Saturday, July 24, 2021

680 Victor Street- Commercial Building (R.I.P.)

 © 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former West End Food Market
Address: 678 - 682 Victor Street (Map)
Constructed: 1906 (Demolished 2021)
Contractor: Unknown

August 26, 1909, Heimskringla

December 10, 1908, Heimskringla

This two-storey building was constructed in 1906 and took up addresses 678 - 682 Sargent Avenue. Initially, it contained a single retail unit on the main floor and two residential suites upstairs. It is unclear who designed or constructed the building.

This was very early for Sargent Avenue as the area around it was only subdivided for residential development starting around 1904. It was likely the third oldest building left on Sargent after Balmoral Court (1905) and the Johnson Block / Miller Block (1905).

The first retail tenant was Clemens and Arnason Grocery. The proprietors were Thorkell J Clemens of 445 Maryland Street and Gudmunder Arnason of 562 Sherbrook Street. They were joined the following year by Svein Palmason and the store's name was expanded to reflect this.

Thorkell was the brother of prolific West End architect Paul Melsted Clemens. In fact, the Maryland Street address where he lived was the home of his brother and his family.

Source: Almanak Ólafs S. Thorgeirssonar, 1911

The makeup of the building changed in 1910. The grocery was taken over by brothers John and Sigurdur Finnbogason who lived together at 691 Victor Street.

It also marked the first year that residential tenants were listed in the two upstairs suites. They were George Bennett, baker, and Robert McDonald, a cab driver at the Winnipeg Cab Company, and M. McDonald.

The Finnbogassons only lasted a year or so and the grocery had a number of proprietors over the next few years, including Brynjolfur Arnason, Bjorn Methusalemson, and Johan Thorgeirson.

In 1919, the grocery became known as the West End Food Market. The original proprietors were Steindor Jakobsson and Jakob F. Kritjansson.

In an essay entitled Christmas in Icelandic Winnipeg, 1920, author L.K. Bertram writes: "This English-sounding store is packed to the gills with Icelandic Christmas food. People are grabbing hangikjöt (smoked lamb or mutton) wrapped in paper, harðfiskur (dried fish eaten with butter), and fresh salmon imported for the holidays."

December 17, 1923, Heimskirngla

The West End Food Market was joined in 1922 by Radio Confectionery at the 678 address. The candy shop, ice cream parlour, and tea room took over the entire main floor the following year.

The original proprietors of Radio Confectionery were Harry Dumas and Chris Kelekis. Kelekis would go on to sell candies by pushcart and in 1931 started a chip wagon that eventually became the iconic Kelekis Restaurant.

Radio Confectionery closed around 1927 though it was reborn a couple of years later on Hargrave Street.

The main floor of 680 Victor remained empty for a year then housed some short-term businesses, including Modern Ladies clothing store (1929), Stefan Johnson's Boots and Shoes (1930), Nellie McSkimmings' flower shop (1929 to 1933), and West End Book Store (1935).

Jakobson returned in 1939 and re-established West End Food Market. He managed it until around 1950 when M. Murphy took over. When Murphy went out of business in 1956, Jakobsson reopened it and ran it until 1958.

Left: Steindor escorts 1941 Maid of the Mountain
Right: Halldora as Maid of the Moutnain in 1938

Considering the number of times over the decades he ran a business here, it is likely that Jakobsson owned the building.

Steindor Jakobbson was born in Iceland and came to Winnipeg in 1913 as a nineteen-year-old and trained as a butcher. His wife, Halldora, was born in Duluth and came to Winnipeg with her parents in 1908. They had two sons, Brian and Steindor ("Steini").

The couple were heavily involved in the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba. Steindor served as president from 1946 to 1948. Halldora was on many festival committees and was Maid of the Mountain in 1938.

The family home was at 676 Agnes Street through the 1920s and 30s. By 1946, they had moved to 800 Banning Street where they remained until Steindor's death in 1965.

April 22, 1997, Winnipeg Free Press

The building would not have a tenant that took up the entire main floor again.

