784 Wolseley Avenue (formerly 55 Woodrow Place), known as Villa Rosa, was constructed in 1964-65 as a prenatal and postnatal residence for mothers. The facility replaced an earlier Villa Rosa space at 27-31 Sherbrook Street. Both residences were operated by the Sisters of the Misericorde, who had administered such a home in Winnipeg since 1898. In 1963 the Winnipeg Free Press described the role of local institutions such as Villa Rosa as such: "For the unwed mother, the maternity home offers uncritical treatment, emotional support, a chance at community living, a home atmosphere. But more important, it offers a shield from the damnation of society."
The current Villa Rosa was built to house 30 patients, an increase from the 19 who were able to reside at the previous location. The building's facilities were described at the time of construction as: a "resdence for unmarried mothers, classrooms for rehabilitation programs, a clinic, reception and administration offices, a chapel, and bedrooms and community rooms for the three nuns who will operate the home." The building's construction cost approximately $460,000, with at least $100,000 paid by the Knights of Columbus Winnipeg Council and a $40,000 provincial grant.
Villa Rosa was deliberately designed to present a residential appearance. To achieve this aim, its architects, Libling Michener and Associates created a set-back one-storey structure dominated by a low and wide Dutch gable roof with deep overhanging eaves. This gesture lends the building a Prairie-style architectural sense, echoing the work of architects such as the American Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Brick cladding
- Residential appearance
- Hipped roof
- Deep overhanging eaves