Monday, May 11, 2015

666 Arlington Street - Brown Bros. Block

Brown Bros. Block
Place: Brown Bros. Block
Address: 666 Arlington Street at Sargent (Map)
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Unknown

Top: Google Street View ca. July 2012
Bottom: Feb 26, 1907, Winnipeg Free Press

George and Hanna Brown came to Winnipeg from Barrie, Ontario in the late 1890s. The head of the family was Stephen R. Brown who worked for 20 years with the city's streets department, eventually becoming a supervisor.

There were five Brown children and in 1906 sons Robert J., Stephen Gordon and Samuel E. opened Brown Bros. Bakery at 532 Notre Dame Avenue at Spence, (demolished ca. 2013). The bakery was located on the main floor and the upper floor rented out as residential space.

A few months later, the city's health department, which was doing a crackdown on the conditions of bakeries and other food processing facilities, cited their shop for having improper lighting and ventilation. The brothers decided that they would build a custom space for themselves and in October 1907 took out a $2,600 building permit for the property at 666 - 668 Arlington Street.

ca. 1912, Winnipeg Tribune

When the building was completed the following year, the first two floors housed their bakery, offices, a retail shop. The top floor contained two residential suites, usually one of the brothers or a bakery employee lived there.there was a stables to the rear.

By 1916, with the bakery still in operation, the main floor retail space became a grocery store called Arlington Grocery. The first proprietor was Herbert Parratt, then Arthur Lock who also moved into the residential unit. The store lasted just a couple of years.

In 1920 brown bros. had about 15 employees, though Stephen G., appears to have been the only brother directly involved in running it. Most of his siblings had moved elsewhere in Canada. He and his now widowed mother lived in the suites upstairs.

It was around this time that, it seems, he sold the business, likely as a specialty division of  Speirs Parnell.

Top: Lögberg, October 6, 1921
Bottom: May 23, 1913, Winnipeg Free Press

The bakery was renamed Quality Cake Ltd. In 1925 Quality hired Langford and Burch to do a three week, $12,000 renovation of the building and installed some new equipment.

Stephen stayed on as quality manager and he and his mother continued to live upstairs until 1925. After that point, he relocated to Vancouver where he opened another Browns Bros. bakery. I cannot find a death notice for his mother in local papers, so she may have gone with him. (For a bit more on the Vancouver bio of Stephen, read here.)

The bakery continued on with  F. J. Foster as manager until 1930 when it closed, perhaps a victim of the Depression.

ca. 1933 (source)

The building sat vacant for a couple of years then, in 1933, it became a fur production facility called Western Fur Dressers and Dyers Ltd. They were one of a handful of Winnipeg companies that did such work for the province's $700,000 a year raw fur industry.

Western Fur kept a very low profile, as did its proprietor Jacob Gilman. In 1946 Western Fur closed when he became president of Sterling Furs Ltd on Logan Avenue.

The building again sat vacant for a couple of years, until a pair of tenants related to the garment industry moved in. In 1950 Mid West Quilting, a textile manufacturer set up on the second floor and the following year JayDee Products, an embroidery firm, took up the third floor.

April 10, 1962, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1951 the new main floor tenant was Stearn Automotive Products. Del Richardson and a couple of business partners from Saskatchewan purchased the name and equipment of a defunct Minnesota-based company. He came to Winnipeg to oversee its re-establishment in Winnipeg.

Stearn's manufactured car frost shields, bug shields and defrosters. The parent company, Richardson Manufacturing, had a tool and dye shop and did other automotive and agricultural related manufacturing.

In 1958 the tenants were gone as Richardson took over the entire building. That same year he added a 1,500 square foot warehouse area to the rear, replacing the old stables, and a 1,200 square foot garage and shipping area built adjacent to the building at 668 Arlington. By the end of the decade they were shipping frost shields around the world.

The company continued to add more lines and soon needed a bigger building. In April 1962 they relocated to  92 Gomez Street. The company is now called Richardson Great Northern Manufacturing on St. Matthews Avenue.

