Mention Dr. Errol Billinkoff and many Winnipeggers will recognize his name. With a 30-year practice exclusively focused on performing vasectomies, scores of families have placed their trust in his steady hands.
While his proficiency in this area is well-known, before medicine became his focus, architecture was his first love. He considered becoming an architect, but medicine was the “easier” of the two to get into.
Meanwhile, his interest in architecture remained. He chose to locate his offices in the Exchange District at 93 Lombard East after feeling a connection to the building from his very first visit.
“They were really advanced in their thinking,” he said of the minds behind the building’s renovation, one of the earlier transformations in the Exchange. He said the building’s features, including unique brickwork and open walkways prove to be a welcome distraction for nervous patients.
Plumbing the Past
The Crane and Ordway Building was built between 1906 and 1911, and was associated for many decades with the Chicago-based manufacturer of pipes, valves and steam supplies. The warehouse was designed by local architect John H.G. Russell, with brick exterior walls and stone accents.
In 1975-76, the building was converted into modern office space. According to the City of Winnipeg’s Historical Buildings & Resources Committee research, an article in the Winnipeg Free Press at the time featured University of Manitoba architecture professor William Thompson discussing the then-new idea of reusing old buildings in Winnipeg’s warehouse district, describing such conversion projects as making sound business and cultural sense. The same article also discussed preliminary plans for what would become Old Market Square.
Dr. Billinkoff recently reconnected with architecture with an ambitious pursuit. In January, he and co-founder Nicole Smith launched the new Art, Architecture, Design Film Festival at Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto.
Early on, he was inspired by Winnipeg’s Architecture + Design Film Festival (A+DFF), attending since the first years of the nine-year-old festival. He also helped bring architecture films to Winnipeg by sponsoring the The Morley Blankstein Architecture Film Series at Rady JCC.
Dr. Billinkoff, who splits his time between Toronto and his practice in Winnipeg, decided to organize a festival there after brainstorming the idea with Smith. In April of last year they established a partnership with Hot Dogs in order to present the festival.
“It’s like film festival fantasy camp,” said Dr. Billinkoff of the opportunity. In under a year, they selected the 11-film lineup and organized guest speakers for question-and-answer sessions.
Ultimately, the festival was a way for Dr. Billinkoff to share his interest with others. “I thought, these are films I love so much, others will love them too.”