A house that was once home to the only prime minister to ever come out of Manitoba is up for sale after being fully resorted to what it looked when it was in possession of Arthur Meighen.
Before taking a look at the house he used to occupy, we first must understand who Arthur Meighen was and his time as a politician.
Although born in St Mary's, Ontario, in 1874, Meighen moved to Winnipeg to study law before coming to Portage la Prairie in 1902.
Meighen was first elected as the Liberal-Conservative MP for Portage in 1908, winning re-election in 1911, 1913, and 1917.
He also had two separate brief tenures as the leader of Canada. The first stint began on July 10th, 1920, after the 8th prime minister of Canada, Robert Borden, resigned from the role, and William Thomas White declined the Governor General's invitation to be appointed prime minister, leaving Meighen as the second choice. However, Meighen was only in power for a very short time, as he and his government was taken down in the 1921 General Election by the Liberals and William Lyon Mackenzie King.
From there, Meighen and his party would be the official opposition until the 1925 General Election when his party, now renamed the Conservative Party of Canada, won the popular vote, but were just eight seats short of a majority, allowing King and the Liberals to hold onto power by teaming up with the Progressive Party. However, in a bizarre turn of events in 1926, a scandal was revealed in the Customs Department, which led the Governor General, Lord Byng, to dissolve parliament and call an election.
During the time in-between the election and the government being dissolved, Meighen again was appointed prime minister, this time from June to September of 1926, before losing to King in the General Election as the Liberals re-took power.
As we hit the fast forward button and get back to 2022, the house, located at 131 Dufferin Avenue, is believed to have been built in the late 1890s and was occupied by Arthur Meighen while being the MP for Portage from 1908 - 1915.
Eric Vieweg, who has owned the house and lived in Portage since 1993, says he is ready to sell the place after putting in an unmeasurable amount of time restoring to the state of how it was when Meighen lived there.
"I was working in Portage, this house came up on the market, and it was actually my wife who said, 'Oh, we should buy it!' And I was like, 'No.' But we bought it. It was good, it's a nice big house, good for the kids, lots of room to run around and a big yard."
Vieweg says that during his journey of restoring the house, he has put in 49,000 layers of paint, and while there's not too much left of the original house, there are a few details.
"The floor is original. The stained glass, that's all original. But of course, it was all rewired, gyproc and insulated. There was no insulation when we moved in in late 1993, and January '94 and February '94 were super cold, super cold months. I'd put a glass of water on the window sill, and it would be frozen by morning. It was unbelievably cold. The first heat bill was, I think, $700 for a month of heating. So, it was brutal."
Vieweg talks about the first memory he has of the house.
"When I saw the house, there was an article in the paper that the city was trying to buy it to turn it into a museum. I didn't even know who Arthur Meighen was, right? I had no idea. But then you do a bit of research on it, and it is kind of cool to be living in his house, like the bathtub upstairs is a cast iron bathtub, and it's the original. So, he actually would lay in the bathtub," says Vieweg. "It's kind of cool because when you read online when he was elected (MP), it was during prohibition, and his wife had lemonade on the front porch for the town to drink."
Vieweg shares that he hasn't heard from the city about buying the house since it's been on the market this time around but he says he hopes that whoever takes over ownership of the home keeps it the way it is.
"It was a lot of work, and it was one of that things at first where I was just trying to save on the heat bills, and then I got really, stupidly into the details. It would be a shame if somebody came in and divided it up into apartments, or neglected it. A house like this needs some maintenance."
Vieweg says he finished a list of restorations he had toward the house before putting it on the market.
"I had a list of things that we had to do before we put it on the market, and that list is not even done yet. I have to put door knobs on the door. So, someone asked me, 'When did I think it was done?' I'm satisfied, so I'm done."
The current owner of 131 Dufferin Ave, Vieweg, just recently retired as an accountant, but once upon a time he was a cabinetmaker and carpenter before transitioning to an office job. He says that the house was a perfect opportunity to let his creativity loose.
Vieweg mentions that selling the house is bittersweet and he will miss it, but he is ready to move on and sail the Caribbean with his partner.
According to a CTV article earlier this month, the home is listed for sale at $449,500.
In 2010, the house was honoured as a Memorable Manitoban Home, making the list of only 10 throughout the province.