It has been a couple of years since the deconstruction of the historic landmark and cherished home of the YWCA Brandon and the Westman Women's Shelter, known as Meredith Place at 148-11th Street in the heart of Brandon.

A burst water pipe and significant water damage determined the decision to deconstruct and redevelop the century old building site.

YWCA Brandon's Executive Director, Lois Ruston, says the proposed redevelopment involved a meticulous process of salvaging key architectural elements, such as the masonry on the exterior, more specifically the red bricks, Tyndall stone and limestone.  Ruston says these pieces are being carefully preserved and will be integrated into the design of the new transitional housing facility that will be constructed at this same location.

What remains an integral piece of the history of Meredith Place is story of the man behind the name.  

Born in Ireland in 1844, Henry Meredith came to Canada in the early 1870s and worked in a wholesale dry goods warehouse in Toronto for ten years.  In 1883 he travelled to Manitoba, settling in Brandon, where for the next ten years he operated a general store in partnership with his nephew, eventually establishing the general agency and brokerage business of H. Meredith and Company on the corner of 6th Street and Rosser Avenue.

Henry Meredith was a stockholder in the Great West Life Assurance Company and the Canada Life Assurance Company and owned close to 3,000 acres of farmland in western Manitoba.  He was a Director of the Brandon General Hospital and its President in 1903.  

Henry was a generous benefactor, and his legacy lives on. 

'His foresight and benevolence demonstrated through a significant financial contribution, enabled the establishment of a transitional housing facility for vulnerable members of society. The YWCA plans to commemorate his spirit and commitment to the new facility, ensuring that his legacy endures through the ages,' states the Brandon YWCA website.

"We are just finalizing funding to determine the pre-development work on the new facility," explains Lois Ruston, "and ideally by September we'll be putting out a call for proposals for a consulting company to work with us to determine exactly what that new building should be. So, we know a lot of the basics that we want to include but of course, there is housing funding available and there's a number of other things that we make sure to consider."

"So, hopefully in the Fall we will begin the process to retain a consulting company to help us determine the feasibility, what it should look like, what it should include, who we can house, who we should partner with, what makes sense from that perspective," she continues, "and then we would have a conceptual design that would be the foundation of our new facility."

Ruston says it's many years in the making however they know from the service they provide now in the community of Westman as a whole, the number of clients they support, they know it is absolutely necessary to continue the process.  "We are committed to partnering and aligning with many different agencies and organizations and levels of government to make it happen."

"The new facility will be built on 11th Street, at the former location where Meredith Place was on 11th Street and right in the heart of beautiful downtown Brandon which is another positive in this project," she adds.