Old Sign

Later that year, the building became home to Motor Parts and Supplies Co., created by Bert Nicholls and Alan Frank. The company offered custom machine shop service and did everything from piston service and crankshaft grinding to hydraulic machinery repairs and electrical testing. They also had a retail shop.

Motor Parts ended up being the building's longest term owner, lasting from 1962 to 1992.

Since their departure, the 666 or 668 address does not appear in the Winnipeg Free Press.

In 2012 owners of the building since at lest 2006, Roseman Corp. 7 1060482 Alberta Ltd., had variances approved to consolidate three lots into a “CMU” Commercial Mixed Use District. The lots are 666, 668 and 672 Arlington.

As described in the city's administration report on the rezoning matter, the building will also be renovated:

The main floor of this building will be used by the purchaser for a commercial business (artisan studio). In addition, the second floor of the building will also be developed into commercial space. The third floor is slated to become a residence for the owner of the commercial business located on the main floor. There will be an unspecified but limited number of parking stalls provided internally off the lane at the rear of the building for the occupants of the building.

Brown Bros. Block

In 2014 Roseman sold the building to Assiniboine Interiors. It is unclear if their plans are the same as those Roseman had for the building.

Scaffolding went up on the building in April 2015 and renovations are underway.

My photo album of 666 Arlington Street
666-672 Arlington Street rezoning report City of Winnipeg
Remember those car frost shields? West End Dumplings

Sunday, May 3, 2015

1100 King Edward Street - Safeway Distribution Centre,-97.20644,3a,75y,270.29h,84.04t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sNRF9egMqlP03IBY-k7BZUQ!2e0!6m1!1e1

Place: Safeway Distribution Warehouse
Address: 1100 King Edward Street
Opened: October 1960

1930 ad banner
Safeway has been a presence in Canada since 1929 when it opened its first wave of grocery stores in Winnipeg and Vancouver. (You can read more about their arrival here.) 

A key to the U.S.-based chain's ability to dominate a new market so quickly was through the acquisition and merger, or closure, of existing retail chains, food manufacturers and  wholesalers. One of their Winnipeg purchases was Macdonalds Consolidated.


The company was created in 1914 by Alexander Macdonald who grew it into a Western Canada-wide wholesaler and, eventually, a retailer through the "P and B" grocery store chain. When Macdonald died in August 1928 the company's board decided to get out of the retail side of the business and sold its stores to Safeway. The following year, they sold the  wholesaling business to them as well.

Safeway moved its head office and main warehouse into those of Macdonalds at 313 Pacific Avenue.

 May 1951 ad, Winnipeg Free Press

Fast forward to the 1950s and Safeway was basking in the glow of post-war prosperity and the flight to the suburbs. Over the course of the decade they opened 18 stores in Winnipeg with 12 more expected to open around Manitoba between December 1959 and December 1960.

By the end of 1960 their total Manitoba presence was 45 stores.

October 29, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

In an October 1959 newspaper feature about the store's 30th anniversary in Winnipeg, Safeway noted that a “$2,000,000 grocery and frozen food warehouse to be built in St. James is now in the planning stage.” The Safeway Distribution Centre opened in October 1960.

The 219,000 square foot facility was situated on a 15 acre site and boasted a grocery warehouse, perishable goods warehouse a frozen foods storage and added 12 new semi trucks, most of them refrigerated, to their truck fleet. The vast increase in the company's warehousing capacity meant that stores running out of stock would, for the most part, be a thing of the past. 

It was one of three massive warehouses constructed in the area at the time. the others were the Eatons 320,000 square foot facility on Wellington Avenue and a 155,000 square foot warehouse for Federated Co-op's grocery business.

October 29, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

The centre underwent a 22,900 square foot expansion in 1962, which added an ice cream plant, cheese packaging plant and an egg department. it has been expanded a number of times since to reach its current size of 427,000 square feet.

A few non-grocery related events took place at the warehouse over the decades.

The 1979 Rainbow Sage production of A Desert Song, called for a massive proscenium. Artist  Martin Johnston built and painted it here. it was, at the time, the biggest set item constructed for the theatre company.

In the winter of 1994 - 95 it was home to Coach No. 103 of the Prairie Dog Central as it received an overhaul and new paint job. 

