Tuesday, April 13, 2021

701 Ellice Avenue - Discount Everything (R.I.P.)

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

In 2013 by C. Cassidy

Former McKnight Motors / Discount Everything
Address: 701 Ellice Avenue
Constructed: 1954
Size: 3,070 square feet
Demolished: April 2021

This building was constructed in 1954 as home to McKnight Motors.

Mervyn McKnight was born and raised in Winnipeg and served with the RCAF in World War II. He then joined the family business, Lion's Storage on William Avenue.

The dealership lasted only until 1958 when McKnight joined CEA Simon-Day Ltd., a retailer and manufacturer of material movement equipment such as forklifts and industrial conveyor systems. He became its president in 1970, an era of great growth for the company, and held that position when he died in 1981 at the age of 58.

April 26, 1964, Winnipeg Free Press

After McKnight left in the late 1950s, 701 Ellice hosted numerous automobile-related businesses - from dealerships to tire centres - for the next twenty years.

It became European Video, a movie rental store, in the early 1980s. A decade later, it was a Video 1001 store which rented movies and sold snacks and Pic-a-Pop.

It was the Discount Everything convenience store through the 2000s. It became known across the city when its exterior was featured in the TV series Less Than Kind.

On April 11, 2021 by Tiff Bartel on Twitter

The Yoon family had been trying to sell the building for a few years. Apparently, they were successful in early 2021 and retired. It is unclear what use the new owners were planning for the building.

In the early morning of April 11, 2021, fire broke out in the building and it had to be demolished soon after. Nobody was injured.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

618 Broadway - Broadway Pharmacy

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Broadway Pharmacy
Address: 618 Broadway (Map)
Constructed: 1923
Contractor: Unknown

This building has been a pharmacy for nearly 100 years. It's quite remarkable for such a small retail shop to have never changed uses in a century.

There was no urban development on this corner even as late as 1920. It was either part of the Spence Estate, as no buildings are listed on Young Street from Cornish to Broadway at the time, or it was the side yard or garden for 608 Broadway, the nearest numbered house.

That changed in 1923 with the construction of this building. Newspapers of the day covered "building permits" as a regular beat, but no mention of this one can be found. The contractor and owner is unknown.

The Golden family in the 1926 census

The first occupant of the building was the pharmacy of E. J. Golden.

Ernest Justin Golden was born in Weston, Ontario around 1877 and came to Winnipeg in the mid-1880s with his family.

According to the University of Manitoba booklet Names and addresses of graduates in Arts, Science, Law, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine, Pharmacy, etc., he graduated with a BA in 1898, attaining the bronze medal in Mental and Moral Sciences.

In the 1900 street directory, when Golden would have been around 23, he can be found working for cigar manufacturer Richard and Co. and living at a boarding house at 186 Smith Street. In 1902, he is a "law student" at law firm Munson and Allan living at a boarding house at 47 Harriet Street.

In 1903, Golden began working at pharmacies. First, he was a clerk at John C. Gordon, 706 Main Street, then at Gordon Mitchell Drug Co. at 394 Main Street.

It was during his years at Gordon Mitchell that Golden decided to become a pharmacist and enrolled at the Manitoba College of Pharmacy. Established in 1902, the College was affiliated with the University of Manitoba. It was the first pharmacy education institution in Canada with a university affiliation.

Golden graduated from the College of Pharmacy in 1908 and likely relocated to Saskatchewan until around 1911. He returned in 1912 and worked as a druggist for the T. Eaton Co. and resided with his family 326 Broadway, then known as the Strathmore Apartments.

By 1921, Golden was managing a branch of Liggett's Drug Store, a chain of seven shops around the city.

December 12, 1923, Winnipeg Tribune

Golden struck out on his own at this location in 1923. It is not known if he had the store built or just leased it. The first mention of him being here is in a Brunswick Record and Phonograph Company ad from December 1923 listing the store as a dealer.

