Wednesday, September 29, 2021

2 Point Douglas Avenue - Office Building and Industrial Site (R.I.P.)

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Building Products of Canada / Gateway Soap and Chemical building
Address: 2 Point Douglas Avenue (Map)
Constructed: Various years


The paper mill. November 12, 1940, Winnipeg Tribune

Building Products Ltd., a division of Imperial Oil of Montreal, first entered the Winnipeg market in 1934 when it purchased a shingle manufacturing factory on Midland Avenue. Two years later, it added an insulated brick and shingle siding plant to the site. The facility served the entire Western Canadian market.

In April 1940, the company's western manager, H. E. Pringle, announced that it purchased 6.25 acres of city land on Point Douglas Avenue at the Red River for $3,600. On it, they would build a $250,000 paper mill and insulation board manufacturing plant.

The building, designed by Alex Melville of the fire hall Melville brothers and built by Beaver Construction Co. of Winnipeg, officially opened on November 12, 1940, by Lieutenant-Governor R. F. McWilliams, Premier Bracken, mayor John Queen of Winnipeg, and various members of the local business community.

The land, surrounded on two sides by the river and another by the CPR's main line, created a perfect manufacturing site with quick waste disposal into the water and direct rail service through a couple of spur lines.


The paper mill and shingle plant in 1949

With additional land purchases, the site grew to 8.5 acres and in October 1941 the company began construction of a new shingle manufacturing plant to replace the one on Midland Avenue.

The 45,000 square foot addition included a small office building and was designed by the company's engineers in cooperation with Green Blankstein Russell Ham architects of Winnipeg. It was built by Beaver Construction of Winnipeg at a cost of about $60,000.

By 1949, Building Materials Ltd. had 250 employees in Winnipeg.


January 16, 1971, Winnipeg Tribune

Through the 1960s a new era of environmental awareness had dawned. Manufacturing plants across the province had to get a "license to pollute" from the newly created Clean Environment Commission of Manitoba. Building Products Limited's turn came in January 1971.

It was a relief to some as there were complaints going back as far as the 1950s that the company dumped its waste material on the bank of the river and burnt it.

A 1974 correspondence from the Clean Environment Commission described the operation as still being  used as "a paper mill, roofing mill, and asphalt storage."


October 17, 1974, Winnipeg Tribune

The nature of the manufacturing done on this site meant mishaps did happen.

There were a few fires. One in 1956 injured two firefighters when waste paper caught fire and burned out of control. Another fire inside the plant in October 1974 destroyed 200 tons of paper.

There were also couple of industrial accidents involving workers.


January 28, 1983, Winnipeg Free Press

The recession and resulting slowdown in building activity in the 1980s caught up with the plant.

In January 1983, Building Products' head office in Montreal announced that the shingle plant would close on March 31st putting 39 people out of work. By the end of the year, the paper mill with its 59 employees would follow.


April 29, 1969, Winnipeg Free Press

In November 1984, Sheldon Blank, president of Gateway Industries and vice president of Gateway Packers, announced that the company had purchased the site from Building Materials Ltd.. Calling it a "unique facility", Blank wanted to use it to increase the company's manufacturing footprint and in the process keep most, if not all, of the jobs.

Gateway Packers started out in the 1950s as a meat packing plant in St. Boniface owned by Archie Blank. In the 1960s, it created a waste paper division which eventually became its sole focus.

Gateway Soap and Chemicals seems to have been established in the early 1980s and manufactured soap, industrial chemicals, and cosmetic products such as shampoo.

Gateway did keep the paper mill operating as a paper recycling facility and employed about 60 people. A 1993 Free Press story said took in about 30,000 tonnes of used paper a year and turned it into 1,000 tonnes of roofing felt and other products.

In 2008, the nearly forgotten industrial site received a great deal of attention when South Point Douglas was named as a potential site for a new 40,000 seat football stadium. Though the proposal did not include the Gateway property, it was expected that it could become the home of new housing, retail, and transportation developments if the stadium was built adjacent to it.

In the end, the stadium was built on the University of Manitoba campus.


Site in 2012 (C. Cassidy)

By the 2000s, the paper mill had closed and the property was the scene of numerous fires. The largest took place in October 2011 which caused $1.5 million in damage and destroyed the mill and numerous outbuildings. (For fire photos.) By that time, only about ten people worked there making soap and shampoo.