The 678 address housed a number of short-term restaurants through the 1960s, including: Honcho's Hacienda Restaurant No. 2 - E. Cox proprietor; Susie's Inn - Susie Turi, proprietor; and Edward's Grill - Ann Loiselle, manager. In the early 1970s it was Nanwah Chop Suey House then The Soup Bowl.

The 682 address housed and upholstery shop in the early 1970s, Apollo's Travel Agency from the late 1970s to early 1990s, and from at least 1997 to 2017 was home to Divinity Hair Designs. In 2018, it returned to its roots as a grocery store with the short-lived Crown Grocery.

May 21, 1938, Winnipeg Tribune

The two suites may have become three suites in the 1960s. A 2019 era online rental ad described suite 1 as a 2 bedroom, 700 square foot apartment for $650 a month.

Hundreds of tenants came and went over the decades.  This included The Chapmans who celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary there in 1938.

Tragedy struck the residential portion of the building in 1996 when an eight-year-old boy killed Crystal Ducharme, his thirteen-year-old babysitter. The boy found a loaded gun his father kept in the suite and fired it at the girl. Police said they considered the shooting a homicide but due to the boy's age he could not be charged.

In July 2021, the building was demolished. It is unclear what will become of the property.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

455 Lipton Street - Private dwelling

 © 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Private dwelling
455 Lipton Street (map)

The house at 455 Lipton Street will soon be torn down. Its 50-foot lot will be subdivided so that two new houses can be built.

According to city assessment records, the building permit for this two-storey, 2,156 square foot house was issued in 1906. This is early for this area as the street likely wasn’t properly subdivided by the city to add proper lot lines, boulevards, sidewalks and sewer lines, until closer to 1910.

This block of Lipton Street between St. Matthews and Ellice took longer than the rest of the street to develop. There were just five houses listed on both sides until 1908.

This address does not appear in street directories until the 1910 edition, which would have been compiled in late 1909. This doesn’t mean that the 1906 date of the building permit is incorrect. The fact that it has a double size lot, 50 foot wide instead of the 25 foot wide for the rest of the block, suggests it may have been built before subdivision took place an may have been renumbered or moved.

1916 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

The first owner listed in street directories is Horatio Daniels, a bartender at Inter-Ocean Hotel, and his wife, Jessie. They would go on to have two daughters here in 1911 and 1915. 

The Daniels also rented out a couple of suites. In 1910, their lodgers were Samuel Quinn, a plumber, and Annie Blurton, a bookbinder.  A couple of years later, Quinn was still there and also working as a bartender at the Inter Ocean Hotel. The other lodger was Stephen Tyrrell, a waiter at the same hotel.

Inter Ocean Hotel under red arrow. (McInnis Postcard Collection)

The Inter Ocean Hotel, located near Lombard Avenue, was one of the jumble of dozens of hotels along Main Street. It as short lived, opening in 1905 and shutting down in 1913 when a neighbouring bank took it over to expand their headquarters.  

Daniels ended up becoming assistant manager of the St. Charles Hotel and by 1917 was manager of the cafe at the St. Regis Hotel.

By 1918, the Daniels family had moved to Empress Street. Horatio would go on to have a long career at Shea’s Brewery.

April 9, 1919, Winnipeg Free Press

The next family to call 455 Lipton home were the Robertsons. George worked for the city's streetcar company.

To give an idea of what homeowners may have used all that extra property for, Mrs. Robertson took out classified ads selling Wyandotte chicken eggs and cocks.

1926 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

Around 1924, the Robertsons left and the McQuade and family moved in. David McQuade was vice president of the T. R. Dunn Lumber Company.

The McQuades had at least three daughters. Evelyn married in 1939. When Shirley married in 1951, a tea was held for her at the house. Leigh Joan Horricks, a daughter of Mrs. McQuade from a  previous marriage, was wed in a candlelight ceremony at the home in May 1952.

The Maple Leaf, Belgian Edition, January 12, 1945

The McQuades took in lodgers during World War II. One of them, Evelyn Graw, gave birth to a daughter in April 1944 while her husband, Captain Walter Graw, was serving overseas.

