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It’s possible someone could have a piece of history in Portage la Prairie, Man., as the home of Canada’s ninth prime minister is on the market – completely restored to its original appearance.
The house, located at 131 Dufferin Avenue East, once belonged to Arthur Meighen, who was prime minister on two separate occasions, from 1920 to 1921 and in 1926 from June to September.
Eric Vieweg is the current owner and since 1993, when he and his family bought the house, he has been working to restore its natural look.
“It was completely abandoned, it was divided into apartments. It was really rundown … it looked like a very abandoned building,” Vieweg said. “But the price was very reasonable and at the time, I was young and stupid and I think I thought, we can fix it.”
Prior to becoming an accountant, Vieweg was a cabinetmaker and those skills helped him restore most homes to their original materials. What he couldn’t save, he replaced, made him look the same as before.
He said he was inspired to bring the house back to life after receiving photos of the house and what it looked like in the 1920s.
“It looked so different to what it looked, at the time, in the late 90s… but to see the house as it was in the 20s was an inspiration. It made me realize, ‘Oh, instead of doing a reno , let’s get back to how it looks.'”
He said the front of the main level is completely 1920’s original. If areas such as the kitchen need upgrading – such as removing a large wood stove – Vieweg still makes it fit for the right era with modern amenities.
The house also features an original cast iron tub in the bathroom.
“So the prime minister is going to bathe in that tub. So that’s pretty cool.”
The restoration allowed Vieweg to continue to flex its creative muscles, to the point where its workstation has been in the living room for over 10 years.
“I’m going home and it’s my release, my stress release, my fix for creativity. So it’s a good balance, and I think that’s what keeps me going.”
He added the house cost a lot of money, but he was proud of the work he had done.
Now, the house is listed for $449,500, and Vieweg says it’s bittersweet to move from a home that has cost so much time and effort.
“That’s great, you know. We never get bored, but yeah, the chapter in my life is over.”
Vieweg hopes a family buys the house, saying it has many bedrooms and he feels it should be enjoyed by a family.
Regarding the next chapter of Vieweg’s life, now that his job is done and he is retired, he said that he plans to get on a sailboat and sail around the Caribbean with his partner.