The warehouse had a close call in 1987 when neighbouring Reliance Products, a plastics manufacturing plant, burned to the ground. A third alarm was called in just to save Safeway facility Warehouse from going up in flames. It sustained minor fire damage but was soon back in business.

In 2013 Sobeys purchased Canada Safeway for $5.8 billion. 

The acquisition meant that the company had three distribution centres in Winnipeg. According to this Canadian Grocer column, the King Edward facility was used to ship dry goods, tobacco, perishables and produce to corporate and independent stores in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North West Ontario. Safeway also has a frozen food warehouse facility on Empress Avenue. Sobeys, of course, has a much newer 321,000 square foot facility on Inkster Boulevard.

In February 2015 Sobeys announced that the King Edward facility would be closed within a year, laying off 172 people.

October 29, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

Thursday, April 23, 2015

1300 Portage Avenue: Valour Theatre / Advance Electronics

Place: Valour Theatre / Advance Electronics
Address: 1300 Portage Avenue at Stiles
Architect: Unknown
Opened: 1937 (as Valour), 1967 (as Advance)
Contractor: H. Keegan

 November 20, 1937, Winnipeg Tribune

Western Theatres Ltd. announced the construction of the $20,000, 414-seat Valour Theatre in April 1937. Western was one of two locally based theatre chains in the late 1930s owned by the Miles family. 

Allied Amusements was created by Jack Miles in 1912 with a single theatre and by this time operated a number of neighborhood cinemas such as the Palace, Plaza, Roxy, Rose and Uptown. 

Western Theatres, half owned by the Miles Family and half by Famous Players Ltd., ran the  Lyceum, Rex, College and Wonderland. (Ownership changed often during the 1930s as some chains folded, new partnerships formed and some theatres shuttered during the Depression came back online as cinemas.)

Bottom: October 3, 1940, Jewish Post

The investor who built this theatre was was Hyman Schulman, a lawyer who also acted as its first manager. For a number of years he even practised law from the building. In 1963 he became Queen's Council and was involved in many community organizations, such as president of Shaarey Zedek Synagogue and president of the Canadian Council of B'nai B'rith, before his death in 1973.

November 25, 1937, Winnipeg Free Press

Construction got underway on the brick and reinforced concrete, 40 x 80 structure in August and the excavation work was complete by mid-September. The general contractor was H. Keegan, subcontractors included excavation by Theo Kotschorek, concrete by Cowin and Company and bricklaying by S. Liss and Co. of College Avenue. I could find no mention of who the architect was.

The Valour opened for business on November 25, 1937 with the film Golddiggers of 1937. After that, doors opened daily at 6 pm except Saturdays when it opened at 10 am with a children's matinee.

As a small, neighbourhood cinema it was not get mentioned in the news very often, so ownership and management is a bit hard to trace. Schulman was the manager until the early 1940s then came a long line of short-term managers, none of whom appeared to last more than two years. Perhaps being part of a chain co-owned by a national player made it an ideal training location for theatre managers.
Western Canadian Pictoral Index, Longman Collection 39157

In 1949 the Valour Theatre was cut loose from the chain and it was purchased by Albert D. Cohen under the name Valour Theatres Ltd.. I believe this is the same Albert D. Cohen who, along with his brother, were operating a pair of retail stores in downtown Winnipeg called Surplus Army and Navy (SAAN).

Before it reopened on September 2, 1949, the theatre underwent a 20 foot expansion to the rear, which increased its seating capacity to roughly 500. It was redecorated and the chairs, screen, sound equipment and air conditioning system were replaced.

May 11, 1949, Winnipeg Tribune

The new Valour Theatre was as a foreign film house. The first movie shown was the Italian film version of the opera "L'elisir d'amore." Ben Lepkin, a Winnipeg Tribune arts critic, wrote just weeks after it opened: "The Valour Theatre has already gone a long way towards establishing itself as a distinct adornment to this city's cultural life." 

Graham H. Beatty was appointed the revamped theatre's first manager, though he seems to have lasted just a few months.

