On July 16, 1874 ten men met at the St. James Restaurant in Winnipeg to organize a club. A club where the new city’s leaders could meet, plan its future then relax and enjoy the finest food, drink and company the fledgling boom town could provide. One month later, Manitoba Club was incorporated, becoming Western Canada’s first private club.
The purpose of Manitoba Club was and remains to provide business and professional leaders a place to meet and entertain guests in an environment of unparalleled personal service. Although our basic purpose has not changed over the years, our method of achieving our goal has undergone change. The club has implemented—and will continue to implement—changes that are designed to ensure that the club remains relevant to today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. Today, membership to Manitoba Club is based upon the approval of the Board of Governors and is open to individuals regardless of their national origin, occupation, race, religion or gender identification.
The club was once known as “the famous Manitoba Club” across Canada and throughout the northern United States. Its rooms have known many dignitaries and community leaders past and present—a testament to the impeccable service and unwavering quality of its food and beverage offerings. Manitoba Club was recently honoured by being included as a Platinum Clubs of the World “Five Star Clubs of Excellence” Top 100 City Club.
The first clubhouse was founded in a rented building which burned to ashes in February 1875 when Winnipeg’s first steam fire engine, on its inaugural run, failed to get there in time. Within six weeks, our intrepid founders found new quarters and a billiards table. The temporary quarters served the club for six glorious years. The third clubhouse was owned by the club and located on Garry Street.
In November 1902, three lots were purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company at a cost of $8,000. A deposit of $500 was required. The East wing was not part of the original 194 Broadway building, and was later added in 1909. The clubhouse has five floors and covers 55,000 square feet. 194 Broadway was officially opened by His Excellency, The Governor General, Earl Grey on October 10, 1905.
The second-floor Galleria features tall ceilings adorned with crystal chandeliers, original works of art and ornate crown molding which set the atmosphere of grandeur. It is centered around the Grand Staircase and Jubilee stained-glass window.
The Oak Room is the club's most historic setting, unchanged in over 100 years. It boasts quarter-sawn oak paneling, a 16-foot tresseled ceiling and soaring views of the Upper Fort Garry Provincial Park and Bonnycastle Garden.
The Billiards Lounge remains virtually unchanged since its inception in the early 1900s with six antique regulation-size snooker tables which are in regular use today. Above the oak wall paneling are portraits of Manitoba Club's past presidents, dating back to 1874.
Over time, the club has acquired several art pieces and artefacts to add to its collection. A select number of pieces may be viewed by members and guests throughout the club house including fine art paintings, portraits of prominent community members, historic prints, stained glass and sculpture.
The Jubilee Window was originally acquired during the club presidency of Sir Hugh J. MacDonald to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1837-1897). Subscriptions were taken from members in 1887 to cover the cost, and it was installed in the Garry Street clubhouse in 1889. It was moved to 194 Broadway on June 9, 1904, and provisions were made to ensure its place of prominence at the top of the Grand Staircase.
The club's collection will continue to evolve to ensure that the club remains relevant to today’s and tomorrow’s leaders and their guests.