It is likely that the store operated from the rear section of 618 Broadway. (This may look like a later extension or a neighbouring building that 618 Broadway expanded into, but this is not the case.) 

Golden did not advertise the store, nor did he stay here long. Within a couple of years, he went to work for McCollough Drug Store, a chain of four stores. He retired in 1933 and eventually moved to Toronto where he died in 1962.

The store was taken over by Samuel N. Ringer of 22 -212 Langside Street and by May 1925 he was advertising it as "Broadway Pharmacy". Ringer graduated from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba in 1924.

Ads suggest that he added a soda fountain and also sold camera equipment. In the mid-1930s, a postal outlet opened in the store. Aside from being robbed occasionally, (see below), the store had a quiet existence.

Ringer expanded his business in 1932 by taking over Ellice Pharmacy at 307 Ellice Avenue, then opened Sterling Drugs in a custom renovated space in the Avenue Building at 269 Portage Avenue. Soon after, there was a location in the Mall Hotel and the Royal Drug Store at 432 Main was added a couple of years later.

Ringer dropped Broadway Pharmacy from his chain around 1944. By this time, his son Martin had joined him in business. The Ringer Drugs name lived on at 1151 Pembina Highway until the late 1980s.

The next proprietor was Harry A. Stitz

Stitz was born in Winnipeg and graduated from the University of Manitoba's College of Pharmacy in 1938. He opened Times Drugs at 572 Broadway in 1941 and took over Broadway Pharmacy in 1944.

At the time, he lived with wife, Jeanette, and their two sons at an apartment on Furby Street. He had two employees that first year at Broadway Pharmacy: Mae Horm and Leona Veer.

Stiz ran both pharmacies until around 1951 and then just Broadway Pharmacy. By this time, he had moved to 450 Montrose Avenue and employed Gordon Cohen, apprentice druggist, and clerks Mary Kowley, Lila Mink and Joyce Moore.

Sam Diamond in 1979, Winnipeg Tribune

Samuel Diamond joined Stitz in the business in 1960. The two already had a working relationship.

Born and raised in Aaran, SK, Diamond served in the RCAF during the Second World War. In 1946, he settled in Winnipeg and opened Times Soda Bar on Broadway. This was a neighbour of, or perhaps even located inside, Stitz's Times Drug Store. The proximity to Osborne Stadium made it a hangout for football players. (It is unclear if Diamond himself was a pharmacist. He is not listed in the History of Pharmacy... booklet.)

Diamond married Ruth in 1963 and they had three children.

Stitz eventually retired and when he died in 1980, Diamond was an honourary pallbearer at his funeral.

Diamond continued to run Broadway Pharmacy on his own. His obituary states: "The pharmacy became the focal point in the community and Dad relished the fact that he was known as 'the guy who could get you anything'. He never wanted to say no to any request."

Road repairs in 1979, Broadway Pharmacy on left

Diamond's association with football continued long after the stadium moved to Polo Park.

Broadway Pharmacy sold Bomber tickets through the 1960s and 1970s and at times was one of just three places in the city aside from the Stadium where you could get them, (the others being CBO at the Bay and Baldy Northcott's sporting goods store.) Diamond was also a member of the board of the Winnipeg Football Club from the late 1960s to early 1990s.

Jack Matheson, Winnipeg Tribune sports editor, wrote in an April 1978 column, "Sam Diamond, the best friend the Blue Bombers ever had, has always peddled season tickets from his drug store, Broadway Pharmacy, and this year he expects to sell 250, no problem."

In 1980, Diamond sold the business and opened Diamond Athletic Medical Supplies. He and Ruth eventually retired to their cottage on Lake Winnipeg.

Diamond was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 1998 as a builder and died in 2001.

Leroux, left, and Diamond in the 1980s. Courtesy: Broadway Pharmacy

Broadway Pharmacy was purchased by Larry Leroux in 1981.

Leroux was an avid hockey player from a small town near Kenora,Ontario. After graduating from the U of M's College of Pharmacy in 1977, he briefly worked in the Polo Park area but found himself drawn to the core area.