Walter Graw worked for the YMCA and signed up for the YMCA's War Services Program. War Services catered to the cultural and recreations needs of soldiers, from operating lending libraries to providing exercise classes. Graw signed up in 1942 and served in Winnipeg and Carberry. He was one of 12 YMCA men who arrived in France in July 1944.

It appears that Graw survived the war and was able to return home to see his daughter.

Odds and ends for 455 Lipton:

December 21, 1937, Winnipeg Tribune

May 29, 1952, Winnipeg Free Press

June 20, 1972, Winnipeg Free Press

Saturday, July 3, 2021

549 Arlington - Private dwelling

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Source: Google Street View

Place: Private Residence
Address: 549 Arlington Street (Map)
Constructed: 1910

It appears that the little house at 549 Arlington Street will be demolished soon. It and its side yard are going to be converted into two separate lots so that two new houses can be built on them, (see below). Here's a look back at its history.

This 720 square foot house was built in 1910. This was in the early stages of development for Arlington Street north of Portage Avenue. At the time, there were only nine houses listed in the street directory between St. Matthews and Sargent - four of them still under construction.

This and the neighbouring house at 551, which has the exact same square footage and may have started out as a twin to 549, were the only neighbouring houses on these blocks.

The Paynes. 1926 census of Canada

There were numerous residents of the house in its first couple of decades suggesting it may have been a  rental property.

The first to live there was Frederick Fitzsimmons, no occupation given. From about 1912 to 1914 it was home to the family of Leslie Powell of Wood Powell Real Estate. Next was Sydney Shee who would go on to be a big-wig in the electrical workers union in the 1940s and 50s. Thomas Evans, a pressman at the Winnipeg Free Press, lived there in 1918 with a lodger named Leonard Rinton, a caretaker at the Winnipeg Free Press building.

The house found stable ownership in 1919 when the Paynes moved in. John Thomas Payne came from England in 1906 and six years later began a career as a painter at the CPR's Weston Shops. Katheryn Payne was born in Ontario. It appears the couple had no children.

Payne died at the age 62 in February 1932 in General Hospital. His widow moved out the following year.

In 1941, Cleveland B. McLean and his wife, Mary, moved in and spent the entire decade. He was an engineman with the CPR.

There are two decorated Second World War soldiers with connections to this house.

Mary McLean was aunt to Lance Corporal George Thomas Nugent. Born in England, he came to Canada as a young boy and grew up in St. James. He enlisted January 6, 1940 with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and went overseas in August.

Mary McLean was the next of kin listed by Nugent on his attestation papers. It appears he was single and sometimes single men got rid of their own rented accommodation and moved in with relatives before being deployed.

Nugent was wounded at the Dieppe Raid in August 1942. In August 1943, he returned home on leave with 17 other Camerons then went to live at 549 Arlington Street.

Nugent was decorated for gallantry at Dieppe. According to his recommendation for the Military Medal:

“At the Deippe Action, 19 Aug 1942, this NCO (non-commissioned officer) showed initiative, determination and coolness, in getting his section forward and engaging in offensive action. On one occasion his platoon came under fire from enemy snipers in a grain field. He organized his section under cover and then, covered by the fire of his own Bren Group, led the remainder of his section (on) attack across 150 yards of open ground, the only possible line of approach. He disposed of the snipers and cleared to houses, effectively dealing with all opposition, and allowing the platoon to advance.  Later, although wounded, he successfully organized and controlled the withdrawal and brought his section back to the beach with a minimum number of casualties, His bearing, conduct, and leadership were admirable throughout.”

When his leave was over, Nugent returned to battle and was wounded again in September 1944. He returned home from service on CPR train 1785 in August 1945 with the rank of sergeant. (See obituary below.)

December 21, 1940, Winnipeg Free Press

The second solider with a connection to this house is Private Charles Albert Lowen of Winnipeg. A member of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, he was commended for gallantry when he spent more than an hour  under “difficult conditions” to extricate a civilian trapped in his bombed-out London home.

Lowen married Kathleen Hurak in Winnipeg in February 1940. She lived at 549 Arlington Street. It is unclear what connection she had with the McLean family or if she was just a lodger. Not long after the wedding and Lowen being deployed, she relocated to Toronto.

