Saturday, 25 June 2016

West End Dumplings Radio - June 25, 2016

My guest this week is Dr. Gordon Goldsborough of the Manitoba Historical Society.

We'll talk about some of the stories in the latest edition of Manitoba History, his ever-growing interactive map of thousands of Manitoba historic and other interesting places and suggest some day trips that you should make this summer !

That's West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition, Sunday at 4 pm on 101.5 UMFM.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Be a tourist in your own province this summer !

Take time this summer to discover your province. Here are just a few tours and events to put on your calendar!

This Sunday, join the Manitoba Historical Society for their Spring 2016 Field Trip: “Exploring the Prairie Fringe” Sunday, 26 June 2016, 8:45 AM to 5:30 PM

Led by Dr. John Lehr, this one-day tour will first visit the largest surviving remnant of the tall grass prairie – of which barely 0.5% still survives.

Cost: $72 per person for MHS members and $78 per person for non-members. Tour includes: travel by washroom-equipped, air-conditioned bus, lunch, guided tour of the Tall Grass Prairie Reserve, admission to the Gardenton Ukrainian Museum and St. Michael’s Church National Historic Site and all taxes and gratuities.

For more details: http://www.mhs.mb.ca/news/fieldtrip_spring2016.shtml

Wednesday night at 7 pm there is a FREE walking tour by the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation. Its part of a summer series:

"Did you know that many of Winnipeg's "stone" buildings are made of clay?

Winnipeg’s terra cotta collection is large and essentially complete. It is an unparalleled sampling in North America of the variety, versatility and beauty of this material. Join us for a tour through Winnipeg's downtown to learn more about the history of terra cotta, of Winnipeg's history and to view this wonderful collection of terra cotta architecture.

The Winnipeg Architecture Foundation tour, led by Gail Perry, will take about ninety minutes. All surfaces will be wheelchair and stroller accessible"

Details: http://www.winnipegarchitecture.ca/terra-cotta-architecture-tour-4/

The Winnipeg Trolley Company's Heart of a Nation Tour is rolling again.

"For 95 minutes, our guide will help you experience the very best sights and stories the River City has to offer, on Winnipeg’s only public sightseeing tour. Learn why Manitoba’s capital was once called the ‘wickedest city in Canada’, how a local team became history’s first Olympic hockey champions, Winnipeg’s shocking connection to the world’s most famous spy—James Bond—and much, much more. This tour is humorous, engaging, and as ‘the best first thing to do in Winnipeg’, will help you discover what makes the city at the heart of the country so special!"

Details: http://winnipegtrolleycompany.ca/public-tours/

"The West End BIZ'z Mural Tour is an excellent opportunity to discover the West End’s unique cultural history, represented by a rich collection of outdoor murals. The tour is fun and informative. Your guide will share information about the West End’s history and culture, details about the murals, interesting facts and humorous stories about the West End and its many famous people and local heroes. There are many special shops and restaurants to discover too!"

Details: http://www.westendbiz.ca/visiting-the-west-end/murals

"Join us for the spectacle known around the world—The RCMP Musical Ride! This summer, Lower Fort Garry plays host to the precision and pageantry of Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Be dazzled as 32 riders and horses perform intricate figures and Cavalry drills expertly choreographed to music. The Ride requires the utmost in control, timing and coordination achieved through months of practice and countless kilometres around the ring.

Spend the day with your family and enjoy historic re-enactments, a tribute to the North West Mounted Police, authentic Indigenous dancing and ceremonies, as well as kids activities and games."

Details: http://lfgmusicalride.bpt.me/

Friday, 17 June 2016

West End Dumplings Radio - NEW Episode, June 19th !


West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition is making a summer comeback! Join me in my new time slot: Sundays from 4 - 5 pm on 101.5 UMFM.

This week, I will find out about the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation's Wednesday evening walking tours. They start  next week and run all summer long.

My in-studio guest is man-about-town (in a little white truck), Kelly Hughes. We'll talk about Kelly Hughes Live, his radio show and a new performing arts venue he has in the works.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Winnipeg to lose another "Marina style" Safeway?

Marina-Style Safeway, Main at Luxton 
Bottom: Winnipeg Free Press, April 22, 1965

Last week, Red River Co-op announced that they are unable to renew the lease on their new grocery store at 1441 Main Street at Luxton Avenue. It was one of four outlets shed by Safeway after Sobeys bought them out in 2013.  

Though the owner hasn't publicly announced their plans for the site, it will likely include a redevelopment or outright demolition of the existing store, which opened in April 1965. It puts in doubt the future of one of the city's last "Marina style" Safeways.

Original Safeway store design, ca.1929 to ca. 1940

When Safeway entered the Canadian market in 1929 it used architecture as a key part of its part of its marketing.