Leroux kept Broadway Pharmacy as a focal point in the community and it was quite a different community than some of his predecessors had known.

With the rise of post-war suburbs and car ownership becoming the norm, there was a population shift away from inner-city neighbourhoods. As "old timers" moved out or died off, their middle-class homes were bought up for cheap by investors as rental properties. Many were carved up into rooming houses.

Of particular concern to Leroux was the number of patients he saw that used non-potable alcohol in products like rubbing alcohol, hair spray, nail polish remover and Lysol, to get high. His interest turned to the retailers that were selling to product, some in bulk, to those who abused it.

Leroux spearhead the creation of the Manitoba Non-Potable Alcohol and. Inhalant Abuse Committee in 1990 that brought together various community and other organizations concerned about the issue. The committee did advocacy work and research on the problem which led to legislation that restricted the sale of such products.

October 20, 1991, Winnipeg Free Press

Though he lived in East Kildonan with his wife and children, Leroux volunteered his time on many community initiatives that worked to improve the West Broadway area.

In 1996, Leroux received a Centennial award from the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association as someone "that has made a significant and lasting positive impact on the practice and/or profession of pharmacy."  At the 2009 Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association's annual banquet, Leroux received the Bowl of Hygeia Award "in appreciation of the time and personal sacrifice devoted by pharmacists to the welfare of their respective communities".

Leroux told the May 2009 edition of Communication, a publication of the Manitoba Society of Pharmacists, "I never prejudged anyone who walked into my pharmacy.... My patients were some of the nicest people you'd ever meet, we were good to them and they were good to us....West Broadway is a great community."

Leroux sold the store in May 2008 and retired back to the Kenora area.

Darren Murphy purchased Broadway Pharmacy from Leroux and the building from the son of Harry Stitz in 2008.

Murphy graduated from the U of M’s College of Pharmacy in 2007. He soon partnered with Floyd Lee, a 1980 grad of the U of M’s College of Pharmacy who had worked at Broadway Pharmacy for over a decade, and in 2019 with Oumad Khalek who had worked there for eight years.

Since that time, Murphy has added nine more stores, branding most of them under the Northway Pharmacy banner. Broadway Pharmacy is now known as Northway Pharmacy Broadway.

Like Leroux, Murphy received the Bowl of Hydregia Award in 2017 and the Pharmacy Business Leadership Award in 2020. Khalek received Pharmacists Manitoba's 2020 Friend of Pharmacy Award which is presented to a non-pharmacist who has contributed significantly to the success of the profession of pharmacy.

The store underwent major renovations in 2017 to modernize the exterior and interior, though the interior layout remains much the same as it always has.

In 2023, 618 Broadway will celebrate its 100th consecutive year as pharmacy!


The Young Street Facade

An interesting feature of this building is the Young Street fa├žade at the rear of the store. This may look as if it was a later extension or that 618 Broadway took over a neighbouring building, but that does not seem to be the case.

City records indicate that no permit was ever granted for an extension for this building – the next one after the 1923 building permit was one for interior renovations in 1965.

In addition, street directories and various historic maps of the city show that no buildings stood on the east side of Young Street between Balmoral and Broadway until the Broadway Optimists Community Club opened there in the early 1950s.

This simply appears to be a separate entrance for the building, which makes sense as for most of its life there has been more than just a pharmacy operating from here. Golden had his record and phonograph shop. Ringer, Stitz and likely Diamond had their postal outlet and soda fountain. In the 1990s and 2000s there was a doctor’s office. 

This was likely a way to be allow both enterprises to operate with separate hours. The second floor portion at the rear likely was an office.

The Soda Fountain

February 18, 1926, The Manitoban

Because this has always been a small, neighbourhood pharmacy, there were very few ads and no newspaper features or "advertorials" to give a feel for what the drugstore was like in its early decades.   

A soda fountain was a feature of the store since at least Ringer's time as his earliest ads in 1926 mention it. This was likely at the rear part of the store along Young Street. The postal outlet he added was likely in this space as well.