April 19, 1945, Winnipeg Free Press

It appears that Lowen received more citations.

In 1943, Charles Albert Willoby Lowen of the PPCLI was awarded the Military Medal for actions for actions in Italy in August 1944. While under sniper fire he cleared a lane for stretcher bearers to reach injured men in his platoon. He sustained injuries to his hand and arm when a landmine exploded. The recommendation concludes: "The coolness and skill of Corporal Lowen, coupled with his complete disregard for his personal safety, enabled the remainder of the company to reach the objective without casualties and enabled the wounded men to be recovered."

In 1943, Lowen was also awarded the British Empire Medal. Details about what this award was for are unclear.

October 9, 1963, Winnipeg Free Press

By the 1960s, 549 Arlington and the similar looking house next door were owned by Alan McFadyen who rented them out as income properties.

On October 1, 1963, George and Florence Petty, siblings in their fifties, moved in. The two had previously lived together in an apartment on Ellice Avenue.

George Petty, 55, was a Veteran of World War II and was missing a leg. According to street directories, he was "retired". Florence was a long-time employee of Western Bakeries on Portage Avenue.

On October 9, 1963, just eight days after moving in, Florence was at work when a fireball erupted in the house. McFadyen, who was doing repairs at the neighbouring house, tried to enter to rescue George, but flames pushed him back.

The fire killed George and did extensive damage to the home's interior.

What caused the fireball is unclear. George's body was found on the ground in the living room with a can of what may have been gasoline near him.

September 7, 1985, Winnipeg Free Press

The house has had an unremarkable life since then.

In the late 1970s it was home to widow named Annie Todd who died there in 1979. 

The last newspaper mention of the house is a for sale ad in 1985 listing it for $44,900.

Posted on lawn of house, June 2021

Nugent obituary

Monday, May 31, 2021

595 Broadway - Safeway / Ting Tea Room

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Safeway / Ting Tea Room
Address: 595 Broadway (Map)
Constructed: 1929
Architect: Safeway
Builder: W. J. Lailey
Cost: $12,000

Urban development at this address began around 1900 with a residential property. The last owner of the house appears to have been fireman Fred Colvin who lived there with two lodgers in 1928.

The property was then purchased by American grocery giant Safeway. The company entered the Canadian market in 1929 and established its head office in Winnipeg.

October 18, 1929, Winnipeg Free Press

Unlike smaller, independent chains that cobbled together stores that varied in size and appearance, Safeway had the capital to custom-build its stores from scratch in 'cookie cutter' fashion. Their identical appearance featuring a large front window and terra-cotta tiled roofline meant that customers could recognize a Safeway store form far off and knew that once inside, the same products could be found in the same place.

Safeway built dozens of these 1929 design stores around the city. The building permits for the first eight, including 595 Broadway, were issued in June 1929 to builder W. J. Lailey and cost around $12,000 each. They all opened for business on October 18, 1929.

To stay on top of the grocery game, Safeway introduced a new prototype store every decade or so. With each generation the stores and their parking lots - which the 1929 stores did not have - grew bigger.

Some of these 1929 stores remained Safeways for decades to come, but the West Broadway neighbourhood was one of the first to get the 1930s generation store. It opened a block away at Broadway and Young in March 1940. It is now Pals' Supermarket.

The old Safeway was put up for sale and spent a couple of years on the market before becoming the short-lived second location for Royal Bakery. The original location was at 472 St. Mary's Road and owned by Mr. A. DeMoor.

The building then began a long run in the restaurant business.

In 1944, brothers Nick and Spero Christakos opened the Silver Grill here. This was their fifth location, the others being at 104 Osborne, 172 Main, 201 Notre Dame and 437 Portage.

Nick, who appears to have managed this location, came to Winnipeg from Greece in 1923 at the age of 26 and was involved in a  number of restaurant ventures. (Both he and Spero are uncles of Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame.)