Another fire in 2014 caused $100,000 in damage.

On September 28, 2021, another large fire destroyed the 25,000-square-foot warehouse building on the site and took days to extinguish.

According to the Gateway Industries website, it still made soap but was "currently liquidating assets."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

902 Home Street - James B. Brown Block

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: James B. Brown Block
Address: 902 Home Street (Map)
Constructed: 1912
Architect: Edward Prain
Contractor: Claydon Bros.


January 12, 1900, Winnipeg Tribune

This building was constructed for the James B. Brown Printing Company in 1912.

James Brunless Brown was born in Scotland in 1876 and sent to live with an uncle in Newfoundland  . when he was a young teen. His family soon joined them and eventually relocated to Winnipeg.

Brown began working as a printer for the Manitoba Free Press and in 1899 started his own print shop on Notre Dame Avenue.


Garry Street building. November 14, 1903, Winnipeg Free Press

Business must have been good as Brown had a new building constructed in 1903 at 323 – 327 Garry Street between Portage and Ellice, (now demolished). It housed his print shop and stationery store plus two additional retail units on the main floor with two floors of residential suites above.  

Brown initially lived above the Garry Street shop with Ontario-born wife, Harriet, and children, Grace born ca. 1902, and Ralph born ca. 1904.  In 1907 they moved to a new house at 27 Dundurn Place.


July 26, 1928, Winnipeg Tribune

Ralph Brown graduated from Kelvin High School where he was a track and field star and was attending the faculty of engineering at the University of Manitoba when he died in a plane crash on July 23, 1928, at the age of 25.

Interested in airplanes, Brown was a pilot cadet with the RCAF on a summer training exercise at Camp Borden, Ontario. Just days after receiving his pilot's licence he flew over the resort community of Wasaga Beach and dropped a note from his plane to his fiancee. Witnesses said he may have been doing some stunt flying when it appears he hit an air pocket and was driven down into the treetops. His plane was destroyed and his body badly mangled.

Brown received a full military funeral back in Winnipeg on July 30, 1928, and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. (He is not the same Ralph Brown for whom the school is named after.)


November 9, 1912, Winnipeg Free Press

Brown's company did not advertise much as it was mainly a commercial printer of catalogues, directories, and booklets.

Business continued to thrive and in 1912 Brown commissioned another building, this one on Home Street near Notre Dame Avenue, to act as his warehouse and printing plant. He kept the Graham Avenue location as his stationery shop and downtown order centre.

The three-storey brick building was designed by Edgar Prain.

Born and educated in Scotland, Prain came to Winnipeg in 1908 and initially worked in partnership with another architect. This was one of his first commercial commissions under his own name. In a career spanning 40+ years, he designed dozens of buildings, mostly apartment blocks, around the city.


April 6, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

Like the Garry Street property, this building was much larger than Brown needed so that he could rent out space. Companies that also called 902 Home Street home in those early years included Ideal Knitwear, Hughes Electric Heating Company, Banfield Furniture, and the Radford Hat Manufacturing Company.

Hughes was probably the best known of the early tenants. Based in Toronto, this was its western Canadian plant. It built stoves, ranges, bake ovens, water heaters, car heaters, and furnaces sold at retailers across the West.

By the late 1920s, the building's additional space was home to the Northwest Chemical Company, makers of White Dove food extracts, and the Electric Heating Co. Ltd., which manufactured Red Seal brand hot water heaters, car heaters, and furnaces. There was also an antique furniture shop called Alty's.


January 15, 1934, Winnipeg Tribune

The building was advertised for sale in 1934. This may have been due to the Depression taking its toll on the printing industry or Brown, now 58, was downsizing as he got near retirement age. The building sold and for a number of years the James B. Brown Printing Co. carried on from its Garry Street address.

The year after the sale of the building its tenants included Monarch Machinery Co., the Electric Heating and Manufacturing Co, and Imperial Casket. By the end of the decades, the lineup is the Electric Heating and Manufacturing Co., M. Abramson, a long-time furrier who ran a fur repair and remodelling business, North Star Printing, and a social club.

The Assiniboine Club held regular whist drives, bingos, and other social events in their hall at the James B. Brown Block.

The morality squad of the Winnipeg Police raided a couple of halls, the Roseland Dance Gardens on Kennedy Street and the Assiniboine Club, on April 12, 1938, for hosting bingo games. A bylaw change the previous month made private bingos offering cash prizes into illegal lotteries.

