Thursday, September 10, 2020

Music Man February 26, 1982 Kelvin High School

I was not part of this production despite many years in musicals over the years. In 1982 I was played on three soccer teams and one hockey team. I wasn't even in the choir till the 1982/83 year. Most people probably don't know I was attending art school at Forum Art for credit in Mr. Cramer's class in addition to my course load. That, and working for VPW on camera and location work starting at River Heights Junior High and throughout my entire Kelvin High School years.

Still, many of my friends were in this production of the Music Man based on the Broadway musical of 1957 by Meredith Wilson. I heard the music so much that I bought the LP of the musical featuring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones from the 1962 movie.

I will let those who were part of the production tell their stories about it. I was periphery at best although Doug Finlayson and I can tell some stories about the choir exchange and a later bus trip and week of holidays in Burnsville in 1982. It was he and Tom George who encouraged me to take up choir again in Grade 12.

The Burnsville choir came in from Minnesota and wowed Kelvin with Birdland by Manhattan Transfer. I think a few dozens students went and bought the album after. I know I did. Kelvin wowed Burnsville as well. Mr. Standing had several numbers that each year that were tops at the Manitoba Music Festival.

It was there that I learned that whoever felt the most guilty for disruptive behaviour in Mr. Standing's class got the boot. I recall one time we were using paper over combs for some harmonica type experimental number we were doing (kind of like the PDQ Bach we used to do). I remember saying aloud: Don't blow, suck.

Mr. Standing bellowed: Get out!

He stared at the boys in the back and pointed at the door. Doug felt most guilty and left. Think we all took turns in the doghouse.

Kelvin would sweep awards at the Manitoba Music Festival in 1983. The school would go on to win the nationals as well when the recorded program at The Playhouse went to Ontario for adjudication.

To the troupe of Music Man, I want to say how expert the costuming, make-up, performances and overall show was. The humour, the tremendous acting were all a credit to the highest level of commitment and I was pleased to have been in the audience.

I'm not as well versed in the arts of some my talented high school grads are. I've seen great plays and musicals in a  number of countries. I've worked in TV and film occasionally but I can say beyond doubt that I was privileged to see such talent at Kelvin in such a short time. The Music Man was simply a great night.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster Party 1983 in River Heights

At the end of of June of 1983, the graduating class of Kelvin High School was not done. Many were headed off to university at U of W and U of M in the fall, some further afield. Some were working already. 
However, there were a few concerts to attend, a few house parties to go to, work to earn money before school and 60 days of renting Star Wars to watch.
The concerts attended. Some local acts too. Think I saw Elias, Schritt and Bell several times. 
August 27, 1983 The Police
September 14, 1983 David Bowie
I took a miss on Hall and Oates which had a reputation as one of the worst concerts in years and made fans of the group turn into critics. Smarmy was used to describe Hall at that event.
Like a lot of high school students, Kelvin kids watched the re-packaged BBC series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which began in December of 1982 and ran through the winter of 1983. That, and a whole lot of Monty Python, Fawltey Towers and some Doctor Who gave the class a plethora of useful material to disrupt classes. 
Run away! Run Away!
What? Behind the rabbit? It iiiiisss the rabbit!
Every sperm in sacred.
Upon graduation in 1983 from Kelvin High school and the interim to what was to come next, Tom George had the Brock Street home address to himself as the parental units made a pilgrimage to the home land. The result of this was a determination to bbq and to find the formula for the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the drink favoured at Milliways, a bar at the end of the galaxy. 
It was described as thus:
"...having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick."
At the time, there was no way to know what the recipe was. Lots of experimenting ensured.
This is what some say it is:
  • 1 oz vodka (that Ol' Janx Spirit)
  • 1 oz Clamato (oh, those Santraginus fish)
  • 1 oz ice cold gin (Arcturan Mega-gin)
  • 4 oz Zipang Sparkling Sake (Fallian marsh gas)
  • 1 oz Creme de Menthe (Qalactin Hypermint extract)
  • 1 Jalapeno (tooth of an Algolian Suntiger)
  • Sprinkle with lemon zest (Zamphuor)
  • add an olive
We used several of those ingredients minus the sake. Somehow a Tom Collins ended up being made many nights.
Regardless, a formula was devised, tickets were sold to the initial tune of $115. However, more tickets were sold at the door when supplies ran out. In the end the tally was north of $300 for a high school/university party. A punch bowl was filled, the formula made and the dress code of bathrobe and tie loosely enforced on a lovely night in July.
Tickets were printed up on Jeff Thomas' ancient printing machine along with our business cards of Angus Corporation which caused problems at the border a few times.
Angus Corporation hosted the party. Angus was Tom's dog who was more less held together by steroids and alcohol. He was a springer spaniel with perennially blood shot eyes and pissy attitude about how his dinner was prepared.
Road construction was taking place on Brock so it was a mess on the street with hundreds of students coming to Tom's house. Cars were parked down three streets.
All in all a successful event except for one neighbour who called early in the morning and got hold of Tom's brother who took the heat for the late night festivities. Tom was fast asleep. And would remain so till mid-day when we would watch Star Wars rented from Video Zone on Academy for the 17th time of 60 days of rentals.
In less than six weeks, university would start for many. I'd be off to University of Winnipeg, Tom and Jeff off to University of Manitoba and some off to work and places beyond. 
You never really think where everyone might be. For many, it would be the last time we'd all be together for those that made it.
In the end, Milliways will always be there and perhaps will be again. I have my bathrobe ready.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dale Hawerchuck Memorial True North Square