In 1948, Nick applied to have the neighbouring property made into a dance hall that would be associated with the restaurant. At the rezoning hearing, a number of neighbours appeared in opposition to the request. Nick told them that he didn't want to run an actual dance hall, but needed that licence to be able to have banquets there. The application and later appeal were rejected. (A compromise must have been worked out as in the early 1950s there are newspaper mentions of banquets and public meetings being held at the 'Silver Grill hall' on Broadway).

By 1953, there were just two Silver Grills: 104 Osborne and 595 Broadway, the latter managed by Hans Fries. Fries changed the name in 1954 to Banquet Grill.

The Banquet Grill changed hands often. By 1957, Sam S. Wong of 666 1/2 Main Street was proprietor. By 1960, it was Keith Wong who changed the name around 1961 to Broadway Cafe, (Wong is sometimes listed in street directories as co-proprietor with Thomas Mah.)

In the late 1960s, the building was home to Oriental Pearl restaurant and in 1970 it became the Greek Village restaurant and coffee house.

Another short-term incarnation - but one with a lasting impact - came in 1971 when it became the Ting Tea Room.

"The Ting" opened at the tail end of the coffee house era and was a throwback to the hippie culture that took root in West Broadway and Osborne Village in the 1960s.

One newspaper article from the day noted that as the drinking age and other liquor laws were relaxed in Manitoba through the 1960s, many hotels remodelled their bars to become live music venues with small stages and large audio systems catering to rock and pop music. There were, however, many who still wanted to listen to acoustic music or poetry without the din of a bar in the background.

Coffee houses or tea rooms were a place to do this and were so named because they did not have liquor licenses.

The Ting opened around February 1971 featuring a restaurant, mediation room, and a small store taht sold local handicrafts.

In his Sound Tracks column in the March 5, 1971 edition of The Manitoban, Paul Sullivan wrote: "The Ting on Broadway... is fulla freaks and other interested folk. It is probably the only place in town where you can get a good Dagwood sandwich better than Mom makes, orange juice, mint tea, soup with croutons and whole onions, potato chips, and a highly imaginative pickle plate, all in one meal and cheap. Specializes in organic food for the purists and all sorts of neat stuff for the unclean."

Gene Telpner noted in a 1975 Winnipeg Tribune column that: "The Ting... is about the only place in the city that consistently books folk singers and gives locals a chance to get exposure."

Performers who graced the Ting's stage include Rick Neufeld, Ken Cooper, Lenny Breau, Roy "Bim" Forbes, Valdy, Ian Gardiner, and prog-rock band Ptarmigan. (Google "The Ting" and "Winnipeg" for various references to artists who have played there. It still has a Facebook fan page!)

The Ting underwent at least three changes in management. Two obituaries that mention having once managed or owned the establishment are those of Kenneth Chambers, (above) and Roggi Petursson.

In March 1975, Gene Telpner noted in his column that The Ting was undergoing another change in management, writing, "in recent months the Ting has had slack times with the exception of Sunday night sessions" and expressed hope that it could be rejuvenated.

Sadly, it could not. The Ting closed a few months later. Its last night was August 16, 1975 and featured a lineup of musicians and poets who staged "A Requiem for the Ting".

August 30, 1975, Winnipeg Free Press

This wasn't the end for 595 Broadway as a coffee house. It reopened in September 1975 under the name Easy Street with owners Jerry Ackerman, a university professor, and his wife, Caroline, who had just authored a successful cook book.

The Ackermans redecorated the place with large round tables, old barn lamps, and "quaint schoolhouse-style chairs donated by a convent." Opening night on Tuesday, September 2, 1975 featured jazz pianist Mark Rutherford and vocalist Dianne Heatherington.

When asked by a reporter what he thought about Easy Street's chances of success as Winnipeg's last coffee house, Jerry Ackerman said, "We're optimistic, but not starry-eyed..."

Easy Street hosted artists such as Ron Paley, Dianne Heatherington, Tom Jackson, and Ray Materick, but soon ran into trouble.

In March 1976, ads in the Winnipeg Tribune sought "Superhero-heroine(s)" as investors / managers to for Easy Street. The following month, the ads read "Easy Street is for sale" and in need of "fresh ownership, energy and enthusiasm".

