During the economic boom that followed the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railroad in Manitoba, the Manitoba Legislative Building was constructed. Completed in 1920, the Beaux-Arts Classical structure presides over Broadway in downtown Winnipeg. The apex of the building is the Rotunda, an awe-inspiring dome that soars above the Pool of the Black Star and provides the base for the iconic Golden Boy.
The Rotunda features high semicircular walls enriched with detailed plasterwork, columns, entablature, large, rounded arches, and marble balustrades. Architect Frank Worthington Simon designed the Rotunda to make people feel “uncompromisingly severe,” and he achieved this effect with austere Tyndall Stone, sumptuous marble, and a grandeur that echoes the domed architecture of Europe.
With 60 years since its last rehabilitation, the Rotunda needed a new lighting system, plaster and woodwork repairs, and new paint. Options to provide adequate lighting without impacting heritage features were considered, and an innovative solution that preserves the character of the dome was developed. Before construction began, careful planning and safeguarding ensured that the Rotunda's century-old finishes were protected. Plasterwork was painstakingly repaired, and deteriorated wood trim and framing around the central oculus window were replaced with new pieces that matched the original materials and profile.
To pay homage to the original design intent, an airy colour palette was selected. The understated cream and seafoam green allow plasterwork details to shine and provide a sense of grandeur appropriate for the pinnacle of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Photography by Stationpoint Photographic.