After the raid at 902 Home Street, 300 or so "bingo addicts" were sent home and the bingo equipment was seized. Casare Sellan, a tailor who lived on Elgin Street and operated a tailor shop in the building, was fined $25 for operating an illegal gaming house. (In some articles he is identified as the owner of the building.)

Months later, the club re-branded itself as the "Me-O-My Club" and initially went back to having regular whist drives which were okay under the bylaw.

In December 1941, the club and Sellan hosted a series of five bingo nights in association with local charities including the Country Mission at Sandy Hook and the Ladies Auxiliary of C Battery of the Royal Canadian Horse. He may have convinced himself and these organizations that by joining together it would be a way around the private bingo bylaw, but he was wrong.

Later that month, he was arrested and charged with keeping a gaming house and operating a lottery. He plead guilty and paid a $50 fine. In April 1942, Sellan was fined $75 for hosting a bingo at Patterson Stables on Keewatin Street. A final charge for operating a gaming house at 902 Home Street came in November 1943 when John B. Zyrd was fined $96 plus costs.


March 27 1971 WFP

Various businesses operated from the building in the 1960s and 70s. The largest were likely the Lorne Manufacturing Company, makers of Varcon seat cushions and covers, and LaFrance Textiles. From about 1970 to 1975, Tecum Teak Furniture Ltd. operated a retail store from the site.

During this time, Leon A. Brown Co. was the rental agent. It would eventually purchase the building.

Noticeable in the late 1960s through the 1980s was constant advertising for large amounts of space available for lease in the building, usually 6,000 of its 14,000 or so square feet. The building was home to dozens of tenants, from fabric wholesalers to office supply warehouses and even a karate club.

Pine Falls Clothing Company occupied the main floor of the building from about 2000 until it relocated about 2012.

The building sold in 2021. Plans for its redevelopment are unknown.


September 24, 1947, Winnipeg Free Press

As for the man who had the building constructed, James B. Brown died at General Hospital on September 22, 1947. He was survived by his daughter.  His name can still be seen in the "ghost sign" along the north wall of the building.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

573 Mountain Avenue - Mixed Use Building

© 2021, Christian Cassidy


Place: Mixed-use building
Address:
573 Mountain Avenue (Map)
Constructed:
ca. 1911
Builder:
Unknown

It was recently in the news that 573 Mountain Avenue is going to be converted into housing units for Indigenous women and their children by Raising the Roof.

Here's a look back at its history.


1916 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

The early history of this building is tied to Rudolph Alexander Puls and family.

Rudolph and Margaret Puls were Hungarian. They married and had their first child, Otto, in their homeland. In 1905, the family embarked for Canada with daughter Rita (Reda) born at sea. Their two youngest children, Rudy and John, were born in Manitoba. 

The first sign of the Puls in Winnipeg can be found in the 1911 census living at 567 Mountain Avenue. Rudolph's occupation is listed as a butcher.

The 1913 Henderson street directory, which would have been compiled in 1912, shows that the Puls had moved to 573 Mountain Avenue. Rudolph was working for the large meat packing firm Gallagher-Hollman-Lafrance Co.. There are two other Puls, Henry, a CPR conductor, and B.A., a carpenter, also living at this address. They may have been brothers of Rudolph. 

Rudolph opened his own butcher shop and grocery on the main floor of the home in 1913 which was simply called R. Puls, butcher.


573 Mountain April 28, 1917 Tribune

The family continued to live above the store and the children went to Strathcona School where Rita had a couple of her entries published in the Winnipeg Tribune’s young peoples’ page in the mid-19-teens.

As the children grew up and moved on, the family rented out a couple of suites in the home. In the mid-1940s it was to retired couple John and Mary Dyck, and a signwriter for Claude Neon named John Van Dyck.

Margaret Puls is listed as the manager of the butcher shop store starting in 1945. This may have been because Rudolph was sick. He died in January 1946 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

The store continued under Margaret until about 1948. It then disappears from the street directory with no other commercial business listed in that space.

Margaret continued to live at the home with daughter Rita, a clerk at the Fisher and Burpe prosthetics factory on Kennedy Street.

Margaret Puls died in 1959 at the age of 75. Rita continued to live in the house through the early 1960s.


