Wednesday, August 24, 2022

1030 McPhillips Street - Lincoln Motor Hotel / Four Crowns Inn

© 2022, Christian Cassidy

Google Street View, 2019

Place: Lincoln Motor Hotel / Four Crowns Inn (website)
Address: 1030 McPhillips Street (map)
Opened: October 19, 1964
Architect: A. H. Hanna
Contractor: Janzen Construction (1963) Ltd 

A new breed of motor hotel became the all the rage in the 1960s. They combined the convenient parking of 1950s motels with amenities that were previously only available at large downtown hotels, such as banquet facilities and fine dining. 

Examples of this new style accommodation in Winnipeg include the Viscount Gort Motor Hotel (1960), the Gordon chain of motor hotels, including the Assiniboine, Curtis and Chalet, the Carlton Motor Hotel (1960), the Westminster Motor Hotel /Sherbrook Inn (1965), the Dakota Motor Hotel (1965), and the Osborne Village Motor Inn (1965).

The building permit for this two-storey, brick and pre-cast concrete building was issued in early April 1964 to Lincoln Motor Hotel Ltd, a partnership between V. John Swystun, George Seredycz, and Steve Biluk.

The cost of construction varies on the news story. Some said $350,000 and others $800,000. It's likely that the former was for the base construction and the latter represented the cost of the building fitted out with equipment and furniture.

The project's architect for was A. H. Hanna of Waisman Ross Blankstein Coop Gillmor Hanna (now known as Number Ten Architectural Group). It was constructed by Janzen Construction (1963) Limited. Mr. L. F. Germain of Eaton’s contract sales division was the interior decorator.  

The main floor and basement of the building was dedicated to food, beverage, and conference spaces. This included The Cartwheel dining room, the 180-seat Ponderosa Room beverage room with a more casual dining menu, and the the Roundell Lounge. The basement held the Lincoln Room banquet hall that could hold 500 or be divided into two rooms that held 350 and 150 people respectively.

It was surrounded by parking for 300 cars and topped with a second-storey containing 24 guest rooms with air conditioning and four channel televisions.

October 20, 1964, Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg mayor Stephen Juba attended the sod-turning ceremony for the hotel on December 19, 1963.

The construction process went smoothly and the hotel was hosting events by September 1964. One of the first mentioned in newspapers was a 50th wedding anniversary dinner and dance for Mr and Mrs Michael Rudnyk . On October 16 to 18, it hosted the Buffalo Bridge Club Championships.

It was after being in operation for a month or so, on Monday, October 19, 1964. that the official opening took place. It involved Juba cutting a ribbon and presenting the keys to Swystun.  

Not long after the official opening another local VIP was at the hotel. Premier Duff Roblin was the guest speaker to the 450 guests at the Ukrainian Business and Professional Men's Club of Winnipeg's annual banquet on November 4th.

Steve Biluk

The executive chef for the hotel was Roman Berezowsky who apprenticed in Europe and ran dining rooms in Germany, England, and Montreal before coming to Winnipeg to work at the Lincoln. 

Part owner Steve Biluk was also the manager of the hotel and its 30 or so staff.

Biluk grew up in the Pleasant Home district of Manitoba and got into the hotel business as a young man with his father and brother. They owned hotels in Oak Point, Erickson, Manitou, Pine River, as well as the Princes Hotel in Transcona.

Sadly, Biluk would not get to enjoy managing his largest hotel project for long.

In September 1967, he and the manager of the Marion Hotel in St. Boniface went on a fishing trip to Nutimik Lake. They set out one morning and their empty boat was found washed up on shore later that evening. Biluk's body was found a week later.  He was 47 years old and left a widow and son.

Biluk's widow, Emily, continued on as an owner/manager at the hotel until 2002.

January 29, 1966, Winnipeg Tribune

The hotel continued on for decades doing what a community motor hotel was expected to. It hosted thousands of hundreds of banquets, wedding receptions, sports team windups, social club meetings, and conferences.

The motor hotel era began to wane in the 1980 and 90s as newer hotels, some with reservation systems linked to international chains, began building outside the downtown. For many motor hotels it was their night club, beverage room, and beer vendors took precedence over fine dining, catering banquets, and family hotel stays.


In October 2013, a new ownership group consisting of Boris Kravets with his son Arieh, and Cal Raberran with his son Ravi, purchased the Lincoln. They also owned the Viking Inn in Gimli, the Altona Motor Hotel, and the Ile des Chênes Motor Hotel.

The hotel was rechristened the Four Crowns Inn and they began an extensive renovation that Arieh Raberran told the Free Press in January 2015 would take three years and cost around $1 million.

The first job was to reestablish the former banquet room in 2014. It had been rented out to a church for a decade. The beverage room and restaurant would then be revamped followed by the lobby and what had become just 20 guest rooms on the upper level. A new addition in 2017 was a patio lounge.

Since then, the hotel has made the news for several of its charitable activities, including a 2022 feminine hygiene supply drive and for providing free emergency shelter to women fleeing domestic violence.

In 2019, the partners were bought out and Ravi Raberran became the sole owner.

Some former long-time employees of the Lincoln Motor Hotel


  1. Well this has brought back a flood of great memories of high school lunchtimes at the Lincoln. Those extended lunches with my friend Brenda Moski introduced me to the art of “skipping” school! After coming up for air after Chips 'n Gravy, Patty Melts and Rueben sandwiches the hour had turned into two and we were in trouble! I recall Mrs. Biluk ran a tight ship with very few problems. Much later when my best bud, Ian Dick, came home for a visit we had to ask her if it was ok if Ian went into the lounge in shorts (because they had a “no shorts allowed” rule posted. She agreed if we sat at the back so no one would notice. I want to add that John Swystin, a Lincoln partner/owner and friend of my father's, perished in the boating accident that took the life of Mr. Biluk.

    1. Hi. Christian here. Thanks for adding to the story!