In 1882 the Osborne Street Bridge was built over the Assiniboine River. This opened up access to St Boniface West (now known as the River-Osborne Neighbourhood).
In typical human fashion it was the rich who took advantage of this and crossed the bridge to build fashionable mansions. As the 20th century began, though, a new form of construction was beginning to compete with the mansions: the apartment building.
Unlike the concrete and glass monstrosities that we construct now the original apartment buildings were low rise and filled with large and generally lavish suites.
The Roslyn Court Apartments were built in 1909 at a cost of $205,000 ($6,740,000 in 2023 dollars) making it the most expensive residential building ever built in Winnipeg at that time. It was built in Queen Anne style – which would later guarantee it’s position as a heritage site – and of stone and concrete (due to building codes stating it had to be fireproof).
Many of Manitoba’s elite and famous have lived in this building including Lady Macdonald widow of Hugh John Macdonald a former Premier of Manitoba and son of Canada’s first Prime Minister and Dr Olive Cole the city’s first female dentist.
The design of the building is said to be a labyrinth of hallways combined with some unique apartment designs. Most apartments are massive suites with 2 or 3 bedrooms but there are a couple of tiny 1 bedroom apartments only 350 square feet albeit with 12 foot ceilings.
A large – six to seven foot tall – dark figure is seen stomping around the hallways, people’s apartments and in the laundry room. The figure has even chased people through the halls.
Many people believe this to be the ghost of the architect, William Wallace Blair, who is said to have gone insane while designing this building.
This shadow figure/apparition – unlike most similar phenomena – is said to appear quite frequently and most tenants in the last 50 years have at least 1 story regarding it. Whether they’ll admit that or not is a different story.
Other Reported Activity: unexplained noises; objects moving on their own; lights flickering on and off and feelings of being watched.