Dr. Anne C. Percheson, U of T yearbook, 1961

The Puls era at 573 Mountain Avenue ended around 1965 when the building became home to the husband-wife doctor team of Anne C. and Paul T. Percheson.

Mr. Percheson specialized in proctology and also had an office at the Winnipeg Clinic. Anne got her B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba and graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto in 1961. They had at least one son, Brian.

The family lived upstairs and their medical practice was on the main floor until the late 1960s. They eventually relocated to Ontario.


The Student, (Ukrainian Canadian Students Union newspaper), December 1977

Dr. William Bohonos purchased the building around 1966 with the thought of it becoming home to the optometrist practice of his son, B. William Bohonos, when he graduated in a few years.

In the meantime he rented space to Dr. Michael Lasko, a 1967 U of M dentistry grad.

In 1972, the building was renovated to hold the practices of both Lasko and Bohonos.

In 1985, Bohonos opened a second office on Lakewood Boulevard and left 573 Mountain Avenue in February 1990.


Dr. Lasko, University of Manitoba yearbook, 1967

Dr. Lasko continued to operate his practice from the building until 2004 then joined a practice in the Garden City area.

Lasko served in many executive capacities with the Manitoba Dental Association, including as registrar. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Dental Association. In 2010, he was co-recipient of the University of Manitoba's Alumni of Distinction award for dentistry.


An online 'for sale' ad for the building in 2003 listed it as a 2,576 square foot property with a second floor residential suite, main floor office, and full basement.

From at least 2005 to 2008 it was the constituency office of M.P. Judy Wasylycia-Leis. It became 9 Leaf Nail and Spa Salon in 2014.

Raising the Roof purchased the building in 2021 and will convert it into three suites of affordable housing. This is the organization's first project outside Ontario.

Related:
Video tour of the renovations Raising the Roof

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

161 Langside Street - Preston Court

© 2021, Christian Cassidy


Place:
Preston Court / Winnebago Apartments / Granton Apartments / Stevens Court / West Broadway Square
Address: 161 Langside Street (Map)
Constructed: 1910
Architect: P. C. (Peter Cornelius) Samwel
Developer: J. E. Wilson


1913 Henderson Directory

Preston Court opened in late 1910 at 161 Langside Street and the intersection of what was then Preston Avenue, (in 1967 it was changed to Sara Avenue.)  

The architect of this 35-unit building was P. C. (Peter Cornelius) Samwel. Born and trained in Holland, after practising for a few years in Amsterdam he came to Winnipeg in 1910 with his wife.

Here, he opened an office in the Builders' Exchange Building on Portage Avenue and they settled on Mulvey Avenue. After about eight years here they relocated to the U.S.A. where he continued to work in Florida and California.


May 18, 1910, Engineering and Contract Record

This appears to have been Samwel's second Winnipeg commission and one of a series of five designed in the spring of 1910 for developer J. C. Wilson. It put Samwel on the map as a designer of apartment blocks and he went on to design around twenty blocks, some for Wilson.

Tenders for the construction of the $100,000 building were advertised in May and the project was built by day labour under Wilson's supervision.

The Winnipeg street directory shows that in the fall of 1910 about 75 per cent of the suites were filled. There were no “grand opening” ads for the building. In fact, there are very few "for rent" ads in its first couple of years. This suggests that the building likely opened in phases and was well received in what was then the newly established and fashionable West Broadway / Wolseley area. range form 3 to 6 rooms.

A partial list of tenants from 1910 shows it was an upper middle-class building with suites ranging from three to six rooms in size. Some had a room for a domestic servant.

The first batch of residents included a lot of travelling salesmen, a doctor, and a diplomat. Even J. C. Wilson, the building's developer, moved into suite 6. (Note, street directories listed only the the head of the household. Most of them had a family as well. See links below for a transcribed residents' list of the 1911 census.)

