Sunday, March 29, 2015

1417 Main Street - Ogniwo Polish Museum

Place: Ogniwo Polish Museum Society Inc (website)
Address: 1417 Main Street - (map)
Constructed: 1929
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Unknown

November 9, 1931, Winnipeg Tribune

The first business listed at this address was Cameron Brothers Radio Laboratories, a retail shop which sold and repaired commercial radios, including the U.S. brand Lyric. I could find little background about the brothers, Kenneth C. and Ronald L., other than they were living in the Waverley Hotel at the time. In 1933 the shop relocated to the Winnipeg Piano Building on Portage Avenue and soon after disappeared.

The brothers, too, seem to disappear, though there was Kenneth C. living in Winnipeg who was active in the air force during World War II. Touted as a telecommunications expert, he was made head of RCAF Station Clinton, Ontario, in 1956 at the age of 44.

August 13, 1933, Winnipeg Tribune

The building then became Neals Stores No. 11. Neals was a local grocery chain that debuted in December 1925 with eight neighbourhood stores. It was created by Neal Brothers, a local grocery import and wholesale company. They hired experienced Osborne Street grocer Arthur Willis to supervise the operations.

This was an attempt to establish a footing before the invasion of the big American grocery store chains, such as Piggly Wiggly and Safeway, that came later that decade. 

From its original eight stores, Neals grew to a peak of almost 30 in the early 1930s. It hung on until 1941 but it was a shadow of its former self with just a dozen locations, a small advertizing budget and stores that were tiny by industry standards of that time.

The 1417 Main Street location would have been a challenge. Opened in August 1933, it was just two doors down from what was the largest Safeway store built in the city, now the Naleway's Catering building, which opened in 1929.

1946 Henderson Directory (Peel's)

The Neals location closed in the late 1930s but another local grocer was up to the task. David McMasters was born in Northern Ireland and came to  Canada in 1910, around 27 years of age. He opened a fruit and confectionery store across the street at 1418 Main Street in the 1920s and by 1942 relocated to 1417.

June 23, 1917, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1926 he married Freida G. McRae and they moved into her family home at 151 Bannerman Avenue. She was born in Winnipeg to a pioneering family and was an accomplished pianist and music teacher. When she wasn't helping at the store or raising the family, she continued teaching from the home until the late 60s or early 70s. She was also active in organizations such as the St. John's Guild of the Children's Hospital.

The McMasters raised seven children, four sons (David, Graham, Alfred and John), and three daughters (Enid, Ethel and Margaret). It is unclear how many of the children were produced by the McMasters themselves. The obituary for son David, killed in an accident in Ohio in 1972, indicated that he had a different last name: "David (McDonald) McMaster .... beloved son of Hazel McDonald and David and Freda (sic) McMaster."  At least one other child, Ethel, also carried the McDonald last name.

July 27, 1948, Winnipeg Free Press

The McMasters and their store had a quiet existence. David had to sell up in 1948 due to illness, after which he retired with Freida to 151 Bannerman. He died at Luther home in West Kildonan on November 30, 1972. 

I could find no notice of Freida's death. Most of their children lived in other provinces and states, so she may have been living with one of them at the time.

Top: June 1951. Bottom: December 1952

Through the 1950s the store had a string of short term tenants, starting with Colonial Plating (1951-52), Paris Millinery 1952-54, Daffodil Dress Shop (1955-56) and Pioneer Sales (1958-59).

Top: U of M Pharma News, Fall Winter 2013, p. 8
September 22, 1960, Jewish Post

The next long term presence was Orlikow Drugs. 

Archie Orlikow was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Elmwood, graduating from the U of M's faculty of pharmacy in 1948. The following year he married Helen Davie of the West End. In the early 1950s he was working for a drug store located a couple of doors south at 1413 Main Street, since demolished, and in 1956 he and his brother David, took it over. 

Archie was the brother of David Orlikow, who also graduated as a pharmacist from the U of M, but he got into politics and spent 43 years as an elected official. Another brother was educator Lionel Orlikow.

In 1960 Orlikow's store moved from 1413 to 1417 Main. At around the same time he and Helen moved to 7 Glencoe Crescent where they raised their two sons, Jim and Bill.

The store existed at this address until about 1966. Orlikow then worked for the province on the Advisory Committee on Drug Purchasing, the Inter-changeable Drug Formulary and Pharmacare. In 1982 he was named Pharmacist of the Year and presented with a lifetime membership by the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association. 

Helen Orlikow died in 2007 and David Orlikow on December 6, 2012 at the age of 90.

September 17, 1979, Winnipeg Free Press

After that, it became home to W. A. Hickes Plumbing in the 60s and a branch store of the fabric chain Economy Textile from about 1975 to 1979.

Source: Ogniwo

Since September 30, 1992 it has been home to the Ogniwo Polish Museum, which is run by a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting Polish history, culture, traditions and the history of Polish immigrants in Canada to the Canadian public. It was also home to the offices of the Polish-language weekly newspaper Czas until it closed in 2012.

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