Tuesday, February 23, 2021

545 Arlington Street - Former Telesky Taxidermist

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Telesky Taxidermy
Address: 545 Arlington Street
Constructed: ca. 1912
Architect and Contractor: unknown

1912 was a period of great development round Arlington Street from Portage to Notre Dame avenues. The streets around had recently been subdivided into residential lots and in 1909 a single street car track was added to provide a loop connection to Sherbrook Street. 

Arlington Street was expected to become the city's second major north-south corridor stretching from River Heights to West Kildonan thanks to the Brown and Brandt Street Overpass (known today as the Arlington Street Overpass) and the Arlington Street Bridge that was to cross the Assiniboine River in Wolseley.

The bridge to the north opened in 1912 but never saw streetcar traffic, (one of the main reasons for building it), due to its steep slope and the latter was eventually scuttled after repeated protests from Wolseley residents. (For more about the plans for Arlington Street.)

August 31, 1912, Winnipeg Free Press

In early 1911 there were no addresses listed on Arlington Street between St. Matthews Avenue and Sargent Avenue, but that began to change in 1912.

This address first appears in classified ads in August 1912 looking for a boy to work at the grocery store of Peter Ballantyne. He lived at 480 Notre Dame Avenue and had worked as a warehouseman at A. Macdonald and Co. on Market Street, (what became Macdonald Consolidated), before deciding to go into business for himself.

By 1918, Ballantyne had moved on to another store at 679 Ellice and in the early 1920s to yet another store at 704 Toronto Street. In 1919, this store's name changed to Climax Grocery under John McCrady and then to Cameron’s Grocery under Albert Cameron who also lived in the rear.

April 3, 1926, Winnipeg Free Press

The building's owner, John B. Bell, a salesman for H. J. Heinz Ltd., died in 1926 and the property was sold off. Cameron's store only lasted a couple more years until it closed.

With such a poor history as a grocery store it's not surprising that the building's occupants became more industrial in nature.

In September 1928 the Capitol Carpet Company began advertising at this address. They were carpet and rug manufacturers that also offered a service that was popular at the time: rug recycling. In the early 1930s, company shifted its focus and became Capitol Cleaners and Dyers. 

Lögberg, December 23, 1937

It wasn’t until 1936 that the building got its first long-term owner with Stanley H. McLean Sheet Metal Works.

McLean, a longtime resident of 669 Beverley Street, was born in Palmerston, Ontario, and came to Winnipeg in his late teens around 1900. He began working as a tinsmith in 1902 and his shop operated from several addresses over the years. The last location before moving to 545 Arlington Street was 366 Lipton Street.

Stanley’s son, Lorne, joined him in business in the mid-1940s and it was renamed S. H. McLean and Son. Around back of the building was A. M. Anderson's Winnipeg Saw which manufactured and repaired saws.

The elder McLean retired in 1950 at the age of 66 and the son took the company further into the heating business as a dealer and installer of natural gas furnaces and other appliances.

Lorne sold up around 1961 and went to work for Heating Industries (Western) Ltd. in St. James. The building then became home to a North End business called Alexander Heating. Alexander Klym and M. Ratushniak were the proprietors.

Anderson's Winnipeg Saw continued to operate from the back.

In 1969, another long-term business moved to 545 Arlington when Ron Telesky moved his Strathcona Street taxidermy workshop here. His zoning hearing to open the shop and erect a 6 foot by 4 foot illuminated sign over the pavement was heard on October 14, 1969.

Telesky died in 1999 and the business was taken over by David and Jim Baxter. The shop closed in 2020. (For more about its years as a taxidermy shop see my West End Dumpling post.)

The building, which still retains it original pressed tin ceiling, will eventually be sold. The lot has been rezoned as residential, so it is likely that the building will be demolished for housing or converted into a residence.

My photo album of 545 Arlington Street.
Farewell Telesky Taxidermist West End Dumplings

Friday, February 12, 2021

284 William Avenue - Former Winnipeg Saddlery

 © 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Winnipeg Saddlery
Address: 284 William Avenue
Constructed: 1903 - 04
Architect: James Cadham

Note: This building is currently boarded up and expected to be demolished soon due to foundation issues.