May 9, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

The Valour had a quiet existence showing a range of movies from British blockbusters to niche, foreign language art films. Around 1959 Cohen sold the theatre to E. Diamond, but the new owner was unable to make a go of it. In May 1960 the Valour quietly closed. The last film shown there appears to have been the Russian musical Eugene Onegin.

Albert D. Cohen likely sold the theatre because he had a budding retail empire on his hands. Aside from SAAN stores which went on to become a national retailer as Gendis Corporation, in the mid-1950s he formed a partnership with Japanese radio manufacturer Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Corporation and introduced the first transistor radios to the North American market. In 1958 that company changed its name to snappier SONY and Cohen's partner company became Sony Canada. (For more about the remarkable Albert D. Cohen.)

Another famous alumnus of the Valour Theatre is Barrie Nelson, who worked as a ticket taker in the 1950s and fell in love with film, especially animation.  After schooling in Winnipeg he went on to produce shorts of for the NFB, then in television, including a number of Charlie Brown specials. His film credis include a sequence director in the feature film Heavy Metal and an animator for Watership Down. (For a filmography.)

July 19, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

The Valour did not stay vacant for long. In July 1960 Spruce Funeral Homes applied for a permit to convert it into a funeral parlour with a retail flower shop. They remained there until 1963.

After the funeral shop moved, the building contained a trio of businesses: Norman Brown's Canuck Billiards Lounge, Sheridan Florists and the West End Coffee Shop. By the end of 1966, just the flower shop remained.

Above: June 2, 1954, Winnipeg Free Press

The building's owner since 1967 has been Advance Electronics.

Advance was created in 1954 as Advance T.V. Sales and Service at 1415 Main Street near Atlantic, now demolished. According to the 1955 Henderson Directory the original proprietors were Sam Gilman (wife Ann) of 69 Aikins Street and Sidney Markell (wife Sylvia) of 9 St John's Avenue. (Note that this is not the same Samuel Gilman who co-founded the Donut House on Selkirk Avenue as he is listed separately in the same Henderson Directory).

Advance was a dealer for many of the big name TV manufactures of the day, including Sylvania, Admiral and Fairbanks-Morse. It also sold second hand televisions.

August 16, 1954, Winnipeg Free Press

A few years later, Advance billed itself as the city's first specialty TV service company. It is a claim hard to prove for sure, though it certainly would have been among the first. Many TV sales and service companies in those early years were electronics, radio and furniture dealers that expanded their product lines. 

There were four TV-related companies listed in the Henderson's Directory of 1954. RCA Victor on St. James at Ellice which sold, of course, RCA Victor televisions, radios and other appliances. Ackland and Son on Higgins sold CBS / Columbia brand televisions and radios, Globe Radio and Furniture 423 Portage Avenue and Kummen-Shipman Electric Ltd. on Fort, the latter was the only one listed as a offering both sales and service

The directory was published prior to Advance's opening and prior to the arrival of the city's first television channel, CBC, on May 31, 1954. From mid-1954 on there was a flood of new retailers, some presumably also offering repairs, catering to the thousands of Winnipeggers now in the market for TV sets.

December 2, 1961, Winnipeg Free Press
below: November 29, 1961, Winnipeg Free Press

In late 1959 Advance relocated to an 800 square front store in the Kirkwood Block  / Club Morocco Building at 575 Portage at Langside. It appears that by then Gilman was the sole proprietor with one employee.

The reason for such a long move from the North End may have had to do with the location's proximity to the CBC building on the next block.

 Frieman ca. 2000

In 1961 Advance was sold to Arnold Frieman for $5,500.  Born in Hungary, Frieman spent his teenage years in a concentration camp. His parents and three siblings were killed in the Holocaust. After the war he went to Israel where he fought with the Israeli Air Force during their War of Independence (1947 - 1949). Soon after, he and wife Myra left for Canada and a new life.

The couple's first appearance in the Winnipeg Henderson Directory comes in 1953, living at 426 Anderson Avenue. Arnold was a clerk at Factory Products Ltd., 88 Arthur Street, which sold overstock and reconditioned televisions, radios and record players and had a record department. By 1956 he was their sales manager.

