Historic Hospitality Historic Hospitality – Winnipeg Free Press
There is a place 45 minutes from downtown Winnipeg where history is reclaimed, nurtured and preserved. As you ascend the tree-lined lane, you find a haven of tranquility nestled in a nature refuge.
The Thomas Bunn House Bed and Breakfast, at 103 Bunns Road in St. Clements on the Red River, was built in 1862. Thomas Bunn was a Métis farmer who served in Louis Riel’s government and became one of the first provincial legislators.
Owned and operated by Bev and Fraser Stewart, the heritage home and surroundings offer the opportunity to experience closeness to nature and a connection to the past.
??It improves our quality of life, gives a unique aspect to our life, annual goals to achieve and the opportunity to meet many new and interesting people,?? said Fraser.
Rather than tearing down and disposing of, the Stewarts have spent their lives showcasing and sharing the area’s history. Old barns, sheds and fences, a windmill, a hand-pumped well and a host of historical artifacts adorn the green space surrounding the heritage home in a secluded spot along the Red River.
Bev, 78, a retired nurse from Morris, has spent her career at Selkirk General Hospital in various nursing roles, including management. Fraser, 84, grew up in River Heights and had a career as a professional agronomist working with farmers on the development of sustainable forage and grassland systems in Manitoba.
Married since 1965, the couple have three children and six grandchildren and live in their own home on the spot. They believe in providing good old-fashioned hospitality and can be happy to show the place around or let them discover themselves.
??As a family, we feel the importance of sharing this treasure with other Manitobans. The B&B system allows people interested in the heritage of this region to visit and experience or discover this part of our heritage. There are many artifacts from the region in the house and property, there is a library of interesting heritage material, and a visit will teach some of the ancient history of our province,?? adds Fraser.
Upon entering the Thomas Bunn House, one sees a living museum. The charming stone house has been around for over 150 years and was designated a heritage site by the Province of Manitoba in 1992.
Although guests come from all over the world, Fraser says most visitors come from Manitoba.
??Many in this time of COVID are looking for a safe and close getaway and since we only have one guest at a time, the house is a perfect choice. It is a perfect location for anglers due to its proximity to the river and we have ample parking for trucks or boats or whatever they need. We have also brought together small groups for retreats or weekends of writing or quilting. Once they’ve spent some time, they often come back. Many also appreciate the heritage aspects.??
This self-catering B&B offers breakfast in the fully equipped kitchen. Travelers have the whole house to themselves for the duration of their stay. There is a dock for those who enjoy fishing and nearby boat launch facilities for canoeing and other watercraft. Guided tours can be arranged and local trails can be used for hiking, biking and snowmobiling. Pets are welcome as long as they are controlled.
The Stewart family has spent years maintaining the building and property for future generations. Down to the smallest detail, it’s a reminder that we are rooted in nature and in history.
Saint-Boniface Community Correspondent
Janine LeGal is a community correspondent in Saint-Boniface and also writes the column These old houses for our Community Houses section.
Read the full biography