Wright in 1874 (City of Winnipeg Archives)

The roots of Winnipeg Saddlery date back to the late 1860s.

Archibald Wright was born in Scotland and came to Manitoba in 1869. He invested in a saddle and harness making business that one historic newspaper article claims was the second commercial manufacturing enterprise in the Red River settlement after James Ashdown's tin shop. He was on the city's inaugural city councils in 1874 and 1875.

Like most businessmen of his era, Wright purchased land when he could, particularly around his shop at Main and William. As the area transformed into the city's heart boasting its city hall and public market, some of it was on land he once owned.

Wright was also an original investor in the the Leland Hotel, which was built on his land and in 1885 sold a 2,000 acre farm hoe owned on the Assiniboine River, likely near present-day Maryland Street, for $130 per acre.

Wright & Van Vliet, second building from left, ca. 1900 (City of Winnipeg Archives)

Thomas Van Vliet was born in Lacolle, Quebec in 1856. He came to Winnipeg in 1879 and soon began work at the Wright and Arbuckle harness and tackle shop on Main Street next to city hall. By 1890, he had gone into partnership with Archibald Wright and the firm was renamed Wright and Van Vliet at the new address of 284 William Avenue.

When the Leland Hotel Co. was reorganized in 1894, Van Vliet became one of its 12 investors along with Wright.

Van Vliet was then ready to settle down. He married Catherine Smith of Chatham, Ontario in 1895 and initially the couple moved into the Leland. By 1900, they had started a family and lived at 328 Edmonton Street off Central Park. In 1912, they moved again to 86 Balmoral Place. The Van Vliets had three children: Lyman, (who became a track star), William, and Dorothy.

September 12, 1903, Winnipeg Free Press

Business must have been good in this prominent location just off the city's market square as the company hired architect James Cadham in 1903 to design a new, five-storey, $35,000 building on the site. The entire structure would be dedicated to the saddlery with floors for retail, manufacturing, and warehousing.

While under construction in January 1904, a worker named William Beckett of 307 Alexander Avenue was taken serious ill. He was working on the fourth floor unloading goods from a hoist when he was stricken with "severe case of cramps". Newspapers didn't go into detail about what exactly happened, but Beckett, who appears to have been a saddlery employee helping out with construction work, died not long after being rushed to hospital.

The remainder of the construction appears to have taken place without incident.

July 19, 1904, Winnipeg Free Press

The building was completed in July 1904 and reopened under a new name: Winnipeg Saddlery. The partners were Archibald Wright, Thomas Van Vliet, James H Billington, and Thomas Billington.

Business was good at Winnipeg Saddlery as it helped supply those opening up the Western provinces for settlement. A government figure published in the Free Press shows that the value of harness and saddlery production in Manitoba in 1901 was $94,398 and had nearly quadrupled to $371,500 in 1906.

The company did business with the city and provided saddles and other prizes for Winnipeg's big horse shows and various horse racing events.

That thriving business came to a sudden halt on December 13, 1906 when the building suffered a major fire.

December 14, 1906, Winnipeg Free Press

At around 11 o clock in the morning a boy on the fourth floor of the building walked on a match that had fallen on the floor. He ended up striking it, which set fire to fibres on the floor and a stack of sweat pads next to it.

James Billington, the manager for that area, noticed the fire and called for the staff to run for their lives. It spread so quickly through the floor and beyond via the two open elevator shafts that the 19 men and two boys on the fourth and fifth floors of the building could only go up and escape to the roof through a skylight. They then climbed to a neighbouring building's roof to safety.

Billington was held up when he stopped to help a one-legged employee. By the time he made it to the top floor, flames had blocked his path to the skylight. He had to break a window and hang from the ledge until fire fighters rescued him.

The ledge was just nine inches wide and frozen with snow and ice. At times, Billington couldn't be seen from the sidewalk through the thick smoke billowing from the window above him. It was considered a miracle that he held on long enough to be rescued.

December 15, 1906, Winnipeg Free Press

The fire shone a spotlight on an issue the city spent much of 1906 trying to tackle.

Earlier that year, it toughened up its fire escape bylaw which stated that buildings taller than three floors needed an external fire escape attached to it. Building inspectors stepped up their enforcement but many building owners fought it, as they did most fire regulations the city has ever introduced. In this case, commercial building owners argued that nobody slept overnight in their buildings which meant fire escapes, only needed of ten or so hours a day, were an unfair cost.

