWC rents the house, and all UWC members are automatically members of FRCH.  The board of FRCH consists of both community members and UWC/FRCH members.  

In 2004, under the UWC presidency of Muriel Smith, an application was made for charitable tax status, and after much work, supported by the Winnipeg Foundation, this was granted.  A fundraiser was engaged and a campaign committee was formed, made up of both community members and UWC/FRCH members and chaired by a community member.  On advice from this committee, it was determined that UWC would need to raise its image by bolstering its community involvement.  One proposal was that the FRCH board would be composed of four community members and three UWC members who were not on the current UWC board.  This proposal was eventually agreed to, but unfortunately the overall fundraising target was narrowly rejected by the board of UWC, and this decision led to the resignation of the fundraiser and all members of the campaign committee, and the end of the campaign.  

UWC members had been the first targets of the fund raising campaign.  Because of the commitment of the members, it met its ambitious target, and these funds have been well invested.  The present FRCH board has spent considerable time and skill in managing both the funds and the upkeep of the building structure.  Bob Darling, as past president of FRCH, has been a strong force in ensuring that this continues.

All members of UWC are now also members of FRCH for one dollar a year.  Community membership is now $50, which not only gives members the opportunity to support the house, but also the privilege of attending courses at member cost as well as hosting functions in the house.

It should be noted that Ralph Connor House has been recognized by federal, provincial and municipal governments for its historical and architectural significance.  These designations allow the FRCH board to apply to various programs for funding.