In 1961 the couple lived at 214-1880 Main Street at Royal, (the Royal Forest Apartments).

November 29, 1961, Winnipeg Free Press

Frieman soon added another technology to Advance's line-up: car radios. It became a repair and parts depot for the Automatic Radio Company of Boston, then added Motorola in 1963. Both divisions advertised separately as Advance TV Centre and Advance Car Radio Centre.

In 1963 Advance moved to a new 4,000 square foot building at 636 Sargent Avenue at McGee. With the move came an increase in staff from two to over a dozen. At the new site they could cater more to their car radio division by offering drive-in service bays.

Grand opening ad: October 3, 1967, Winnipeg Free Press

The business thrived and Advance soon outgrew their Sargent Avenue home. In 1967 Frieman purchased the former Valour Theatre. A parking area and service bay were added to the east over the summer and the "Advance Television and Radio Centre" opened on October 3, 1967.

The much larger location allowed them to expand their TV and car radio lineups to cover most major brands. It also featured a new tape recorder centre, demonstration rooms for TVs and stereos, and a tape department featuring 4 and 8 track tapes. In 1971 Advance added its Professional Division and in 1974 a Technical Services Department. 

The name change to Advance Electronics appears to have come in 1973. It is Western Canada's largest independent electronics retailer.

Frieman has won many accolades, including Retail Excellence Award from the Retail Council of Canada (1995), Manitoba Business Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year (2002) and was inducted into the Order of Manitoba (2006) for not only his business achievements but his work with a variety of community organizations. 

In 2015 he was feted at the Rady Jewish Community Centre annual sports dinner and added to the Deer Lodge Centre Foundation Honour Roll.

Our History Advance Electronics

June 27, 1967, Winnipeg Free Press

Sunday, March 29, 2015

1417 Main Street - Ogniwo Polish Museum

Place: Ogniwo Polish Museum Society Inc (website)
Address: 1417 Main Street - (map)
Constructed: 1929
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Unknown

November 9, 1931, Winnipeg Tribune

The first business listed at this address was Cameron Brothers Radio Laboratories, a retail shop which sold and repaired commercial radios, including the U.S. brand Lyric. I could find little background about the brothers, Kenneth C. and Ronald L., other than they were living in the Waverley Hotel at the time. In 1933 the shop relocated to the Winnipeg Piano Building on Portage Avenue and soon after disappeared.

The brothers, too, seem to disappear, though there was Kenneth C. living in Winnipeg who was active in the air force during World War II. Touted as a telecommunications expert, he was made head of RCAF Station Clinton, Ontario, in 1956 at the age of 44.

August 13, 1933, Winnipeg Tribune

The building then became Neals Stores No. 11. Neals was a local grocery chain that debuted in December 1925 with eight neighbourhood stores. It was created by Neal Brothers, a local grocery import and wholesale company. They hired experienced Osborne Street grocer Arthur Willis to supervise the operations.

This was an attempt to establish a footing before the invasion of the big American grocery store chains, such as Piggly Wiggly and Safeway, that came later that decade. 

From its original eight stores, Neals grew to a peak of almost 30 in the early 1930s. It hung on until 1941 but it was a shadow of its former self with just a dozen locations, a small advertizing budget and stores that were tiny by industry standards of that time.

The 1417 Main Street location would have been a challenge. Opened in August 1933, it was just two doors down from what was the largest Safeway store built in the city, now the Naleway's Catering building, which opened in 1929.

1946 Henderson Directory (Peel's)

The Neals location closed in the late 1930s but another local grocer was up to the task. David McMasters was born in Northern Ireland and came to  Canada in 1910, around 27 years of age. He opened a fruit and confectionery store across the street at 1418 Main Street in the 1920s and by 1942 relocated to 1417.

June 23, 1917, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1926 he married Freida G. McRae and they moved into her family home at 151 Bannerman Avenue. She was born in Winnipeg to a pioneering family and was an accomplished pianist and music teacher. When she wasn't helping at the store or raising the family, she continued teaching from the home until the late 60s or early 70s. She was also active in organizations such as the St. John's Guild of the Children's Hospital.