It was reported that by September 1906 there were still 61 properties that still weren't in compliance - including Winnipeg Saddlery. In October, the company was given a third warning to comply within 30 days with a toothless "or else".

More owners fell in line after this Winnipeg Saddlery fire as it proved that even during daytime hours a deadly fire could happen. In 1907, even the school division revisited its plans to add fire escapes to its school building and by the end of the year had put out a call for tenders.

Damage estimates for the fire vary between $35,000 and $50,000, most of which was to stock and covered by insurance.

Ca. 1912, winterbos on Flickr

Though the building is currently only two storeys tall, it was not the fire of 1906 that brought the upper floors down. The photo above from around 1912, (note the Confederation Life Building under construction in the background), shows that it was rebuilt. According to the City of Winnipeg's historic building report on 284 William, the top three floors were removed in 1962 after structural issues.

The main floor frontage seen today with the large display windows was constructed in the early 1930s.

Winnipeg Saddlery carried on for decades to come. In 1912, Archibald Wright died. In 1931, Van Vliet died at his Balmoral Place home and the business was run by A. M. Bannerman who expanded it to include luggage repairs and small farm supplies.

Around 1945, Bannerman, an agronomist, split the business into two divisions: Farm Equipment and Seed Ltd. and Winnipeg Saddlery Ltd. In 1949, J. Jones and Son took over the harness and luggage side of the business.

Farm Machinery closed around 1955 and the building appears to have sat empty until 1958 when Samuel and Abraham Dreman took it over as a wholesale clearing store until at least 1964 when digitized street directories run out.

The Dreman's may have been there much longer as small classified ads for an unnamed business at this address regularly advertised discount, unclaimed, and factory return clothing such as pants, men's suits, children's wear, jeans for sale until the early 1990s.

Since that time, the building has sat largely vacant. The odd short term tenant like Outlaw Books or art show installations have taken place there. According to the city's historic buildings report, the foundation issues that led to the removal of the top floors was never repaired and the second floor of the building could not be used.

In 2012, the building was partially boarded up and the owner received a notice that the building needed to be properly secured and have a boarded building permit to be in compliance with the Vacant Building Bylaw.

284 William City of Winnipeg Historic Buildings Committee

Here's a story written by Lillian Gibbons for the Tribune in 1934 about Mrs. Archibald Wright that gives a sense of what pioneer life was like. To see the full view, you'll have to right click and "view image":

Thursday, February 11, 2021

623 Simcoe Street - Private residence (R.I.P.)

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

623 Simcoe in 2009, Google Street View

Place: Private Residence
Address: 623 Simcoe Street
Constructed: 1905
Architect: Unknown
Size: 820 square feet

The little vacant house at 623 Simcoe Street suffered a major fire in February 2021 and will likely be demolished. Before it's gone, here's a look back at its history.

This house was constructed in 1905. The first to live there was Jarvis Russell, electrician at Hudson Electrical Supply Co.. at 309 Fort Street. A feature of the house for decades to come was a lodger and in 1907 Russell and family rented a room to Edith Lundberg, a sewing machine operator at Union Overall Company.

It went through several residents in the first few years which suggests it may have been a rental property. It was home to carpenter Walter Sigurdson in 1908, William Vickery, a teamster at Robinson and Co., in 1910, then Alexander Paulds, tinsmith, in 1911.

1916 Census of the Provinces, Library and Archives Canada

Stability came in 1912 when it was bought by the Bjarnasons. Sigurdur and wife Gudrun came to Manitoba from their native Iceland in in 1901. They first settled at Stoney Mountain before moving to Winnipeg in 1912 where Sigidur worked as a labourer. In 1903, the couple had a son named Bjarni.

The Bjarnasons kept up the tradition of having a loddger most years. Many of them had Icelandic names and stayed for a short time. In the 1916 census it was Mrs. E.  Sigurdson, 41. 

The family appears to have lived a quiet life as they and their address stayed out of the daily newspapers - with one exception.