August 5, 1939, Winnipeg Tribune

As the Ringer empire grew into more central locations like Portage Avenue and Main Street, their soda fountains were more like lunch counters. Carlton Drugs offered a "grill and tearoom" and Mall Drugs had "daily lunch specials". It is unclear if the Broadway Pharmacy soda fountain also became a grill.

Occasional classified ads appear for soda fountain staff even into the late 1940s, after Ringer, but never ads seeking cooks or waitresses.  Diamond’s earlier enterprise was more of a restaurant as he made a big part of his business feeding athletes from Osborne Stadium. It is unclear if he offered more than just milkshakes and soft drinks when he ran Broadway Pharmacy.

The 1933 Robbery
Robberies, including armed and sometimes violent holdups, have up been a fact of life for pharmacies ever since the first one opened in the city. Broadway Pharmacy has been held up many times.

This robbery in December 1933 was particularly notable because of the amount of cash the robbers made off with. That $800 is the equivalent of about $15,500 today! I assume the post office held such large sums due to money transfers, bill payments and the like. 

Also interesting to note from this article is that the store was just closing at midnight on a Wednesday night! Presumably this was because of the soda fountain. 

It was common in those days to mentioned people by name and address in a newspaper articles, which is great for researchers trying to piece together the history of individuals and businesses. Nowadays, a store manager is an unnamed "spokesperson” and things happen in the "600 block of Broadway", which will be useless for researchers in decades to come.  

A funny thing in this story, one that I have seen many times before, is that the employees who were held up are not only identified by name and address, but it is also made known that they got a good look at the crooks and will make good witnesses in a police lineup or trial.  I wonder of the men had many sleepless nights until the gang was caught a couple of weeks later?

The Floor

One thing left unchanged in the extensive remodelling the building underwent in 2017 is the original terrazzo floor. Oumad says when they purchased the building from the son of Harry Stitz, his one request was that they kept it intact as a nod to the building's past.

The stylized pestle and mortar that once graced the main entrance, but usually under floor mats, is now behind the counter as the front door was relocated to the west.

The Customers

If you want to know who some of Broadway Pharmacy's customers are, just check out their front counter. This ever-changing collage of images featuring customers past and present has been part of the store since the 1990s.

The Secret Door

During the 2017 renovations, a sealed up doorway was found in the east wall of the building leading into 616 Broadway - now Art City. It turns out that from the time of its construction in 1953 to about 1974, the neighbouring building was a clinic with three doctors. In 1970, a thief broke into the clinic so that he could try to smash through the wall into the pharmacy.

A 1975 article about a fire in the building described 616 as a clothing boutique up front and the warehouse for Broadway Pharmacy at the back. The door was likely sealed up in the 1980s as the building was a furniture  interiors store and, in 1986, Gio's bar.


For more West Broadway history, see A Divided Prairie Neighbourhood, Rising to the Occasion, and this West End Dumplings series.

You might also like my stories about other West Broadway buildings and businesses:
608 Broadway Former Broadway Neighbourhood Organization
618 Broadway Broadway Grocery
619 Broadway Pal's Grocery  
639 - 641 Broadway Wannebees Diner
685 Westminster Avenue Sherbrook Inn
164 Langside Street Hill Bros. Grocery

Saturday, March 20, 2021

794 Ellice Avenue - Former Salvation Army Citadel

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Salvation Army Citadel No. 8
Address: 794 Ellice Avenue (Map)
1916 and 1965

When this section of the West End was developing into a modern suburb around 1910, the Salvation Army purchased a large parcel of land at Ellice Avenue and Home Street for a future citadel, (church and administrative centre).

At the time, most of its five citadels were located in the inner city, (Rupert Ave and King St, 229 Pritchard Ave, 669 Elgin Ave, 391 Logan Ave, and 301 Queen St. in St. James). This would be part of a First World War-era expansion into newer, suburban neighbourhoods that included the West End, Weston and Elmwood.