Local grocery chains of the era, including the likes of Mutual Stores and Neal's, were a collection of stores of varying sizes and styles. Safeway brought with them their new-build, "cookie cutter" design for their stores.

A customer could recognize a Safeway store from a distance without having to see the sign. They could also shop at any Safeway store in town and find the same products in exactly the same place, thanks to identical floor plans.

The longest-lasting store design appears to be the original one, (above), which lasted into the 1940s. Many of them still stand in Winnipeg to this day.  Other waves of standardized stores came in the 40s and 50s. The 1960s brought a selection of styles for a new era.

By the late 1950s Safeway was adjusting to a new retail reality that made its architecture more important than ever.   

Customers were flocking to the suburbs and commuting to and from work by car. This called for larger stores with huge parking lots set far back from urban highways and freeways.   

To catch the attention of customers that were now whizzing by at 60 kph or more, supermarkets turned to what the author of Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture calls "flamboyant exterior wrappers".

Top: Marina Boulevard Safeway, 1968 (pleasantfamilyshopping.com
Bottom: Main Street, Winnipeg 2012, featuring the "gull wing"

Safeway's response was the creation of one of its most beloved, and still recognizable, store designs: the "Marina style". The name comes from the fact that the prototype store, designed by Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons, opened on San Fransisco's Marina Boulevard in 1959.

The Marina style featured an arched roof and an uninterrupted front wall of glass with the store entrances offset to either end. It was such a hit that it soon rolled out across North America.

There were a number of variations of the Marina style. Most of them had to do with the treatment of the roof line at the ends of centre arch. Some, including the original Marina store and Winnipeg's Salter Street store, end with a flat roof. Others, such as this Main Street store, have an upturned roof line, which some have nicknamed the "gull-wing" variation.

Top: Ellice and Wall, ca. 2008
Bottom: Ellice and Wall, ca. 2011

It is hard to tell exactly how many Marina style Safeways were constructed in the city. Based on sketches used in newspaper "grand opening" ads, it was about a dozen.  Most of these stores have been demolished and a couple have been so drastically renovated, such as that first one at Ellice and Wall, (above), that they are unrecognizable.

Remaining Marina style Safeways: Main St.; Mountain Ave.; St. Mary's Rd.

The now-vacant store at Main and Luxton, which Co-op modified by filling in the top portion of the glass facade, is one of three intact Marina style stores left in the city.  The last remaining stores are Mountain Avenue at McGregor Street and the Family Foods at St. Mary's Road and Dakota.

Mid Century Modern Safeway
Pleasant Family Shopping: 60s Style Safeway
West End Dumplings: Safeway's Sweeping Styles

Monday, 13 June 2016

Historic Chapman School's farewell

Western Canadian Pictoral Index, Charleswood Historical Society Collection

Last month I wrote a column about the history of Chapman School in Charleswood.

Established in 1914, (the current buildings were constructed in 1944 and 1974), the school was a community cornerstone in the largely rural R. M. of Charleswood. By the 2000s, attendance began to fall off to the point that it had just 51 students this year.

The parents signed a petition to have their children moved to larger schools for next school year and the province has now given the School Division permission to close the facility at the end of this school year.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

The school is having a farewell open house:

When: Friday, June 17, 2016
Time: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Short program: 4 p.m.

More information about the closure and the future of the land can be found here: http://www.pembinatrails.ca/Features/2016/May/chapman.html

Friday, 10 June 2016

This Weekend: Ellice Street Fest and Historic Walking Tour

This weekend, June 11 and 12, 2016, is the 17th annual Ellice Street Festival.

Things kick off Friday night with a free concert at the West End Cultural Centre, then Saturday from 12-4 the area around Ellice and Sherbrook is closed off to become a games, music and vendor hub ! You can read more about it here.

I will have a wee table set up to tell the history of some of the area's buildings. Come look for me. At 2 pm and 3 pm I will be doing a 20 minute, two-block historic walking tour of the Ellice and Sherbrook area!

Ellice Street Fest 2014 159_n

Ellice Street Festival brings the West End alive ringing in the summer with live music and festivities. 

This year's fest will be hoppin' with a free Friday night concert and square dancing with a live caller with live music from the Bart House Band. Come on out on Saturday for live local music all afternoon, plus games, bouncy castle, face painting, crafts, info booths and a fresh food and merchant market  newly added this year!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Hats off to Winnipeg's first gardener !


My column in today's Winnipeg Free Press is about David D. England. He was the city's first Superintendent of Public Parks, though preferred the title City Gardener.

England oversaw the development of the city's first eight parks, experimented to find what plants would grow in our climate and soil, and chose the elm as the official boulevard tree for the city of Winnipeg.

Though his relationship with his political bosses was openly hostile at times, eventually leading to his ouster, his legacy lives on in our parks and boulevards.

Image: City of Winnipeg Archives, Parks and Recreation Collection, A066 File 28 Item 1.