August 9, 1915, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1915, Sigurdur’s 75-year-old father came to visit him in Winnipeg. He got lost on his walk from the CPR depot and ended up walking 25 miles to Hazelridge, Manitoba. The postmaster at the village put the elderly man, (who, it seems, couldn't speak English well), back on a train with a note containing the address he was looking for and a request that whoever read the note to give him directions there.

Sigurdur died at the home on September 5, 1944. Gudrun died there just a few months later on April 30, 1945. Both are buried at Brookside Cemetery. (By the time of their deaths, Bjarni was living at Yardley Pennsylvania.)

The Preusantanz family, (some members used the anglicized last name of Price), were the next to call 623 Simcoe home. It consisted of Henry, a mechanic at Great West Saddlery, his wife, Amalia (Molly), and their three children: Henry Jr.; Freda; and Molly. For the first few years, Henry Sr.’s father, Fred, also lived at the home and worked at the saddlery until he retired around 1950.

George Michails, Mrs. Preusantanz father, died at the home in 1952.

It appears Henry Sr. was also a part-time inventor. He has at least one patent on file for a vending machine coin mechanism with the U.S. patent office.

Henry Sr. died in 1959 and Molly continued to live there for another year.

In late 1960, Edward and Elizabeth Bauer moved in. He was a cleaner with the CPR and she worked at Junior Wear, a clothing manufacturer on McDermot Avenue. They had two sons, Robert and Edward, who were grown by the time their parents moved here. Mrs. Bauer died May 9, 1966 at St. Boniface Hospital.

The history of the house is a bit of a mystery since then.

Digitized versions of Winnipeg's street directories end in 1965. In the late 1970s, newspapers moved away from using full addresses when writing about a person or event, instead using "600 block of Simcoe Street".

The house was still occupied in 2015, but by 2020 was vacant. On February 7, 2021, the house suffered a major fire and will likely be demolished.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

640 Ellice Avenue - Huxley's Cartage

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Huxley's Garage / West Central Women's Resource Centre
Address: 640 Ellice Avenue
Constructed: 1927
Architect: Unknown

December 1, 1922, Winnipeg Free Press

Today, this building is home to the West Central Women’s Resource Centre, but for much of its existence it had more to do with motors than mentors.

The building first appears in street directories in 1927 as the office and garage for Huxley’s Cartage, a company that started business in 1922 at 351 Bannatyne Avenue by William F. Huxley. As the name suggests, it was a moving company but also delivered coal, soil and manure and did small excavation jobs such as digging driveways and levelling land for landscaping projects.

Huxley was born in Barford, England in 1884 and came to Winnipeg in 1902. Edith Dalton was born in Norfolk, England in 1882 and came to Winnipeg in 1905. the two were married in December 1905 by Rev. Samuel Fea at St. Peter's Anglican Church on Selkirk Avenue. , author of Irish Ned, in December 1905.

The couple initially settled at 318 Ellen Street where he was a teamster and she ran a boarding house for lodgers in the upstairs bedrooms. Eventually, they would have three children: daughter Irene and sons William Jr. (Bill), Frank, and John.

Fleet on Ellice Avenue ca. 1932. Far right, Huxley Sr, to his left is son Bill.

(Western Canada Pictorial Index, Herman Holla Collection No. 26391)

In 1922, the family were living at 351 Bannatyne Avenue when William started Huxley Cartage, a moving business that also delivered coal and wood, from the same address. As the company grew, new premises were needed and in 1927 a building permit was issued to construct a new garage and office at 640 Ellice Avenue. The architect and contractor are unknown.

Huxley had to be innovative to keep the company afloat during the Depression. It took on bigger excavation jobs such as the foundations of commercial buildings. (Its biggest contract was the excavation of the Winnipeg Auditorium foundation which required 700 men at a time to dig by hand, but Huxley asked to be released from the contract shortly before work began.)

The company also bid on many government delivery contracts, one of which caused great controversy.

December 6, 1931, Winnipeg Tribune

Huxley’s Cartage won the city contract to deliver firewood to the 269 families on Winnipeg’s Depression relief rolls in late 1931. The company promised quick and efficient service with its fleet of trucks.

Through the 1920s the motorized vehicle was becoming the king of the road, though many industries, including bakeries, dairies, breweries, wood  coal yards, still relied on the old faithful horse and wagon to deliver their products. The contract to deliver wood by truck touched off what the Winnipeg Tribune called “warfare between horse and truck”.