August 5, 1916, Winnipeg Tribune

The Ellice Avenue Corps of the Salvation Army was established in November 1915 and initially operated from a store at 749 Ellice Avenue, (now demolished), under the command of Captain F. Poulter who lived at 461 Victor Street.

Construction of the citadel got underway on May 1, 1916. The lot was large enough to include the citadel, which actually faced Home Street, a house facing Ellice Avenue where the adjutant, or officer in charge, and their family could live, and a lawn area.

It is likely that the architect of the building was the Salvation Army's own Brigadier Gideon Miller, (also see). It cost $3,500 to construct and was opened on Sunday, August 6, 1916 by Commissioner Charles Sowton, the Salvation Army's chief officer for Western Canada. Captain and Mrs. Beckett, formerly of the North End Corps, were put in charge of the Corps.

September 8, 1945, Winnipeg Tribune

The citadel hosted countless church services, gospel meetings and Sunday school classes over the decades. Music is a large part of the Salvation Army's fabric and the Ellice Avenue Corps was no different as it featured a choir and band. Thanks to its lawn area, the citadel hosted an annual picnic into the early 1940s.

The Salvation Army officers rotated its adjutants every few years and it appears that no one officer stayed in charge for a particularly long time.

May 23, 1964, Winnipeg Tribune

The citadel suffered a major fire on the night of March 3, 1964. The adjutant, Major Smith, noticed smoke coming from the building as he was coming home around 11:15 pm. He went to investigate and discovered a fire which took firefighters about two hours to put out.

The fire started in the basement and was blamed on a faulty oil furnace. The building suffered heavy damage but did not have to be torn down. Lost in the fire were the corps' collection of musical instruments, including a $4,500 organ.

Salvation Army officials decided to repair the old citadel and build a modern extension that would go right to Ellice Avenue. The new building was likely designed by George A. Stewart of Winnipeg who was responsible for a number of the Salvation Army's 1960s citadels which all had a similar appearance. 

The new building was around 9,100 square feet spread over two levels. The upper level church sanctuary held 150 people with a similarly sized basement to house a youth centre and gymnasium. The old part of the citadel became offices. (Walking through the building one goes seamlessly from the new building to the old without a sense of entering a separate building.)

The new citadel opened at 2:30 pm on Sunday, September 12, 1965.

July 16, 1966, The War Cry

Thanks to some insurance money and a number of community fundraisers, the new citadel was soon paid off and a mortgage burning ceremony was held in the summer of 1966.

The Salvation Army didn't stay long in its new home. The last newspaper mention of it comes in a February 1973 funeral notice.

That September, the Balmoral Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses appeared before a city committee to seek permission to add up to three residential suites to the rear portion of the building. (It seems they added just one.)

It continued as a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses until at least March 1991, though classified ads appeared in May 1990 looking to sell the building for $345,000.

April 14, 1991, The Catholic Church Extension Society newsletter

The next owner of the building was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Winnipeg.

The Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Church was established in Winnipeg around 1980. It originally worshipped at Sacre Coeur Church and rented office space in a nearby building. When that building was sold, the congregation approached the Archdiocese to say it wanted a permanent home of its own.

Through a combination of its own fundraising and a loan from the Archdiocese, it was able to purchase this building in April 1991 and moved in on August 1. It renamed itself Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish.

The church is named for Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk woman who died in 1680 at the age of 24. She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2012, making her the first Indigenous North American to become a saint. (The church added  "St." to its name in 2012).

In the 20-teens the church began looking for a new home for its 150 or so parishioners. It wanted somewhere in the North End where many of them lived. In January 2021, the church announced that it had purchased the the 300-seat former Aberdeen Evangelical Mennonite Church at 265 Flora Street near Main Street.