Easy Street disappeared from the "club scene" pages of local newspapers at the end of May 1976.

November 5, 1976, Winnipeg Tribune

The restaurant theme continued with India Curry House. Adarsh and Om Prakash, who were raised near Delhi, opened the original India Curry House in 1974 on St. Mary's Road. One review said it was Winnipeg's only Indian restaurant. Eighteen months later, they relocated to 595 Broadway.

In a 1980 restaurant review for the Winnipeg Free Press, Marian Warhaft noted that ownership had changed hands since it first opened.

India Curry House, which received consistently good reviews, stayed at this location until 1995 and had outlasted any of the building's previous incarnations, including Safeway.

June 14, 1996, Winnipeg Free Press

In February 1996, the restaurant reopened under the name Best of Sri Lanka. A 1996 ad stated: "June Gomes' best Sri Lankan cuisine is now showcased in her restaurant."

The venture only seems to have lasted for a year.

In the early 2000s, the building became the workshop for Wood ’n’ Stone, a company that built cabinets and stone fireplaces.

In 2014, it was extensively renovated and became West Broadway Pharmacy, part of the local Northway Pharmacy chain.

Other recent West Broadway posts:

Broadway Pharmacy
Wannabees Diner

Friday, May 14, 2021

655 St. Matthews Avenue - Private Residence

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Private Residence
Address: 655 St. Matthews Avenue
Constructed: 1905
Builder: W. W. Fleming?

Neighbourhood Background:

Prior to 1882, the City of Winnipeg’s western limits were Boundary Road, now Maryland Street. It was then extended to what is now St. James Avenue. Suburban development didn’t come to the land west of Maryland until 1904 – 05 when the city started the process of properly subdividing it into a grid system of streets with boulevards, sidewalks and sewers.  

St. Matthews Avenue first appears in the 1900 street directory as Livinia Street. It was a lane with no homes on it connecting Maryland Street to Agnes Street, which did not connect to Portage Avenue at the time. By 1911, the street was extended past Arlington Street to around Ingersoll to allow access to Greenway School, built in 1909 - 1910. It then faded out and picked up again around Clifton Street and ran to the city limits.

Left: Date unknown, St. Matthews Church Archives
Right: January 28, 1913, Winnipeg Tribune

St. Matthews Anglican Church on the next block has had a major impact on the house and its occupants.

In 1911, construction was halted on the church's foundation when the city realized where how far south on the lot it was being built. There was a plan on the books, obviously not known by the property department, to widen Livinia by some five metres on the north side. This likely would have meant the demolition of the five houses on the block as the roadway would have been right on their doorstep.

The church argued that its plans were already drawn and the structural steel and bricks ordered. Such a change would force them to completely redesign the building and the building material would be wasted. The city backed down and let construction proceed. The street was never widened.

In October 1913, a petition was received by city council asking that the name of the street be changed from Livnia Street to St. Matthews Avenue. Council agreed and the name change took place soon after the church opened in November.

November 13, 1944, Winnipeg Tribune

In November 1944, a fire burned the church to the ground. It was a combination of the efforts of firefighters, a favourable wind direction, and just plain luck, that this block of houses were not destroyed by embers or falling debris. The church soon rebuilt a near replica of its former building.

The church was more than a place for religious services. With its large basement hall, it hosted after school programs, Sunday school, operated a sports league for kids and was the home to a Girl Guide and Boy scout troupe.

During World War I, it was home to It was also home to the Winnipeg Infantry Regiment Reserve Militia as their training facility and drill hall. The site became a hub for a range of military activities including social functions, welcome home services that attracted 1,000 or more people, and memorial services.  

The colours of three regiments: the 27th Battalion; the 44th Battalion; and the 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers) were deposited there, so military services and parades would have been a fact of life for its neighbours for many decades.

The House

March 28, 1906, Winnipeg Tribune

In May 1904, in anticipation of the coming subdivision, the first ads for lots for sale on Livinia Street appear in newspapers. Four of the seven houses built between McGee and Agnes, including number 655, had their building permits issued in 1905. The above classified might have been the for slae ad for it.