Had to go. Very warm night in August in a square with a newly minted video wall. People grieving Hawerchuk who came to the Jets as a teenager and never lost the love of the city the rest of his life.

People coming and paying their respects, laying flowers and posters, watching the video wall of an impossibly young Hawerchuk in Jets uniform and Team Canada uniform.

Hawerchuk came to Winnipeg in 1981 after the Jets spent first years being punished by the NHL with expansion rules aimed to humiliate the team and the city. The arrival of number 10 would mark the beginning of and end of the bottom ranks.

Hockey sticks being laid at his memorial in True North Square. Lots of security present. Always is there. Hawerchuk's number and jersey is just legendary. I suspect more sticks all day tomorrow.

Jets players generally don't live in the cities that drafted them anymore except during the season. Hawerchuk was a legend in the summer too tearing up at his golf club. He probably formed as strong relationships on the course as on the ice.

One note: Just before the sun went down Mark Chipman could be seen sitting on the steps mourning. We all were. 

Hyatt House Seasons of Tuxedo Now Open

The second hotel to open on the Seasons of Tuxedo site after the Hilton Garden Inn opened in 2017 beside the Outlet Collection Mall. Hyatt House joins the the development on the south side of Sterling Lyon Parkway in front of Cabela's.

The hotel features a large number of apartment style rooms with kitchens attached. Ideal for hotel goers who are longer term stays. With an overall 135 rooms and $25 million in construction costs, it should make a fair splash in the southwest which has seen only two hotels built west of Pembina since the 1960s. 

This is Canada's first Hyatt House and the second hotel built in the city by the Kothari Group owned by Anupam Kothari who also owns the Hampton Inn in the Polo Park area. The hotel industry has been hit bad by the pandemic and hotel since their soft opening July 25 has been running at 25 per cent capacity when 70 per cent is considered profitable. Recovery is not expected for another year or until a vaccine is found. Nevertheless, Hyatt House is positioned strongly for long term.

Winnipeg's burgeoning movie industry seeks out extended stay hotels with kitchens and Hyatt House has 80 with full kitchens. The 24 hour bar and market should also be appreciated by those in entertainment who could be coming back after a night shoot in the wee hours.

Other amenities include a pool and a 900 square foot gym and a barbecue area outdoors for bookings. No hotel survives without meeting rooms and the hotel has 3000 square feet of those which should be useful for the many organizations out there who have had to search outside the area for meeting spaces.

Food should not be a problem either for a banquet or prepared in one of the kitchens in hotel rooms. Complimentary grocery shipping will be done or a guest will be able to shop at the Red River Co-Op going up across the street.