The teamsters who drove the rigs packed council meetings to protest and on several occasions took to the streets to block traffic with as many as 100 rigs. The city negotiated a compromise by making Huxley promise that any of the work his trucks couldn’t handle would be offered to teamsters rather than him buying more trucks. Huxley agreed, but it made no difference in the end. His fleet easily handled the deliveries and no work was available for teamsters who showed up at the city's St. Boniface wood lot each morning.

February 1, 1936, Winnipeg Tribune

In 1936, Huxley’s Cartage heralded the end of another horse-drawn era when they won the Dominion Post Office’s contract to collect the mail from the city’s 300 or so mail boxes. The service officially changed over on February 1, 1936.

Winnipeg was said to be the first major city in Canada to end horse and cart pick-up in favour of motorized vehicles.  Though there was an outpouring of nostalgia for the old service there does not appear to have been the same anger and controversy as seen with the wood delivery contract.

Huxley Sr. would be joined in business by sons Bill, who died in 1947 at the age of 40, and Frank. Frank was president of the company when it closed in 1973. Its trucks and other equipment were auctioned off in August.

Undated. Source: C. Gurman on Flickr

The next long-term business to call 640 Ellice Avenue home was Wheelsport in 1977. It sold and repaired motorcycles and was a Kawasaki dealership. It stayed until about 1987.

By 1989, the building was home John and Maria Salgueiro's JS Furniture and More. The company started in 1974 and besides furniture sold appliances and gift wear.  In 2009, it moved further east on Ellice Avenue.

In 2010, the building became home to the West Central Women’s Resource Centre. The organization was created in 1999 to empower women to help themselves, their families and their community to safer, healthier lifestyles.

Friday, December 11, 2020

144 Scotia Street - Former Scotia Grocery

 © 2020, Christian Cassidy

Image: @steveosnyder on Twitter

Place: Former Scotia Grocery
Address: 144 Scotia Street
Constructed: ca. 1911

1911 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

The building permit for the house at 144 Scotia was issued in 1911. The first owners can be found living there a year later.

Walter and Johanna Johnson, both 56, were immigrants from Iceland who came to Canada in 1881. The 1911 census indicates there were no children living with them, though by that age any children they had would have been grown. I couldn't find an obituary for either one.

Initially, Johnson operated a shoe repair shop from the house, but the following year decided that a grocery store might be more profitable. The couple worked in the store and lived above it.

December 2, 1914, Winnipeg Free Press

The Johnsons tried renting out the house portion in late 1914 / early 1915. This may have been to take advantage of the scramble for smaller housing units as families downsized when the "man of the house" went off to war. It was listed as a 5 room bungalow for $14 per month.

The rental idea may not have been successful as street directories show that they continued to live above the store until around 1921. That year, they rented the residence to Allan Stayler, a warehouseman at J. D. Perrin and Co., and moved next door to number 142 Scotia Street.

June 23, 1923 (top) and July 6, 1924, Winnipeg Free Press

In the summer of 1923, the Johnsons placed ads to sell or lease the grocery store after having been "called away" from the city. I couldn't find any details about what happened was. The ads ran on and off for over a year.

What appears to have been a short term rental was made in 1923 to A. W. Windish. He and a store clerk named John Haggarty lived in the residential section.

November 23, 1925, Winnipeg Tribune

The store finally got a new owner and a new name in 1925.

Harold Albert Lacey and wife Ethel came to Canada from their native England in 1907. Prior to this, they operated a grocery store at 1630 Portage Avenue at St. James Street. According to the 1926 census they lived in the residential portion of the building with 19-year-old daughter Dorothy who worked as a clerk at the store.

It was the Laceys that christened the store Scotia Grocery; a name that stayed around for decades to come.

The Laceys began renting out the residence in June 1926. Dorothy got married in 1928 and in 1930 Mr. and Mrs. Lacey leave the store and do not appear in subsequent street directories. This suggests that they may have left town. Classifieds ads in April of that year show they were also trying to rent a five-room unfurnished house in Transcona for May 1st.

For the next couple of decades there were a series of shorter term owners. This could mean that the store was rented out. The proprietors were: A Seifert (1931-32); W. Panting (1934); and Thomas J. Wilson (1935).