The daily newspapers covered 'building permits issued' as a regular beat, but somehow all three managed to miss covering these permits and who may have taken them out.

This chart shows that the house had many occupants over its first few years, suggesting this may have started out as a rental property.

The first resident to call it home was builder W. W. Fleming who may have been the one who built it.

Not a lot can be found about Fleming during these years, but from 1930 to 1950 there was a prolific house and small apartment builder named W. W. Fleming. This may have been an early house of his and he may have moved on to a different city or worked under someone else before striking out on his own.

1916 Census of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

It wasn’t until late 1911, when the McCorquodale family arrived, that the home found some stability in its ownership.

The 1916 census shows that the McCorquodales consisted of Frank (27), wife Augusta (24), baby daughter Gladys, and Frank’s widowed mother Frances (53). There was also William (25), likely Franks’s brother, and Harolene Murray (22), Frank's recently married sister. 

From their first appearance in the street directory of 1912 through to the time they moved around 1924, Frank worked as a clerk for the T. Eaton Co.. In 1923, Augusta is listed as a dressmaker working from home.

December 26, 1914, Winnipeg Free Press

A wedding took place at the house on Christmas Day 1914. It would have been an extra joyous event as this was the first Christmas during the solemnity of a World War. 

It was between Harolene, Frank’s sister, and William B. Murray of Scotland. The timing of the wedding, the fact that he was not “from Winnipeg”, and because she is living without him in the home two years later, makes me think that he may have been one of the hundreds of young men who recently arrived in Winnipeg and returned to fight for their home country before they put down firm roots here.
The couple may have been dating and decided to marry before he departed.

Unfortunately, there were 161 “William Murrays” who fought for Canada in the First World War - 25 of them were killed in action. Many more served in the British forces if he decided to enlist there. That’s too many files to go through to try to find out if this is true or not. (Newspapers make no mention of anyone from this address serving in the war.)

The McCorquodales left in 1924 and “for rent” ads taken out by J. J. Swanson and Co. began appearing in May of that year. The house is listed as 6 rooms, modern and “for rent at once” at $35 per month. (It is unclear what happened to the McCorquodales to cause them to move suddenly. In the 1926 census, the four of them can be found rooming with another family in a single-family home on Alverstone Street.)

The house again became a revolving door of tenants or owners until 1935. It was during this period that the house began to rent rooms to multiple lodgers.

In 1929, when J. A. Doyle lived there, ads for a single room for rent first appear. Given the large number of lodgers, it seems that both Mrs. Dickson and Mrs. Anderson may have been running it as a boarding house.

November 18, 1942, Heimskringla (Icelandic newspaper)
(Giftinggarathofn is a wedding garden and heimili is home.
My guess is there was a  wedding reception at the Kristjansson’s
for the Harris – Cotton wedding.)

The next long-term owner came in 1935.

Karl F. Kristjansson was a home decorator who was born in Iceland and married to Vera. It does not appear that they had children, though they often had three or four lodgers at a time.

In 1940 - 41 they rented to Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Jack. He was a clerk at the Grain Exchange and she was the brother of Constable John McDonald of the Winnipeg Police. In February 1940, while living here, Const. McDonald was shot dead after a failed burglary attempt at a downtown business.

Interestingly, this appears to be the only association this house had with an injury or death in the line of duty. I can find no record of anyone serving in either war, much less being wounded or killed in them.

The Kristjannsons moved around 1946 and in the early 1950s relocated to Arizona where he worked for a cabinetry company. He died in 1983.

John Karl Klayh and wife, Katherine were the next owners. They had three grown children born in the mid-1920s who lived elsewhere. The first listing for Klayh in 1947 notes he is a CPR employee, then it seems he retired. They often had three or four lodgers.

The Klays moved out in 1955 and later retired to British Columbia.

The house continued on through the 1950s and 1960s with at least four or five names at a time at this address which makes it hard to determine which one was the owner. It was definitely a boarding house during this time as ads offered things like light housekeeping.

In the 1970s, the Maliwanag family from the Philippines bought the house. It is currently owned by the second generation of the family.

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.