The decor in the lobby look good and bought in the province from Defehrs. Otto Cheng Architecture in Winnipeg did overall design.  What can't be designed is the amazing west view of the entryway to Fort Whyte Alive. Beautiful.

This won't be the last hotel built near Kenaston. Kapyong Barracks is coming soon but given the residential and commercial growth in Winnipeg's south end, hotel space in the area is a long time coming.

It is just around 7 years ago that the entire area was rail and industrial land with brush and new constructed Sterling Lyon Parkway. Prior, it was a two lane asphalt Wilkes and a few side streets of gravel. Quite the change and mostly likely a person visiting a decade after an absence would not recognize the place. At least now they have a hotel or two to stay at.

Monday, July 27, 2020

CJOB Returns Downtown

On Monday, July 27, CJOB returned to downtown for the first time since 1962. They will be go to 201 Portage Avenue on the 30th floor where they will join their colleagues at CKND Global Winnipeg. It will bring together a significant number of broadcasters in one building on the same floor. In the picture above, 201 Portage is the slender of the three Portage and Main towers. With a touch of green.

The station operated in downtown Winnipeg Lindsay building where they baroadcast at 1340 on the dial from 1946 to 1957. They de-camped to 930 Portage Avenue in 1962 into the basement of what once was a Sun Life insurance office built in 1956. The 10th floor of the Lindsay was pricey and also too small for the growing station.

By 1957 the station was operating at 680 on the dial and Winnipeg was booming. Polo Park was built in 1959 and the second span of the St. James Bridge was complete in 1962. The feeling must have been that all of Portage Avenue was becoming a High Street for the city. The location at 930 Portage in a building still very new must have seemed like a no-brainer even if Postal Station D got the main floor and the windows.

The station grew from its crowded basement surroundings and moved upstairs when Postal Station D moved. From 1948, CJOB always had its sister station with it. It was western Canada's first private FM station. It initially just simulcast the AM signal but eventually came to have its own identity and programming. In 1960 it changed from 103.1 to 97.5 on the dial and took on the Town and Country format. In 1965, the sister station became Canada's first true country station. However, by the late 1970s the format became rock and has been soft to hard to classic as the times dictated.

Peggy FM joined the group of two as a jazz refugee from Canwest in 2007. It went through various incarnations from smooth jazz to Christmas music but currently is a soft rock station. If there is one true-ism it is that radio is a dog eat dog world. Big money can be made and lost. And private radio has felt the influence of satellite, Internet and loss of certain types of advertising as much as any in the entertainment business.

In 2011, all three Corus stations moved to the site of the former CKY TV and radio building. The move was instigated by the need for space and to bring the whole operation into the digital world. At 17,000 square feet and a full floor it was larger than their old site at 930 Portage Avenue

Why the move to 201 Portage? It is likely the space open that can been shared with sister TV broadcaster CKND Global Winnipeg. As part of the Corus Network, the 30th floor of the former TD/Canwest building might bring about a new synergy between radio and TV. Once part of the Asper group of companies, the top floors had Canwest executive offices, newspaper offices and CKND Global Winnipeg.

In 2020, can there by synergy between TV and radio companies? They are different animals and attempts have been made with varying degrees of success. A clever company might be able to utilize the talent they have for commercial success. A dumb company might attempt to gouge and forget that the whole thing falls apart if you don't work on content.

In the end it is very interesting that not since near the end of World War II, media is beginning a slow but steady return to downtown Winnipeg.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

St. Vital Centre in 1979 After Opening

From the air in 1979. St. Vital Centre after being built. The anchor stores were Eaton's, The Bay, Woolco and Safeway.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Original Stores in St. Vital Centre 1979

I often get asked what the original stores were in St. Vital Shopping Centre were and where was the foodcourt before. Here it is.
Some of this information is available but not easily searchable so I'm posting because then people will be able to find easier. It will tun up in Google searches better.
Posting about Woolco opening in St. Vital Centre. It remained there till Walmart took them over in 1994.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

CBC's Ismaila Alfa to Host Toronto's Metro Morning

The plum jobs for local radio broadcasting are morning slots in both private and public stations. While there are very good afternoon and evening broadcasts, if a radio station doesn't have its act together in the morning it will suffer the rest of the day.