144 Scotia Street in 2009 (Google Street View)

In late 1935 or early 1936, Harry and Nelly Serkin took over and brought some stability to the business.

The Serkins had previously run a grocery store on Assiniboine Avenue. (In October 1934, an armed gunman entered the store, stuck a revolver in Mr. Sarkin's ribs, and made him empty the till.)

The Sarkins also invested in the building. In 1937, they hired builder N. Popeski who took out an $1,800 building permit to make alterations and an addition.

Benjamin and Ida Meyers took over in 1947.  They ran the store and lived above it until the early 1950s.

The string of short term owners continued. Checking street directories at five year intervals until the last one available online shows: 1950 - Benjamin and Ida Meyers; 1955 - Sid and Eva Winestock; 1960 - Ben and Jean Sosnowicz; 1965 - Jean Wozny.

May 8, 2001, Winnipeg Free Press

The store was purchased by the Wozny's in 1963.

Jean and Walter Wozny were from Garson, Manitoba where they farmed and then ran the local grocery store. They relocated to 130 Scotia Street in Winnipeg with their teenage sons, Lloyd and Leonard, in 1960. Walter got work as a machine operator with the city and Jean worked as a cashier at a Dominion grocery store.

The family moved into the residential portion of the building. Jean ran the store while Walter continued to work for the city.

May 17, 1976, Winnipeg Free Press

The last year that this address or Scotia Grocery is mentioned in newspapers comes in 1976.

The business and building were put up for sale in the spring. It is unclear if this was by the Wozny's as the listing was handled by a real estate agent.

The store was still operating in November 1976 as the lone female clerk was robbed late that month.

1911 Hathaway's Map of Winnipeg (source)

It was pointed out on Twitter that this is an odd location for a store as it sits in the middle of a residential block. At first, I thought maybe it WAS at the end of a block at one time. After all, Scotia is a bunch of riverside lanes that were stitched together as owners gave up their river lots.

Looking at the years the building permits were issued for this block, west side of Scotia Street from  Inkster to Lansdowne, does not support this theory. The neighbouring house at 142 was built in 1907, this house was built in 1911, and the rest were built just two years later. Here's the lineup: 152 – 1913; 150 – 1913; 144 – 1911; 142 -1907; 138 – 1913; 134 – 1913; 130 – 1913.

That being said, it is not that strange to have a store in the middle of a block. There are a few early 1900s examples in the West End. At the time, the city was not concerned with mixing commercial and residential uses and if that's the lot you could afford, you built on it.

This was built initially as a shoe repair shop, so a prime location was probably not as big a concern as it would have been if someone was scouting for a grocery store. Perhaps that's why it had many short term owners. A mid-block location at the side of a river resulted in a pretty limited customer catchment area.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

1400 Rothesay Street - Chief Peguis School

 © 2020, Christian Cassidy

Place: Chief Peguis Junior High (website)
Address: 1400 Rothesay Street (map)
Officially Opened: April 23, 1970
Architect: Ward and Macdonald and Partners
Builders: B. F. Klassen Construction Ltd.

The North Kildonan School Board began planning for two new schools in early 1966. One was an elementary school expansion at what is now John Pritchard School and the other a new junior high on Rothesay Street. This was to keep up with large suburban developments being planned for the formerly semi-rural municipality.

In February 1967, North Kildonan town council purchased the property of Victor and William Janzen for $4,500 an acre and a second, smaller property along Sutton Street to donate to the school board for the junior high. (The following year, it purchased another six acres north of the school site for a recreation centre.)

The school division turned to architects Ward and Macdonald to design the building. The firm dated back to 1912 and in the 1960s began specializing in schools. It had already done work in North Kildonan on River East Collegiate (1961) and Maple Leaf School (1961). Other works included Garden City Collegiate (1964) and W. C. Miller Collegiate in Altona (1964. They also designed the Winnipeg Centennial Library (1975).

B. F. Klassen Construction Ltd. was awarded the construction contract in November 1968 and the sod turning ceremony took place the following month.

The school division announced during the construction phase that the school would be named in honour of Chief Peguis. The Salteaux chief who lived from ca. 1774 to 1864 brought his people to Manitoba in the 1790s. The Selkirk Settlers were able to survive their initial years here thanks in large part to his friendship and cooperation. 