- John Blair, secretary treasurer of Grand Trunk Pacific Grain Elevator Co, suite 17
- Iliver Clark, real estate agent, suite 10
- Elmer Emeny, bookkeeper at Trans Continental Townsite Company, suite 4
- Stuart Gibson, auditor at McClary Manufacturing Company, suite 25
- Gladys Gibson, stenographer at Union Trust Company, suite 25
- Joseph Gibson, travelling salesman, Laing Bros, suite 3
- Mr. Hansen, Manager of Empire Cream Separator Company, suite 8 
- William Innes, caretaker, suite 5
- William Kewley, post office clerk 9
- James McBride, consul general of the U.S.A., suite 19
- W. H. McKinnon, travelling salesman for the Maple Leaf Milling Co
- N. Mallock, civil engineer, suite 19
- Alexander Meindl, physician, suite 11
- Arthur Proctor, dentist, suite 14
- Louis Sholes, manager of Brodesser (grain) Elevator Company, suite 16
- May Stevens, stenographer for the general superintendent of the C.P.R., suite 26
- Russell Waugh, owner of two grocery store, suite 12
- J. F. W. Wright, clerk at city comptroller's office, suite 32

Famed journalist and activist E. Cora Hind received visitors at her new home in suite 34 on May 6, 1911. She stayed for just a couple of years.

There were also some early musical residents such as Henry Koerner, a well-known baritone on local stages and churches, who arrived in January 1913.

In 1916, the Hill Brothers moved in. They ran the grocery store across the street.

Music teacher Edith Knowles arrived in September 1918. She was a singing coach and advertised the "Care and training of children's voices and physical culture a specialty." Her students gave annual recitals and she was also coach of the Victoria Girls Baseball team. Knowles married a Vancouver man in October 1919 and it appears that she relocated there.


December 21, 1918, Winnipeg Tribune

There were several World War I soldiers associated with Preston Court. Newspaper stories list several wounded  returning to the city, including: Pte. Charles Raymond of suite 18 in 1916; W. Currie in December 1916; and S. Currie of suite 21 in May 1917. David Allman of suite 5 went missing in October 1917 but managed to survive the war.

The only death that that appears to have a connection to this building is that of Victor Robert Keeling. When the CNR trainman enlisted in April 1916 with the 221st Battalion he lived with his mother and sister at 122 Langside Street. Soon after he left for England in April 1917 they moved to suite 18 Preston Court.

According to papers in his military file, Keeling was with the Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade  when he was reported "wounded and missing after action" on March 24, 1918. He was never heard from again and nine months later was officially declared dead.


February 27, 1935, Winnipeg Tribune

The Weldon family moved to suite 7 around 1925 from the family home at 692 Langside. James Weldon, 74, Euphemia, 64, and to of their four children, Percy, 31, and Donna, 19. 

James was born in Elgin County, Ontario in 1851 and came to Winnipeg in 1874, the year it became a city. He made money in the 1880s real estate boom when the railways came to town and opened a grocery store with his brothers on Market Avenue near Princess Street that they ran for over 20 years.

After retiring from the grocery business, he opened a small vegetable stall on Market Square to keep himself busy. 

Euphemia was from St. Catherines, Ontario and came to Winnipeg in 1883. In 1891, she married James in 1891 and raised their four children. She died in in 1932 at the age of 73. 


October 22, 1931, Winnipeg Tribune

In the 1930s, James Weldon became a bit of celebrity as one of the dwindling numbers of city pioneers or “old timers” - those who arrived before or in the year the city was created. Newspapers wished him a happy birthday each year and the Winnipeg Tribune printed a couple of interviews with him talking about the early days and to get his take on current issues.

In October 1931, the Tribune found the 80-year-old “fit as a fiddle” working his stall. When asked about the Depression, Weldon said: "People listen too much to what the croakers have to say. We've had hard times before, worse depressions than this one, and we've always come though safely." 

James Weldon died at his home in February 1935 at the age of 83.

The building unusually underwent a number of name changes. Preston Court was problematic as there was a Preston Block on Hargrave Street. Newspapers sometimes confused the two names, so it is likely that the post office and delivery drivers did the same.

The first name change to Winnebago Apartments came around 1918. The name does not appear to have been taken to heart as many residents still used the old one in classified ads and social notices. Even the rental company reverted back to Preston after a couple of years.

In 1925, Winnebago was officially dropped in favour of Granton Apartments.

In 1939, Peter Anderson, an Icelandic developer and property manager, took over ownership of the building and invested $5,000 to renovate the main floor and some of the smaller suites. Soon after the renovations, the building was marketed as Stevens Court. This name appeared in rental ads into the 1980s.

By the 1960s, the number of suites has increased from 35 to around 50. This was likely done by subdividing some of the larger suites. According to a recent prospectus for the building, it contains 49 suites comprised of 14 bachelor, 26 one-bedroom, and 9 two-bedroom units.