Two radio hosts came on board in 2013. Marcy Markusa became host of Information Radio and Ismaila Alfa became host of Up to Speed. They had plenty of time to know the Portage Avenue studios of the radio station since they had been working for years there already making the 990/89.3 the top station in the city.

It was not easy. Nearly two decades earlier, CBC Radio was middle to lower end of the ratings. While there was excellence in programming, it was hard to shake the music-only habits of many listeners.

There is much that can wrong trying to come up with the right hosts for radio stations. First you want to build an audience. Get too impatient on that and make changes and it is like not waiting for talent on a hockey team take leadership.

By the time Markusa and Alfa came on board, they were able to slide into chairs with teams that would go into the corners for them. Ratings have been solid. However, morning shows are still everyone's key to success. But what do you do with two hosts that came on in the same year? In radio, you wait for a golden opportunity.

Sometimes that doesn't come in your market. Matt Galloway, the longtime and beloved host of Toronto's Metro Morning was bumped up to CBC's The Current, the national broadcaster's big joint in the AM. This left a huge hole top fill because the morning radio gig can turn into a decade or longer job.

Markusa, a lifelong Winnipegger has her dream job. But Alfa, by way of Nigeria, Edmonton and then Winnipeg must have been thinking: Morning jobs don't come up too often. Is Toronto the right fit? Given his musical background, genial disposition and advocacy, Alfa probably thought how exciting it might be to explore Toronto.

Auditions happened with some of the biggest names in TV and Radio CBC land and today Alfa announce he was taking on the spot at Metro Morning.  It is quite possible we'll still hear Alfa from time to time nationally. That's how it goes with CBC. You are fill in host for holidays and such so don't be surprised to hear Alfa on Q or The Current in years to come.

Winnipeg's loss is Toronto's gain. There are a list of people who might be good in the Up to Speed slot. I think CBC Manitoba has their eyes on someone already but they are likely letting some auditions take place before they announce.

It doesn't hurt to have CBC Manitoba people in the Big Smoke. In recent years they are often the first to correct Toronto born and bred types about Winnipeg and have zero tolerance for nabobs of ignorance.

Congratulations to Alfa. There is a reason why Winnipggers land top jobs. They are usually well rounded because they learn their craft with skilled people who take pride in what they do.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Mr. Mike's Steakhouse Casual Kenaston Closed

I got tip about this. I waited because after I heard the tip was told that a deal might be in place once restaurants opened. But we here we are in July. Mr Mike's SteakhouseCasual is closed and it won't be re-opening.

Even before the pandemic, there were rumours of trouble. At $25,000 per month rent you have to be busy from day 1. By January rent was not being paid.
Perhaps Keg-like prices without Keg-like service was just not going to work in a city like Winnipeg that loves its steaks.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Kildonan Place in 1980 Original Stores

The anchor stores are all gone but some stores have remained this entire time. Hello Coles Books. Sad to say that Coles Books at Cityolace didn't survive. The both opened within a year of each other.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Four Safeways to be Converted to Freshcos

The Safeway at McGillivary and Pembina last Thursday on one of my last walks. It will be the site of one of the four new Freshcos.

Some time ago I reported that Safeway/Sobeys was going to be converting stores into Freshcos. So far Winnipeg has two which are operated as franchises at Regent and Lagiomediere and at Jefferson and McPhillips.
Aside from the Pembina location, the other three Freshcos will be Safeways at Niakwa Village and on Sargent that will be converted to Freshcos and a former location at Bronx and Henderson that has stood empty since 2015 will be renovated and also be a Freshco but not till 2021.
All Freshcos will have pharmacies and be locally owned. The re-opening of the Bronx and Henderson location will create 100 new jobs while 100 jobs will be retained with the other stores.
There were far too many Safeway/Sobeys when the merger took place. Even when the combined company was forced to sell four stores by the federal government they still have stores across the street from one another operating under the same flyer and the same corporate policy. It made the overall company vulnerable to new competitors.

The benefits of local ownership have been demonstrated often by having Food Fare, No Frills and others here. They choose to sponsor different things, give chance to other products and more keyed in to local needs.