794 Ellice Avenue is currently for sale.

Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish Facebook page
794 Ellice Avenue sale listing
Indigenous parish finds a new home Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg parish celebrates Saint Kateri's canonization CBC

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

639 - 641 Broadway - Templeton's Hair / WannaBees Diner

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Google Street View

Place: Templeton's Artistic Hairdressing / Salisbury House / Wannabees Diner
Address: 639 - 641 Broadway (Map)
Constructed: 1934
Contractor: S. Lanktree Thompson

Broadway circa 19-teens (Berman Postcard Collection)

The first urban development on this site was a house constructed around 1895.

At the time, this stretch of Broadway would have been a sparsely populated, suburban setting with just fourteen addresses - all houses - on between Good to Sherbrook. Many of the surrounding streets still had larger estates waiting to be subdivided. (The landmark Young Methodist Church was not built until 1906 and 1910.)

1901 Census of Canada, (Library and Archives Canada)

The first resident of the house was Ernest H. Bissett and family. He seemed to do double duty as manager of Northern Fire Assurance Company and the Winnipeg Water Works, the latter was a private company not the city department. They stayed here until around 1900.

 It was then the turn of John D. McMurray and family. He was a gold miner born in the North West Territories with a wife and three children. Also living with them were the Bedsons, Mrs. McMurray's brother and his family, plus a domestic servant.

The McMurrays were gone by 1906 and after that the house saw many residents. Checking in every four years in street directories show a different lineup of people living there each time.

The final lineup of residents in 1934 were: William Rayner, labourer, who may have been the owner, and lWinnipeg odgers, Robert Clark - janitor, J M Reid, and John Lee.

August 29, 1934, Winnipeg Tribune

Great change came to this intersection in August 1934 with what appears to be two permits granted for new buildings.

The Winnipeg Tribune of August 29, 1934 notes that a permit was granted to S. Lanktree Thompson “to erect a store at the north-east corner of Broadway and Langside” measuring 32 feet x 56 feet. He was reminded that if he built to the street line he would be required to remove the front seven feet of the building when the street was eventually widened. The owners of the property appear to be Ryan Bros.

The same duo of Ryan Bros. and Thompson got another building permit that week for a two-storey building at the same intersection.

October 19, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

Samuel Lanktree Thompson was a former high school track star turned home builder. In 1929, he started S. Lanktree Thompson Ltd. and specialized in quality, middle class homes primarily on River Heights streets such as Borebank, Elm, Oak, and Cordova. He teamed up in 1931 with Eaton's to build show home at 149 Elm Street finished with an Eaton's interior. In 1939, he had ten houses on the go at one time on Borebank.

There are few mentions of Thompson building commercial properties. The examples appear to be all on Broadway, such as the two at Broadway and Langside and the Safeway, now Pal's Grocery, at Broadway and Young.

Thompson awarded the subcontracts for 341 Broadway in September 1934 and work began soon after.

The first to call the new commercial building home was George. V. Templeton who opened Templeton's Artistic Hairdressing in February 1935. It's unclear if he bought the building or just rented the space.

Templeton was from Austin, Manitoba and came to Winnipeg as a young child with his family. Prior to striking out on his own he worked as a barber at New York Hair, a large shop with more than a dozen stylists at 375 Portage. He lived at 221 Spence Street with his wife, Annie Louise Baines, whom he
married in June 1934.

The hair salon was the only occupant of the building until 1939 when it was subdivided into two spaces with Templeton in the smaller, western portion at number 641 and a larger space at number 639. (This required some renumbering of buildings as prior to 1939, 639 Broadway was on the east side of Langside.)

October 23, 1943, Winnipeg Tribune

The new space became Maxwell House cafe in late 1939. This was its second location, the first was at 102 Sherbrook Street, now Sherbrook Delicatessen, run by Mrs. Pearl Brown of 120 Sherbrook Street. (In case you're wondering, yes, Maxwell House coffee was already a regularly advertised brand of coffee.)

The chain seems to have changed hands in 1942 to S. Knight and in 1943 - 44 the proprietor of the 639 Broadway location was G. Dvorak.

In late 1944, the cafe was renamed Broadway Lunch which appears to have lasted only a year or so.