The building is marketed today as West Broadway Square.

Related:
Transcribed 1911 census of 161 Langside: page 1, page 2, page 3.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

804 Ellice Avenue - Service Station / Ellice Buy and Sell

© 2021, Christian Cassidy


Place: Former Service Station / Ellice Buy and Sell
Address:
804 Ellice Avenue (Map)
Constructed:
1929, replaced 1944, replaced 1964.
Contractor:
McColl Brothers


June 18, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

Urban development began in this neighbourhood in the 1905 to 1910 range but the first building on this site was a gas station in 1929. Prior to that, the land may have been owned by the Salvation Army which constructed a residence and citadel on the east side of the block.

McColl-Frontenac Ltd. took out a permit to construct an $8,000 service station measuring 22 feet by 44 feet on this site in September 1928. M-F was a Canadian oil company with regional headquarters in Winnipeg and was better known by its "Red Indian" brand.

This was M-F's twelfth service station in the city and one of six that opened in 1929. By 1935, Winnipeg had 24 "Red Indian stations". (For more McColl-Frontenac history, see here and here.)

 
A McColl-Frontenac Station ca.1938, City of Edmonton Archives

The original station probably looked something like this one from Edmonton in 1938 with a filling station and adjacent service station.

Though M-F built the stations they leased them to franchisees to run. The first owner of 804 Ellice Avenue was Edward J. "Ted"  O'Dowd who ran it as Ted's Service Station.

O'Dowd was born in Ontario and came to Winnipeg in 1906. In the mid-1920s, he was working as a car man in the repair shops of the CNR. The family, wife Reta, and children Terry and Patricia, lived at 614 Banning Street.

In 1935 or 1936 Ted's Service Station closed. He became a carpenter and eventually went on to have a career with Bristol Aeroplane.

The service station disappears from street directories for a few years, though the filling station remained open.


June 28, 1934, Winnipeg Tribune

The next incarnation of the service station comes around 1939 with Harry Inkerman Ruddell and Ruddell's Service station.

Ruddell, who lived at 268 Simcoe Street with his wife Belle, had been a long-time employee of Winnipeg Marble before getting into the service station business. He ran the business with a couple of employees starting in 1929 with William Whitehead and Alex Ireland.

It was under Ruddell's ownership that big changes came to the service station. Since 1934, there had been an M-F service station located right at Portage and Main where the Richardson building is today. When the lease on the land expired, rather than tear the building down it was moved to Ellice Avenue and Arlington Street!

The move took place just after midnight on Monday, September 25, 1944. The building and roof were separated and the pieces slowly driven from Main Street onto Graham Avenue, then up Vaughan to Ellice Avenue. Both daily papers reported the move but neither ran any photos of it taking place.

Sadly, Ruddell didn't get much time to enjoy his spacious new service station. He died suddenly at his Simcoe Street home in July 1947 at the age of 51.


Texaco Canada 1977 annual report (McGill Archives)

Big changes took place at McColl-Frontenac in the 1940s.

The Canadian oil company struggled financially in the 1930s and the Texas Company, (better known by its brand name of Texaco), began buying up its shares in 1936 through its Canadian subsidiary the Texas Company of Canada.

By 1941, the Texas Company owned a majority interest in the company and the McColl-Frontenac and Red Indian names began to change over to Texaco and Sky Chief.


December 24, 1949, Winnipeg Tribune

The next incarnation of the service station was Cecil Poulton's Service Station. Poulton was an experienced garage owner and took over from Ruddell.

In 1956, 804 Ellice became Leach Auto Service operated by William Beawick and William Leach.

Leach was born in Saskatchewan and his family moved to Winnipeg when he was a child. In World War II, he was taken prisoner at the raid on Dieppe in August 1942 and spent the rest of the war in POW camps. After the war, he worked for Winnipeg Transit before leasing this service station.

Leach retired from the station around 1970 and briefly ran a small trucking company in the R.M. of Springfield before moving back to Winnipeg.

It was in 1964, during Leach's tenure, that the final service station was built on this site. It was a 1,300 square foot "Teague style" station with its sleek lines and white enamelled, steel panel exterior.

These were designed in-house for Texaco by Walter D. Teague in the mid-1930s. They were phased out in the U.S. in the 1950s for more modern designs, but that obviously did not happen in Canada.