Obviously some union people will be affected. They will lose their jobs with the corporation and I'm assuming will be re-hired by the franchise owner. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on wage or working conditions. It will depend on the person. However, in the end there will be more jobs to be had that what existed before.

In all, some great news and for Winnipeg consumers, it could mean better prices overall for groceries.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Addition Elle, Thyme and Walmart Tire and Lube Express to Close

The retail collapse that existed before the pandemic continues even as stores slowly re-open across Canada. Reitman's which owns Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity stores will be closing on of them coast to coast before end of summer.

In Winnipeg that will be affect Addition Elle's Kenastton Smart park location and the location across from Polo Park on Empress. Thyme Maternity has a location in St. Vital Centre.

Walmart is closing its Tie and Lube Lube Express. across Canada. The only one that appears open in Winnipeg is at the St. Vital Walmart. Others at St. Vital Centre and Portage Avenue West appear to have already closed. And some Walmart seem to have never had them in the first place,.

There is little doubt Walmart will be able to re-purpose the space but this should as an example that even the mighty merchandiser has a tough time competing in this market.

Total number of jobs lost is unknown. However, it is the spaces left that might be hard to fill with the closure of Reitman properties. The power centre at Kenaston has been hot over and over recently. Could they be the one that starts converting to residential first in Winnipeg?

Monday, June 1, 2020

High and Lonesome Club to Open Huge New Patio

Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club will be opening a patio between the Fortune Building and the Winnipeg Hotel. I saw it on my walk on Saturday and checked their website and indeed there is an announcement there plus a zoning announcement.
Construction is taking place this week. The placed will be called The Beer Can and in one fell swoop, it can help change the summer on Main Street. A large patio allows for distancing, creates streetlife and is a great use for a space without turning it into a surface parking lot.
It is not immediately in front of the High and Lonesome which makes it unique. It is on the far left.
The site being prepared in this picture. Big enough for music too?
High and Lonesome Club has gotten a second life from its building being preserved. The Beer Can could take it to a whole new level.  I suspect there will be huge excitement about this the day it opens.

We may have entered Phase 2 today but there is nothing normal about this summer. The patio on Main will be the most exciting thing this section of street has seen since the turn of the century.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Empress Bike and Walking Path

When the Winnipeg Blue Bombers moved to the University of Manitoba campus, the city promised that the sale of the both arena and stadium land would lead to road improvements with the new cash. Well, it didn't quite work out that way for the land sale. However, the cash has come regardless because after years of heavy use from retail and recreation, St. James, Empress and several cross streets were in rough shape.

St. James has been improved for a long stretch and they continue in and around Sargent where the Superstore is. Empress has been worked on from the overpass to Ellice or so. As the soil indicates, they are doing the landscape as well as sidewalk and cycling path construction now.
What is coming is wide, beside the creek, on a path that has been used for decades by citizens even when not official.
It will be lined with ornamental lamps and if Polo Park is developed for residential, this pathway will prove prescient. Empty or underutilized parking lots helps no one. Polo Park has used more of their space for restaurants and retail but I don't think anyone can disagree that the online world is changing eating and shopping habits.
The city deserves full credit. Well marked off parking spaces, smooth road, nice touch with lights, wide sidewalk and walking path coming.
This is very much going to be liked by a whole lots of people when it is done.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Manitoba Metis Federation to Take Over Bank of Montreal Building

A view of the the Bank of Montreal from the Fairmont Hotel.

It has been announced that the bank has sold the building to the Manitoba Metis Federation. The bank itself will be moving the branch across to 201 Portage which presently as a RBC sign at the top of the bulding.
Work being down at 201 Portage Avenue. This used to an inside corridor. At one time there were metal doors that closed at either end. At some point they were stolen and sold for scrap presumably. The space has been dead space ever since. Some people used to sneak down there to smoke.

For 201 Portage Avenue which used to be the TD building and then Canwest building, it was not a good look. It seems the banks are changing spot on the street regularly now. The TD logo is now across the street.

