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And Community Buildings

To some extent, "communities just happen". But for the most part, building a strong vibrant community requires vision, dedication and hard work.   There must be balance between family dwelling space, opportunities for employment, and places for social togetherness and interaction. Rights of the property owner must be weighed against larger social needs such as assisted multi-family housing. Political will and direction is oftentimes required to achieve a compromise result. (Sometimes planning a community can arise out of catastrophe.)

The community planner, the transportation engineer, the politician, the ratepayer, the architect and many others must cooperate to plan and negotiate the size, location, design and accessibility of community buildings -- the churches, government offices, factories, warehouses, schools and other structures which foster socio-economic and political progress.

The following notes regarding one of Winnipeg's most prominent architects were kindly sent by the Architecture and Fine Arts Library at the University of Manitoba. (In the first article, the surname is erroneously spelled "McGowan".)

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #11

Mr. Hugh McCowan was born of Scottish parents near the city of St. Thomas, Ont. After having learned the trade of carpenter and stairbuilder, he removed to Flint, Mich., where he studied architecture and sanitary engineering, particularly those branches which should form part of the education of an architect, viz. heating, plumbing and ventilation. Having lost his health through overwork, Mr. McCowan emigrated to the Canadian Northwest in the hope of being benefitted by the change of climate. Soon after arriving there he opened an office for the practice of architecture in Winnipeg, of which city he has now been a resident for sixteen years. Mr. McCowan has succesfully carried out commissions for the Provincial Government of Manitoba, the Winnipeg and Morden School Boards, as well as many private citizens, and is architect for the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg General Hospital.



Death of Hugh McCowan of Winnipeg

One of the pioneer citizens of Winnipeg, and a leading figure in architectural work, pased away recently in the person of Hugh McCowan, highly respected and well known by nearly all of the old-timers. His death came suddenly and was a great shock to a large circle of friends who regarded him with the highest esteem. Probably there was no architect in Winnipeg whose name was closer linked with the development and growth of Winnipeg than the late Mr. McCowan. He was born at Wardsville, Ont. 67 years ago and went to Winnipeg about thirty years ago. Since that time he had resided there continuously. He engaged in the contracting business for several years and was highly successful... natural ability drew him into the architectural work and in this branch he encountered unusual success. He was always considered one of the leading architects and his opinion was looked upon as being extremely valuable. Among the buildings which he supervised were the jubilee wing of the general hospital, the Collegiate Institute, the Henderson block on Princess street, the Stovel block and the Baptist college at Brandon. For many years he purued his calling alone, but later he formed a partnership with C.H. Walker, now of Hooper & Walker. About four years ago the partnership was dissolved, and since then Mr. McCowan had practically ceased active work. Mr. McCowan was a subscriber to The Architect and Builder for over fifteen years and a frequent visitor at the Winnipeg office.

April 1908

The McCowans' Who's Who, Vol. 11