The McMasters raised seven children, four sons (David, Graham, Alfred and John), and three daughters (Enid, Ethel and Margaret). It is unclear how many of the children were produced by the McMasters themselves. The obituary for son David, killed in an accident in Ohio in 1972, indicated that he had a different last name: "David (McDonald) McMaster .... beloved son of Hazel McDonald and David and Freda (sic) McMaster."  At least one other child, Ethel, also carried the McDonald last name.

July 27, 1948, Winnipeg Free Press

The McMasters and their store had a quiet existence. David had to sell up in 1948 due to illness, after which he retired with Freida to 151 Bannerman. He died at Luther home in West Kildonan on November 30, 1972. 

I could find no notice of Freida's death. Most of their children lived in other provinces and states, so she may have been living with one of them at the time.

Top: June 1951. Bottom: December 1952

Through the 1950s the store had a string of short term tenants, starting with Colonial Plating (1951-52), Paris Millinery 1952-54, Daffodil Dress Shop (1955-56) and Pioneer Sales (1958-59).

Top: U of M Pharma News, Fall Winter 2013, p. 8
September 22, 1960, Jewish Post

The next long term presence was Orlikow Drugs. 

Archie Orlikow was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Elmwood, graduating from the U of M's faculty of pharmacy in 1948. The following year he married Helen Davie of the West End. In the early 1950s he was working for a drug store located a couple of doors south at 1413 Main Street, since demolished, and in 1956 he and his brother David, took it over. 

Archie was the brother of David Orlikow, who also graduated as a pharmacist from the U of M, but he got into politics and spent 43 years as an elected official. Another brother was educator Lionel Orlikow.

In 1960 Orlikow's store moved from 1413 to 1417 Main. At around the same time he and Helen moved to 7 Glencoe Crescent where they raised their two sons, Jim and Bill.

The store existed at this address until about 1966. Orlikow then worked for the province on the Advisory Committee on Drug Purchasing, the Inter-changeable Drug Formulary and Pharmacare. In 1982 he was named Pharmacist of the Year and presented with a lifetime membership by the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association. 

Helen Orlikow died in 2007 and David Orlikow on December 6, 2012 at the age of 90.

September 17, 1979, Winnipeg Free Press

After that, it became home to W. A. Hickes Plumbing in the 60s and a branch store of the fabric chain Economy Textile from about 1975 to 1979.

Source: Ogniwo

Since September 30, 1992 it has been home to the Ogniwo Polish Museum, which is run by a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting Polish history, culture, traditions and the history of Polish immigrants in Canada to the Canadian public. It was also home to the offices of the Polish-language weekly newspaper Czas until it closed in 2012.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

543 Sargent Avenue - Hood Block / Craik Apartments

Name: Hood Block / Craik Apartments
Place: 543 Sargent Avenue (539 - 547 Sargent, 598 Langside)
Constructed: 1904
Architect: Unknown
Contractor: Unknown

Note: this building will be demolished by the end of march. See it now, before it's gone.

Top: March 1906, Winnipeg Free Press
Bottom: July 1916, Winnipeg Free Press

The Hood Block was constructed in 1904 (source) which likely makes it the oldest building left standing on Sargent Avenue. This is after a check of about 20 other addresses, including: Balmoral Court (1905), Johnson Block / Miller Block (1905), Good Templars Lodge / Zoohky Memorial Hall (1906), Bright House (1907), Fire Hall No. 5 (1910), Connaught Block (1914) and Adanac Apartments (1914). I cannot say this with complete certainty as there could be the remnants of an earlier house hidden behind a more modern commercial facade.

It was built for W. J. Hood, a Notre Dame Avenue grocer who relocated his store from McDermot Avenue and teamed up with Christopher Cornell to form Hood and Cornell grocers, initially listed at the Langside address. The architect and contractor are unknown, though Hood may have had a hand in it himself as he did go on to be a contractor.

The corner retail unit was the feature of the main floor and there were three apartments upstairs. At times, both of store owners lived there. Soon after, Hood had a small house built attached to the rear of the building, described as shanty-like, which is now demolished.