The above concept drawing, one of four variations of Teague stations, shows a built-in canopy over the forecourt. This version was not used in northern climates as structure did not perform well under snow.

The Texaco station at 804 Ellice Avenue is mentioned infrequently in ads until February 22, 1980. When exactly it closed is unclear.


March 30, 1984, Winnipeg Free Press

Barbecues Galore held their grand opening sale at 804 Ellice Avenue in February 1984. The ads disappeared in June.

By 1985, the building was home to one of two Valu Car and Truck Rental outlets in the city. The other was at 72 Marion Street. (That company is still registered at 804 Ellice Avenue.)

By October 1988, classified ads first appear for Ellice Pawn Shop owned by Arnold Lazareck who was a partner in Valu Car and Truck Rental. The name of the business had changed by 1999 to Ellice Buy and Sell which was a used goods store, not a pawn shop.

Lazaruk spoke to the Free Press in 1988 in defence of pawn shops saying that the vast majority of owners comply with city rules regarding potential stolen property. He also provided input to the city's proposed changes to the used good section of the "Doing Business in Winnipeg" bylaw in 2011.

After 32 years in business, the building was put up for sale in early 2020 for $500,000.

Ellice Buy and Sell continued to operate from the premises through the summer of 2021. As of September, the for sale sign has disappeared from the property and the building is empty.

Related:
Art Moderne Texaco Stations ReadRiedRead
A Field Guide to Gas Stations in Texas Texas Department of Transportation

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

1188 Wellington Crescent - Collard Residence

© 2021, Christian Cassidy


Place: Private residence
Address:
1188 Wellington Crescent (Map)
Size:
3,700 square feet, 4 bedrooms
Constructed:
1929
Architect:
Richard Collard
Contractor:
Carter-Halls-Aldiger


August 31, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

This home was constructed in 1929 for the Collard family: Richard and Mildred and their daughter Patricia. It featured six rooms on the ground floor and five rooms on the second floor which included a a billiard room, laundry room, four bathrooms, and two maids quarters in the basement.

The $20,000 building permit was taken out in April 1929. By comparison, the average permit amount for residences at the time was in the $3,500 to $5,000 range. It is constructed of reinforced concrete with stucco finish.

The contractor was Carter-Halls-Aldiger, the construction company that Richard Collier was vice president of. One newspaper article mentions that the house is Collard's own design, (he was an engineer by trade.)


November 2, 1935, Winnipeg Tribune

Mildred Gordon Collard was born and raised in Ontario, graduating from the Ontario Ladies College and Alma College in St. Thomas. She married Richard Collard in 1912 and they had their only child, Patricia, in 1916. The family moved to Winnipeg in 1920.

Richard Collard was vice president of the Carter-Halls-Aldiger Co. which is one of the preeminent construction and engineering firms in the city's history. Created in 1907, it is responsible for hundreds of projects across the West, from Winnipeg's Minto Armouries and HBC department store, to Vancouver's City Hall and the Banff Springs Hotel.

One of the biggest society events of 1935 was a November ball at the house to celebrate their daughter Patricia and about 35 other debutantes. A Tribune article noted that "The whole of the main floor was arranged for dancing" which included an orchestra headed by Claude Turner. The night ended with a lavish midnight buffet.

In October 1939, Collard was taken on by the RCAF as director of airport construction which included the hundreds of Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities that had to be built across the country. He eventually achieved the rank of Air Vice Marshall and was awarded a CBE, the highest ranking Order of the British Empire awards with the exception of a knighthood, for his service.

The Collard family had to relocate to Ottawa in November 1939 for the wartime post and returned to the city and 1188 Wellington Crescent in December 1944.

Carter-Halls-Aldiger was reorganized as Commonwealth Construction in the late 1940s with Collard as president and general manager until his retirement in 1957. He died in 1963.

Mildred Collard, who was heavily involved with St. Stephens Broadway United Church Women's Auxiliary and a lifetime member of the St. Agnes Guild and Winnipeg Humane Society, died in 1968.


August 4, 2002, Winnipeg Free Press

After the Collards, the history of the house is a bit of a mystery as starting in the 1970s newspapers stopped reporting the addresses of people in articles.

The house was listed as for sale or rent in 1997 and in 2002 was for sale for $494,900. It was put up for sale in again in 2021.

Related:
More about the work of Collard during World War II