CURRENT NEWS FOR THE FRIENDS OF THE RALPH CONNOR 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.

December 2019

We will now be moving forward with some of the required repairs to the second floor. This work will be carried out by Regan Philpott and will be an ongoing project carrying well into 2020. On-Time Electric has now completed re-pairs of most of the faulty light fixtures and hope to have it all completed early into 2020. The issue with the outside furnace exhaust has been dealt with by Parsons Plumbing. It has been redirected to the front garden bed and will be monitored over the winter to make sure there are no problems with the new placement.

November 2019

No new developments since last report. I am still waiting for quotes that were mentioned in the Oct. Bulletin, so as there has not been any work completed I'll wait till the Dec. Bulletin to give you an update.

September – October 2019

Currently we are working with Regan Philpott (he and his crew completed the repairs to the living room ceiling and the main floor sunroom this summer) in regards to the water damage to the second floor, as well as cracks from shifting of the building.

On September 17, On-Time Electric did an inspection of several faulty light fixtures throughout the house. We hope to have these dealt with shortly. There is also an issue with the outside exhaust by the side shrubbery, every winter there is a dangerous ice build-up in this area. To rectify the problem we hope to have it redirected to the front drive before the snow flies !

*The School Tours (Living History) are up and running for the season, with three full days already booked ! Janice MacDonald (program coordinator) would like to have you come and shadow the players in their roles. * Please note that Sue Bishop is now your contact person in UWC for questions, etc. concerning volunteering for the Living History program.

On October 17, the Armstrong’s Point Association is hosting a tour for the National Trust Winnipeg, the consultant team who prepared the –Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan for the City of Winnipeg for Armstrong’s Point, they will be starting their tour of the Point at Ralph Connor House, with a 45 minute stop. Guides will be available should any of the 30 participants like a quick tour of the house.

Summer 2019

The Friends of The Ralph Connor House have had a very busy summer with repairs to the house scheduled for July and August. During the house closure in July, the repairs in the Living room and Sunroom were completed. In the second week of August, Oakwood Roofing complet-ed the required repairs to our roof. There are still repairs needed, as there is water damage to several rooms on the second floor. The work is ongoing, and we are hopeful that these repairs will be completed in the near future.

We had some excitement in June, on the 17th - CTV Morning Live did a segment on Ralph Connor House for Tourist in My Town , with Rahim Ladhani. It aired on June 26th. A big Thank You to Irene Legg who was the tour guide and did an amazing job of giving a con-densed history and interesting facts about our beautiful house. The segment can be viewed on the CTV Morning Live website at Tourist in My Town https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1716142

June 2019

The Friends of The Ralph Connor House are heading into a busy time with the priority repairs required to the house. We are still awaiting the appraisal for the roof, but should have it shortly. There will also be repairs scheduled for the first two weeks in July when the house is closed.

A heartfelt "Thank You" to all the volunteers who worked on Saturday, May 25th for Doors Open, your dedication is greatly appreciated. There were 250 guests that enjoyed the tour of our beautiful house.

We welcome new Board member Sue Bishop representing UWC and a very special thank you to Margaret Cuddy who served admirably as the UWC liaison.

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 19 at 1:00. ALL ARE WEL-COME !! Please come and join us.
The Friends of The Ralph Connor House Board wish everyone a safe and relaxing summer !!

May 2019

The Friends of The Ralph Connor House Board will soon be moving forward with some of the priority repairs the house requires.

We are very pleased to be participating in Doors Open Winnipeg again this year.
Ralph Connor House Tours will be Saturday, May 25th from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm (last tour at 3:30).

Again this year, the Armstrong’s Point Association will have a display in our lower level during the tour. We are looking for our wonderful volunteers to again help us showcase the beautiful Ralph Connor House. Lunch will be provided for volunteers by FRCH from 12:00 - 2:00.

Please sign up for a shift or two - sign up sheets are available at the house in the reservations book on the main hall table. Thank you so much for your support.

April 2019

Good news everyone, the Riverbank Stabilization has now been completed !! The Friends of the Ralph Connor House are heading into a very busy spring. Working together with UWC, we will be dealing with the upcoming priority repairs required in the house.

Be sure to check your May Bulletin for information on Doors Open Winnipeg.
Happy Spring ! from the Board of the Friends of the Ralph Connor House.

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.