1910 Miracle Pressed Brick Catalogue (source)

Hood chose a unique building product, something called the Miracle Pressed Stone. The company, based in Minneapolis, claimed that their hydraulic concrete was stronger and more fireproof than cement. The air gap and interlocking nature of their product helped insulate and ensure a waterproof, thus frost-proof in a winter climate, wall. They sold a variety of blocks, pipes and decorative items as well as the molds and machinery to make them. (Check out their 200 page 1910 catalogue !)

In 1904 the North-West Pressed Stone Company on McDermot Avenue became an agent of the company and they featured the product the 1904 Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition. It's hard to tell how popular the product was here. Of the few Manitoba mentions I can find about it in catalogues and newspaper stories, it appears to have been used in rural Manitoba. I've found mention of houses in Giroux and Emerson being built from it, as was the Emerson Baptist Church.

September 1924, Winnipeg Tribune

In 1911 Hood sold the block to Dr. Glasgow, a medical doctor, for $25,000, who retained the building's original name. It's likely that Hood went into the development / construction business, while Cornell took over the grocery store under his name until the late-1920s. 

In 1925 the building was sold again and the building was renamed Craik Apartments. The address of the building and store were soon changed to Sargent Avenue.

The largest main floor retail space housed a grocery store until at least the 1970s. After Cornell, it was owned by William S. Irish (early 30s), Turner's Grocery (late 1930s), Frank Vaux (1940s) and became Lloyd's Grocery from the early 1950s to the 1970s.

September 16, 1909, Lögberg

The numerous doorways on the main floor of the building indicate that there were at least two other retail units. In 1911, 545 Sargent was Duncan's Millinery and 547 was the Italian Shoe and Boot Repair Company. In 1932, 545 was home to the Dallian Hat Shop and 547 was James Steven's barbershop. in 1942, 545 housed Duncan's Millinery and 547 had both Joseph Grodecki Shoe Repair and Sargent Beauty Parlour.

September 19, 1922, Winnipeg Tribune

The smaller stores came and went with the exception of Duncan's Millinery. Sarah and Ruby Duncan were born in Ireland and came to Winnipeg in 1907. The following year they opened Duncan's Millinery, first at 555 Sargent, then relocated to 545 in 1909. With the exception of a few years around 1922, they remained in this location until Sarah died in 1945. Ruby likely died in 1956.

The building had a quiet existence. I could find no record of fires, crimes or war related deaths at this address until 2011.

Top: ca. 2000s (Source: Now Winnipeg)
Bottom: March 2013

By the year 2000, the building was sporting a mint green paint job and housed a pawn shop and convenience store. By the end of the decade, the retail was gone and in 2010 it was raided by police after discovering that it had become a cocaine warehouse.

Top: Gutted interior (source: The Year Past - 2012)
Bottom: Original redevelopment plans (source: 2011 variance application)

The owner of a neighbouring business, Sal Infantino of X-Cues' Billiards and Café, purchased the property and made application to the city for the variances needed to completely renovate it back into a mixed-use building with self-contained residential suites upstairs and offices on the main floor. He told The Uniter: "I want to make the area vibrant; if I can throw 25 students on the corner here it would be a great addition to the street."

Renovations included gutting the interior and replacing systems such as electrical, plumbing and HVAC, installation of a new roof and windows and repainting the exterior.

545 Sargent Avenue - Craik Apts
Collapsed section of sidewalk

Work was nearing completion in July 2014, with tenants lined up for September 1, when the sidewalk out front collapsed. It dropped over a meter, pulling the facade of the building down with it with it.

In November 2014 the city issued an unsafe building order against the owner. His appealed was denied on February 3, 2015 by the city's Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development.

The building will be demolished in March 2015.

For more about the last months of the building's existence, including an interview with the owner, check out my story in the Winnipeg Free Press of March 22, 2015.

Sidewalk sinking on Sargent Avenue Winnipeg Free Press (July 2014)
Local businessman joins joins student housing development market The Uniter (Sept 2011)
The Year Past - 2012 Historical Buildings Committee (p. 24)
Some Old Winnipeg Buildings Manitoba Historical Society (1972)