Sunday, September 23, 2012

8 Keewatin Street - Brooklands Hotel

Brooklands Hotel

Place: Brooklands Hotel
Address: 8 Keewatin Street
Opened: March 12, 1930
Architects: Unknown


The community of Brooklands was wedged between the cities of St. James and Winnipeg. It was a working-class enclave made up mostly of employees from the CPR's Weston shops and yards. In 1921 it broke away from the R.M. of Rosser to become a village.

March 12, 1990, Winnipeg Free Press

On March 12, 1930 the village's first hotel opened. The two storey building was well appointed inside. The main floor, finished in terazzo tile, housed a restaurant, pool room, and “first class beer parlour.” The second floor, done in oak, had 21 rooms. The exterior was finished in stucco.

The owner, Samuel Cohen was born in Port Arthur but came to Winnipeg with his family in 1880. In 1913 he and wife Cecilia opened the Canora Hotel at Canora, SK and ran it for 13 years while raising their six children. In 1926 they returned to Winnipeg and in 1929 began construction on The Brooklands. Son Sid was the hotel's manager.

Cohen took his role as inn keeper seriously. He and Cecilia were resident managers and he told the Free Press that "Modern social life centres nowadays in the hotels of the community" (March 12, 1930.) The Brooklands became just that, hosting hundreds of weddings, banquets and dances. It was where most of the region's social clubs, seniors groups and even the local homing pigeon association, held their meetings.

October 8, 1932, Winnipeg Free Press

The Brooklands was also headquarters for many area sports teams. Sam took a particular interest in soccer, donating the Brooklands Trophy which was played for by top teams for a almost two decades. When Sam Cohen died a Free Press sports columnist wrote "Soccer has lost a good friend in Sam Cohen. Sam was a generous donor to anything related to the game."

Cecilia passed away in October 1951 and a few months later, on March 3, 1952, Sam died. Sons Sidney and Lawrence took over the hotel.

ca. 1963

From 1963 to 1981 The Brooklands was part of the Gordon Hotels chain, it was during this time that the name changed to the Brooklands Inn. After that, it was owned by a group that for eight years included local hockey legend Ed "Spider"Mazur.

 Brooklands Hotel


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