Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A pizza joint for Langside Street at Sara?

May 21, 1920, Winnipeg Free Press

The cute little building at 164 Langside Street at Sara could soon become a pizza restaurant.

I lived around the corner from this place for about a decade in the late 90s. Its 75 or so year run of being a grocery store had long passed. I remember it being abandoned, then rejuvenated as an architects office and arts studio. 

Under the present zoning a restaurant / cafe is allowed. What the applicant is seeking is an outdoor patio for 28 people, slightly bigger than the amount allowed by the city.

The city's administration is supporting the move, with some restrictions such as: patio hours would be 10 pm weekdays and 11 pm weekends; no amplified music, no illuminated signs, etc.

The application goes before the Board of Adjustment on July 27th. You can read it here.

It is interesting to see a closed retail establishment in the midst of a residential area reopening. Older neighbourhoods were once dotted with such storefronts that housed shops, salons, barbers, etc.. Over the decades, however, most of them have either been converted into housing or simply torn down.

It will also be interesting to see what the neighbours think about the pizzeria and patio idea, especially in the uniquely urban neighbourhood that is West Broadway.

Keep an eye on my Winnipeg Downtown Places blog as a history of this building will be appearing soon !

Saturday, 23 July 2016

West End Dumplings Radio for July 24, 2016


Join me Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on 101.5 UMFM for West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition. This week guest is Jeffrey John Eyamie. We'll talk about screenwriting, small-town Manitoba and his debut novel, No Escape from Greatness.

We'll also be giving away a free copy, courtesy of Turnstone Press !

For more past episodes check out this page.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Dominion Tanners building ready for wrecking ball


The Dominion Tanners building at 743 Jarvis Avenue is quietly awaiting the wrecker's ball. It was built in 1912 as a candy factory before Dominion took it over from 1934 to 1967.

To read a history of the building, check out my Winnipeg Downtown Places post before it's gone.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

West End Dumplings Radio Podcast - July 17, 2016

This week, I catch up with the ABC Railway Project on the road in Alberta. They've spent the month of July on a 1,577 km road trip exploring the prairie town sites of the old Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. You can read more about them in my piece in today's Free Press or at their Facebook page.

Then, celebrating Marshall McLuhan, born 105 years ago next week, in song and his own words.

All that at 4 pm on 101.5 UMFM, or listen online. After the show, you can check back here for the podcast link.

Photo credit: Brook Huckabay

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Behind the Photo: Mrs. Jack's Grand Prize

Often, I will see an old photo or ad and spend some time digging into its back story. Sometimes I find a great story, sometimes not. Either way, I learn a few things about the city's history. Here's my latest attempt:

This photo appeared in the October 30, 1915 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune. It is of  Mrs. J. Ainsworth Jack of 420 Simcoe Street. She was one lucky lady as she had just won a round-trip, expenses-paid train journey to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California.

The contest was hosted by the Winnipeg Tribune for Runaway June, an American silent movie serial made up of fifteen 20-minute films. Written by  by George and Lilian Chester, it was released by Reliance Productions in 1915.

Runaway June came with a large promotion budget and tie-ins with American magazines and newspapers. Some Canadian papers were included, such as the Winnipeg Tribune. The theatres she attended was the Wonderland, located at Sargent and Maryland.

January 23, 1915, Winnipeg Tribune

Unlike feature-length films, not a lot was revealed about the serial's story line in the newspaper coverage. People were teased to go see it. A Pittsburgh Press article hinted that: "The crux of the subject (is) the lack of understanding between man and wife on matters of finance."

Though some music from the serial has survived, it appears that the film has been lost forever.

According to Women Filmmakers in early Hollywood: "Runaway June was not a runaway success" despite the huge marketing budget. With no car chases or other real "action" that these serials were noted for, viewers did not take to it.

In a 1938 editorial page story in the Winnipeg Tribune entitled “How I became a movie critic”, author “N.B.Z.” recalled seeing the first episode at the Wonderland with friends and notes “our gang suffered and said nothing.”

After the third week, the theatre manager innocently came out to ask the audience whether they wanted the serial to continue and: "My hand shot up with hundreds of others in an overwhelming ‘No’." He notes that the following week another serial was shown instead.

The theatre must have changed its mind, or have been persuaded by the marketing campaign to continue, as the full 20 episodes appear to have been shown there between January and October 1915. Thee was a break in July due to unseasonably warm weather that kept the Wonderland shut for a couple of weeks.

There was little follow-up about the contest and Mrs. Jack's adventures in California.

On December 14th 1905, a small item appeared in the sports page noting that Mrs. Jack, a member of the Stratchcona Curling Club, wrote to the Tribune's sports editor while on her trip to say that she was quite enjoying watching the female tennis players in action. She added that she was looking forward to getting home for the start of the curling season, stating: "California is alright for invalids, but Winnipeg weather pleases her better."

There was no mention in the article of the movie or the contest.

Runaway Jane theme song

Sunday, 3 July 2016

West End Dumplings Radio for July 3, 2016

So, what do you do on live radio when the two guests don't show up? You improvise!

This became the Summer Festival episode as I highlight the The Uniter's 8th annual Summer Festival Guide. A listing of great festivals around the province as well as great tips for packing for, and participating in, a festival from festival veterans. Pick up a copy now or check it out online here: http://uniter.ca/

Also, Brexit commentary by Roger Currie and music from Bex McWillibams, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers and Henry Burr !

Join me at 4:00 pm on 101.5 UMFM !

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.