Monday, April 29, 2013

1560 Main Street - Former Perth's Cleaners / Carlton's Cleaning Carousel

Updated April 2017 © Christian Cassidy
Perth's on Main Street, Winnipeg
Place: Former Perth's / Carlton's Cleaning Carousel
Address: 1560 Main Street
Architect: Waisman, Ross and Associates
Opened: March 1962

March 1963 ad, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1961, a consortium of prairie dry cleaning companies, including Perth's in Manitoba, Trudeau's in Edmonton and Nelson's in Vancouver, formed Carlton's Cleaning Carousel. Their plan was to invest up to $1 million in a chain of 100 "upscale" coin-operated laundromats across the West. 

The partner company provided an on-site dry cleaning counter and "laundry counsellors" that could offer washing advice and / or do your washing for you.

December 18, 1918, Winnipeg Free Press

Perth's was an institution in Winnipeg. It was created by brothers J. M. and Nathan Portnoy in 1914 when they bought out a single outlet called Fort Garry Dyers and Cleaners.

By 1950, it was a chain that boasted 57 stores and a large plant on Good Street.

In 2012, Perth's was sold to Tower Cleaners of Calgary.

Former Perth's
Newspaper ads from April 17, 1962 Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg architects Waisman, Ross and Associates created this unique design. Beneath the wavy roof line was a section of patterned glass and below that was a wall of windows that gave the stores a bright, airy feel. They also included a well-appointed reading lounge for customers to wait in. 

It appears that this design was unique to Manitoba. Waisman was Perths' architect of choice, (here and here.) Examples I found in Saskatoon and Kamloops had a more conventional retail look.

March 19, 1963, Winnipeg Free Press

In March 1962, the company began advertising with three Manitoba locations: Polo Park Shopping Centre, Main Street at McAdam and Ellice Avenue at Victor. The following year, they added outlets in Brandon and Portage la Prairie. A fourth Winnipeg outlet was added at Grant Park Shopping Centre in 1969.

In 1971, Carlton's disappeared from Manitoba's retail scene, though the chain appears to have carried on through the 70s in other provinces. In fact, until the 2000s there was still one Carlton's in Kamloops, you can see the shape of the company logo in the sign atop the building.

Top: circa 1965 (Winnipeg Building Index)
Bottom: circa 2009 (Google Street View)

Most Manitoba locations became Perth's Cleaners outlets, including this one.

Over time, Perth's presence shrunk and other retail spaces were added. Perth's original sign was removed in late 2010 and its store closed in 2013.

Of the post-Carlton's retailers, one of the longest-serving has been Cellar Dweller Hobby Supply, which has been located there since at least 2003.

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