The $1.8 million school was to be ready in time for the start of the 1969 school year, but construction fell behind schedule. Some students began attending classes in September 1969 with staggered hours, mornings only, and some of amenities not yet ready.

The official opening ceremony for the school was held off until April 23, 1970.

There was a day-long open house with a cornerstone laying ceremony by James Smith, chair of the River East School Division, at 4:00 pm. This was followed by a traditional dance by the Peguis Pow Wow and Cultural Group from Peguis First Nation.

That evening at 7:30 was the formal program with an evening full of entertainment and speeches.

Premier Ed Schreyer had the honour of officially opening the school. Keys were then presented to the architect, builder, school board chair, superintendent of schools and principal Harry Schmidt. Also in attendance and receiving special presentations were Chief Albert Edward Thompson, Peguis’ great-great-grandson and chief of Peguis First Nation, and Amy Louise Clemons, his great-great-granddaughter and the executive director of the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre in Selkirk.

Several artefacts once belonging to Chief Peguis were also on display.

The school was built to accommodate 900 children ranging from grades 7 to 9. It featured 36 classrooms with movable walls so that they could be expanded, contracted, or combined. There were also industrial shops, a gymnasium, home ec area, and a central library or material resource centre. Its most impressive feature was the 320-seat theatre with full stage that a visitor described as one "like any downtown".

Attendance was reportedly near its 900 pupil capacity when the school opened. Over time, as the average size of families declined and other area schools expanded, that number dropped in 1990 to less than 700.

The school became a Middle School starting in the 2014 - 2015 school year. The current attendance is around 450 pupils from grades 6 to 8. It also offers German Bilingual or Ukrainian Bilingual studies.

The largest expansion to the school can't be seen from above ground.

Laurence Bertram and Bob Garnett created an organization in 1991 to explore the feasibility of turning the unused basement level of Chief Peguis School into a $500,000, 23,000 square foot fitness centre featuring a weight room, indoor track and aerobics studio.

After years of private fundraising and an infrastructure grant, ground was broken on the in the summer of 1996 and the Peguis Trail Health & Fitness Centre was officially opened October 1. In 1997, the city’s Parks and Recreation department took over the running of the centre.   

Famous Alumni of the school include Olympic gold medal curler Jill Officer  and former Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth (1977-79).

The school was to have celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020. Events planned for April had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

My Flickr album of Chief Peguis School

Friday, November 20, 2020

53 Maryland Street - Bella Vista Restaurant

© 2020, Christian Cassidy

Place: Bella Vista Restaurant
Address: 53 Maryland Street
Constructed: ca. 1907
Summary:  ca. 1907 to 1914 - Residence
                    ca. 1914 to 1933 - Grocery store
                    ca. 1933 to 1968 - Drug store
                    ca. 1968 to present - Restaurant

The residential portion of 53 Maryland Street existed before the commercial extension. it is unclear who took out the building permit.

The house first appears in street directories in 1907 owned by John Nicholson, a driver by trade. To help pay the mortgage he had roomers. A constant one from 1907 to 1910 was
Henry M. Bathurst, a partner in West, Porteous and Co. Real Estate. The company dissolved in June 1909 and the following year he and Nicholson were gone.

It became home to the Naylor family in 1910.
Harry P. Naylor was director of Harry P Naylor and Co. Real Estate. The 1911 census shows he and wife Jennie, both 41, lived there with their six children ages 6 to 17.

By 1914, the family of Murray M. Kellough resided there. Kellough was the first to operate a commercial establishment from the site: M. Kellough Grocery. The family lived in the residential portion at the rear of the store.

George T Mayes took over the grocery store in 1917. He also operated a store at 1588 Pacific in the Weston neighbourhood. Mayes ran it until 1920 when he sold up after buying another store on Portage Avenue.

1920s developments near Maryland and Wolseley

In 1920, the store became known as Campbell Grocery Ltd.. The proprietor was John A. Campbell who lived at 132 Evanson Street with his wife, Cora, and daughter, Ruth.

Campbell took over the store at the dawn of a very busy decade for the intersection.

