Sunday, February 28, 2021

194 Henderson Highway - Former Bank of Montreal

© 2021, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former McLean Printers building
Address: 194 Henderson Highway (Map)
Constructed: 1929
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Charles E Robinson

Source: 1963 Elmwood High School yearbook

The construction of 194 Henderson Highway was funded by brothers John and Norman S. McLean of McLean Printers.

The McLean family came to Canada from Campbelltown, Scotland in 1911 and first settled in the Regina area before relocating to Transcona where John and Norman took over the Transcona Times. In 1917, they moved to Elmwood and opened a print shop at 155 Kelvin Street, (later renamed Henderson Highway.)

The brothers began publishing the Elmwood Advertiser which was renamed the Elmwood Herald in 1929. At the time they claimed the circulation to be 4,800. The Herald is the predecessor to today's Canstar Herald.

A third brother, Archibald, joined them in Transcona and served in World War I with the 107th Battalion. When he returned, he worked at the family business. Another brother, Robert, also worked there for a time before moving to Vancouver.

September 14, 1929, Winnipeg Tribune

In July 1929, McLean Printers received a building permit for the construction of this $12,000 building at 194 Kelvin Street at Hart Avenue. It measures 27 feet wide and 100 feet deep and was built as two separate spaces with one facing Kelvin and the other Hart.

McLean Printing took the shorter portion of the building that opened onto Hart and rented out the Kelvin fronting portion to tenants.

The first tenant was the Bank of Montreal under manager E. R. Pelly who appears to have come to Winnipeg for the job and lived at 169 Kelvin. This branch closed in 1936 and Pelly was transferred to the one at Morley and Osborne.

Dr. Clifford and Trosa Duncan

After sitting empty for a year or so the space was rented by physician Dr. Clifford W. Duncan.

Born at Arnprior, Ontario, Duncan's family moved to Winnipeg when he was a young child. He attended Queen's University Faculty of Medicine and graduated as an M. D. in 1926. He returned to Winnipeg and set up a practices at 200 Kelvin Street.

In 1932, he married Trosa Goulding and the two settled at 125 Harbison Avenue where they raised two children, Carolyn and John.

Duncan moved his practice a couple of doors down to 194 Kelvin around 1938 and stayed until 1958 when he closed his practice.  He worked for a couple of years as the company physician for Swifts before finally retiring. In all, Duncan served the East Kildonan - Elmwood neighbourhood for 30 years and died in 1980 at the age of 94.

April 25, 1961, Winnipeg Free Press

Through the 1960s and 70s the building was home to a number of funeral chapels.

It started in 1961 as the third in a chain of chapels run by F. Ross Cook. The original Cook's Funeral Chapel was on Crescent Road in Transcona and there was another in  Ste. Anne.

Cook started his career as a hearse driver then took a morticians course. When his father died in 1960, the family funeral home business fell to him and his mother, Evelyn.

Cook may have grown the business too fast as this was a Cook’s Funeral Chapel for just a year. It was then taken over by Robert R. Loewen and renamed Loewen's Funeral Chapel.

January 1974, Mennonite Mirror

In 1970, Walter Klassen opened Klassen Funeral Chapel here. Originally from the Steinbach area, Klassen had fourteen years working and managing a funeral chapel before striking out on his own.

Klassen stayed at this location until 1976 when Klassen Funeral Home at
1897 Henderson Highway was constructed.

The building then had some short term tenants, such as The Jean Quarter,  a jean and t-shirt store, in 1978 - 79, followed by The Corner Warehouse, a liquidation store.

The building was sold at a mortgage sale in 1981.

By 1984, Unique Odds and N's called it home. It started out as primarily a used office furniture and factory surplus store that over time got into selling gift wear, groceries and items by local craftspeople. Lorraine Feden, the manager of the Unique Odds and N's store on William Avenue, soon took over the store and renamed it Feden Furniture Plus that specialized in home interior items and gift ware.

The building was put up for sale in December 1993 and Feden's began selling out its stock. Its last day of business was October 1, 1994.

The address goes quiet until it was sold in December 2002 and then became Saltwater Connection, a fish store. The owner made national headlines in 2011 when he was convicted of 18 charges related to importing protected sea coral, giant clams and sea horses from Indonesia. He was fined $135,000 and and 18-month house arrest.

BioArts Dental Studio has been at this location since 2015. As can be seen from photos at their website, the interior has been extensively remodelled.

January 17, 1949, Winnipeg Tribune

As for McLean Printers, it appears to have stayed at this location until the 1970 when it was sold to Reliance Press of Winnipeg. The company was creating a collection of weekly suburban papers starting with the Herald (Elwood - East Kildonan), Metro One (St. James / Charleswood), and the Times (Transcona). Four more community papers were introduced in 1976.

Some of the papers - including the Herald - were sold to Southam Ltd. in 1987 and live on today as Canstar weekly papers.

As for the McLean's, John McLean died in 1949. Vince Leah remembered him in a column as one of "Elmwood's crack curlers" in his day. By this time, another generation of McLeans, including John Jr. were working with the firm.

Norman S. McLean, also an avid curler and Scottish soccer fan,
died in 1972 at the age of 84.

Mabel Meyer, who worked for the Herald for 42 years, (according to Vince Leah, she came on board as a 15-year-old Girl Friday), died in 1994.

A century serving the community The Herald
Back issues of the Elmwood Herald can be read at the Legislative Library

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