July 2, 1946, Winnipeg Tribune

Salisbury House took over the restaurant space in 1946. This would be the fifth location of the local chain which was established in 1931. The others were at: Portage Avenue at Spence; 254 Kennedy Street; Broadway and Osborne; and a coffee / cigar stand in the central bus depot on Graham Avenue at Hargrave.

Templeton closed his shop in late 1946 or early 1947 due to poor health and eventually relocated to Vancouver. In 1959, he moved again to Calgary where he spent the last four years of his life at the Calgary Bethany Chronic Hospital likely suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. He died in Calgary in 1964 at the age of 56, leaving a widow and two children.

Salisbury House then took over the 641 portion of the building as its personnel office and called this building home until 1983. Permits were taken out for interior renovations in 1955, 1960 and 1978.

There were a couple of notable items during its time as a Sals.

May 1969 protest, Winnipeg Tribune Photo Collection, U of M Archives

In the 1960s, the West Broadway and Osborne Village areas became "hippie" hangouts. Some were locals but many were travellers hitchhiking across the country. For Sals and some other traditional businesses in the neighbourhoods the hippies were a problem. In the case of Sals, they would arrive in the morning and use the restaurant as an all-day hangout preventing other customers from eating there.

In 1969, "About 40 long-haired picketers paraded outside the Langside and Broadway Salisbury House Wednesday evening after they were refused service", reported the Winnipeg Tribune.

December 20, 1975, Winnipeg Free Press

Those "problem hippies" had a lasting impact on West Broadway and Osborne Village.

In West Broadway, Klinic Community Health can trace its roots back to serving this group. Its creation, in turn, surely meant that the last grand home on the street, Wilson House (also see) at 545 Broadway, has remained standing to this day.

We can also thank the hippies for creating what we now know as Osborne Village.

In the 1960s, that section of Osborne Street was run down, and city planners wanted to demolish it to end the traffic bottleneck south of River Avenue. The low rents attracted hippies and soon businesses catering to their needs began to spring up; everything from cafes and jewellery makers to clothing stores and health food shops.

The alternative vibe of the neighbourhood made it a popular place to visit and more businesses moved in. Merchants began marketing themselves as the "Osborne Street Village" in the mid-1970s and hopes of demolishing the block and its eclectic collection of shops disappeared.

April 29, 2016, Salisbury House ad

Tom Starr arrived in Winnipeg in 1947 from the Interlake knowing no-one and with only a few dollars to his name. He got a job as a dishwasher at Salisbury House and worked for the company for nearly 60 years. For a time, he was the manager of the Broadway and Langside location.

The above anecdote about being crowned "The Duke of Broadway" must have taken place in July 1970 as that is the only time the Queen visited during Schreyer's tenure as premier.

Starr died in 2011.

Salisbury House closed this restaurant in 1983 in favour of a larger location at 699 Broadway. After nearly a decade as a Chinese restaurant, 24-year-old Karen Ashley and business partner opened their WanneBees Diner here in 1993. The business partner left after a couple of years and Ashley has been a one woman show ever since.

The 1990s were not stellar years for the West Broadway neighbourhood. It was often in the news for its gang activity and crime - including the occasional homicide. As for why she would choose such a neighbourhood, Ashley explains, “I was looking for a small space and only had a limit amount of money” and admits, "I went through a learning curve on life as it was all new to me coming from the suburbs!"

As for the name of the diner, Ashley says, “everyone is a wannabee”.

After 28 years and counting, Ashley and Wannabees have become neighbourhood institutions and an important part of the history this intersection. In its 126 years of urban development, only Salisbury House at 37 years was here longer !) 

Looking back, Ashley says, "If I learned anything in life from being on this corner every day (it's that) everyone has a story. I love my job !!

The 31-seat diner is open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 2 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. it's a cash only joint !

Also see:
WannaBees Diner Facebook page
WannaBees Diner Dining with Donald

For more about West Broadway history, see A Divided Prairie Neighbourhood, Rising to the Occasion, and this West End Dumplings series.