Beyond the Strip: A look inside Winnipeg’s Manwin Hotel

On a cold day in March, Barb Guimond and Vivian Ketchum take APTN Investigates inside the Manwin Hotel during one of their many visits.

“I forgot my flashlight,” Guimond said as she entered the dark foyer of the Manwin Hotel. “It’s still the same as last time we were here, Viv.”

The Manwin, on Winnipeg’s Main St. strip, has been a hub for drugs and violence. It was the scene of two homicides in the last year.

Guimond and Ketchum keep tabs on the condition of the hotel and the people living in it. The majority are Indigenous people.

Past the dark entrance was an even darker, creaky stairwell that leads to a long hallway.

The floor was spongy and littered with drug paraphernalia

Windows were missing.

Doors were missing on washroom stalls.

And the baseboard heaters were broken.

“The last time we came we asked one of the guys and they said they were bunched up in one room for body heat,” Guimond said.

“It’s very disheartening watching our people live like this.”

For almost a year, Barb Guimond has been calling for the Manwin Hotel to be shutdown. Photo: Tamara Pimentel/APTN.

We met Nilus Bruce in the hallway. He visits the Manwin daily to visit his brother who rents a room.

The single room, one bath, no kitchen suite costs him $600 per month, paid through the provincial government’s Employment and Income Assistance program.

His toilet is backed up.

A pitchfork holds the bathtub tap against the wall.

He sleeps on the floor next to a wheelchair even though the Manwin isn’t wheelchair accessible.

It’s a last resort.

Before the Manwin, Nilus’s brother lived in an apartment that was evacuated due to a fire, leaving him on the streets.

“I’m worried about his safety,” Nilus said. “There’s some people that don’t even make it out of here.”

The body of Treymaine Traverse, 33, was discovered in a room at the Manwin in March 2023.

Treymaine Traverse, left, was found dead at the Manwin Hotel. Photo: submitted

He was a member of the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation and moved back and forth between Winnipeg and his home community 12 hours north of the city.

A lack of housing on reserve kept sending him back to Main St. and eventually led to an addiction.

“The reason why he ended up out there was because there’s no housing back home,” said his sister Olga Traverse. “The Manwin is the top, number one that should be looked into, investigated.”

Winnipeg Police deemed Treymaine’s death a homicide.

More than a year later, the investigation is ongoing leaving Olga and her family without closure.

“Nobody should have to live in those conditions. It breaks my heart to see that,” she said. “He didn’t just die in there. He wanted, he wanted people to know what it was like to be there.”

For almost a year, Guimond has been calling for the Manwin to be shut down due to its unlivable conditions.

Read More: 

Advocates say Manwin Hotel in Winnipeg needs to be shuttered 

According to Manitoba Health, inspections have been done.

In an email to APTN Investigates, a spokesperson for the ministry said one was done in October following a protest Guimond organized.

“It was determined the owner did not comply with a notice to repair issued on Aug. 30, 2023,” the email read. “The Health Protection Unit escalated matters to ensure the notice to repair was addressed in a timely manner.”

The repair order included:

Doors to washrooms with privacy locks;

Toilets and showers repairs;

Repair of leaking pipes;

Engaging in the services of a pest control company to mitigate the pest activity throughout the building;

Repair holes in walls throughout the building; and

Install ventilation in washrooms to remove excess moisture to prevent mould growth.

As of November, the Health Protection Unit confirmed that the owner had completed all necessary repairs. But many of those issues were visible during our visit in March, 2024.

“The government really needs to step up for our people,” Guimond said. “

“We are, after all, on Turtle Island.”

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