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.

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