The original Maryland Bridge, built in the 1890s, had long been crumbling. By 1920, vehicle traffic on the bridge had been limited so that cars not could travel within 250 feet of each other and at a speed no greater than 5 miles per hour. Street car traffic had also been banned. That changed in 1921 with the opening of a new, multi-lane bridge.

The 20-classroom Gordon Bell Junior High School was constructed in 1926 kitty corner from the store along Maryland Street.

Misericordia Hospital opened a new 75-bed wing on Wolseley Avenue in 1927.

Campbell's business did well with all this new development around it. Around 1932, still in the depths of the Depression, he relocated to larger premises just a block away at 55 Sherbrook Street, now Cousin's Deli.

In 1933, the store became home to a drug store called Campbell Drug Ltd. operated by Charles W. Campbell and J Frank Holland. (It is unclear if the two Campbells were related as it was a very common name in early Winnipeg.)

C. W. Campbell was already the proprietor of Campbell's Drug Store at Hargrave Street at St. Mary's Avenue. Holland, originally from Dugald, Manitoba, graduated from the School of Pharmacy at the U of M in 1928, and worked for him. In this new venture Holland managed the store while Campbell continued to run the downtown location.

1933 was a particularly good year for Campbell as he also married Helen Dougall that July. She was a teacher by trade and, according to a student roll published in a 1921 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune, both attended St. John's Technical High School together in different classes. It is unclear if that is when they first met.

They were certainly an item by 1931 as they attended a Canadian Pharmaceutical Association gala dinner at the Hotel Fort Garry together. 

After their marriage, Helen resigned her teaching job, as required at the time, and the two settled at 701 Wolseley where they raised at least one child, Trevor.

Armed robberies of drug stores were a fairly common occurrence at the time.

The downtown store had a high profile robbery in 1931 that resulted in a female customer being shot in the abdomen. She barely survived. and barely survived. Holland's store was held up at gunpoint at least twice. Once was in 1941 when a dimwitted bandit got off with just $3. A 1949 robbery was more serious as Holland, his wife, a delivery boy, and a customer were forced to lie on the floor at gunpoint while the robber stole $130 in cash.

Holland became sole owner of the store in 1958 and the name was changed to Holland's Pharmacy. By this time he and Helen lived at 76 Cornish Avenue.

Holland was also involved in both the Manitoba and Canadian Pharmaceutical Associations, serving as president of the former from 1960 to 1962. He was also a founding member of the Broadway Optimist Community Club.

Holland retired from business in 1968 and died at his home on August 24, 1970 at the age of 65. Helen died in October 1983.

With Holland's retirement the building's more than half century as a retail store came to an end.

August 29, 1968, Winnipeg Tribune

It didn't take long before the space got a new owner. Help wanted classified ads began appearing in June 1968 looking for staff for a new Gondola Pizza restaurant. It opened in August as the ninth store in the local chain.

The last ads for it as a Gondola Pizza location come in February 1979.

December 1, 1980, Winnipeg Free Press

The building continued on as a restaurant in August 1979* with the opening of Bella Vista Restaurant a and Pizzaria by Armand Colosimo along with an uncle and brother.

(Note: a couple of modern newspaper articles say that 1976 is the year the restaurant opened, which can't be true. It was advertised regularly as a Gondola Pizza until early 1979. It likely wasn't Colisimo and co. who ran the Gondola restaurant as its owner and manger were both arrested in December 1977 and neither had that last name.)

October 4, 1979, Winnipeg Tribune

The first restaurant review for the Bella Vista can be found in an October 1979 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune. The reviewer described it as "A small, intimate room with about 32 seats, it has an extensive menu, attentive service and a developing clientele of Italian families." (See above.)

As the 1980s progressed, you were more likely to see a reference to the Bella Vista in the "Who's Playing" section than the
"Dining Out" section of the paper. By 1986, it had gained a reputation as an intimate live jazz spot on weekends. As time went on, the scope of performers expanded to include blues, folk and rock music.

In 2019, Colosimo, 66, sold the Bella Vista to former cafe owner Ross Jeffers, though he remained on staff. The property was put up for sale in 2020 and its purchase was announced in November 2020.

It is unclear what will become of the building. Under construction next door, and taking up the remainder of the block, is a ten-storey seniors residence that may want the property for loading or parking.