The Bank of Montreal building built in 1913 and declared a heritage site in 1980 has a memorial out front commemorates the 200 employees who died in WWI. It has been lovingly been upkept but in recent years the corner has decayed and it isn't easy to access.

The handover seemed done on Manitoba's 150th birthday was done with a high degree of bonhomie. The bank's sale is a statement that it did not want its old building to sit empty. The purchase by the MMF is also a statement that they are there to do business and and bringing their not inconsiderable financial offices into the building.
Presently, the Manitoba Metis Federation have their offices in a large building built to house all the Canadian Pacific offices at 150 Henry. It is a handsome building and fairly large right by the Disraeli Freeway, I have no special insight to what they will do with their old building but it does house their vocational college which could benefit from having more space.

However, consider this: The MMF hinted that they will be making an announcement soon on bigger property than the Bank of Montreal at Portage and Main.

Lest anyone wonder if MMF has the money for purchases, keep in mind they were awarded $154 million in 2018 by the Supreme Court on a 1981 challenge on a failure to compensate for 1.4 million acres they were promised 150 years ago.
The MMF has been pushing hard for Metis to seek higher learning and a list each year those getting medical, legal, engineering, educational and social sciences degrees. It is impressive. Education is how you can really assist people in living fulfilling lives where they contribute to the overall benefit of themselves and society.

A number of people have reacted negatively or fearfully or in many cases with darker feelings to this announcement. Manitoba joined Confederation with the Metis leading the way. It has become a strong province but it has tried to absolve itself of the agreement they signed to 150 years ago. It has taken decades for the courts to resolve all this.

People complain about the poverty and the permanent underclass in Manitoba. The solution for that is not prison or death. It is fulfilling the obligation that was made and watching the Metis become the Manitobans they always wanted to be when this originally started.

I am happy the Bank of Montreal will not whither in neglect or as we dithered on what to do with it. It will be a cultural and business centre for the Metis and in some we'll see the province lifted in ways that show we are in this together.

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Last Arby's in Winnipeg Closed

And then there was none.

It is reported that Kildonan Place Arby's closed and will not be re-opening.

Kildonan is undergoing a major renovation and a new food court. Arby's will not be going.

In 2013, there was two mall restaurants and one stand-alone.

Is it the end?

Well, we have seen Swiss Chalet leave and then come back, KFC to a lot of closings and then come back. But will people come back for curly fries? Time will tell.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

River Heights/Sir John Franklin Walk March 29

A look down the back lane at Kingway and Lanark March 29 Friday. Several sunny days in a row and on off work since March 15. Working at my parent's every day and going for a walk to create a routine.
Along Lanark from Academy to Taylor are bays. There is only one street that does this from one end to the other in the neighbourhood. Above is Lanark bay between Kingsway and Academy.


Kids gravitate to the parks. Many have picnic tables, some parks have kids toys in them year round. In this bad it was not unusual for 50 or more kids playing in one of the largest of the Lanark bays.

=
Heading south down Lanark towards Grosvenor, you reach the section that used to be Sir John Frankin School but had been a field from 1991 to 2018. The school itself was built in 1921 and served the surrounding area for Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Above are the 31 homes (some still being built) on the former school ground with a new cross street between Beaverbrook and Lanark called Greenlawn Street. Kind of messes the tradition of streets running north and south and avenues running east and west. Bottom photo is Greenlawn Street from Lanark.

A look down Greenlawn towards beaverbrook Street. The houses are expensive even compared to River Heights standards.


Greenlawn is designer homes that are completely different from each other in look. Only a few empty lots remain. Lots of families seem to have moved in so far.
A look back towards Lanark Street. They planted trees last year. Only a few years ago, there were 40 or 40 people a day or more taking their dogs here even though it was a school field not a park. The school division granted Sir John Franklin Community Club use of fields for soccer and other sports. Dog owners torn the fence to get inside and the fields were left in bad shape.
A look down Beaverbrook Street toward Grosvenor. Sir John Franklin elementary school used to face out this way and in the 1980s had a play structure built out front.

The school division held onto the land for years as surplus. Truth is that some schools come back like Sir William Osler whhen certain programs like French immersion take off.
Beaverbrook Street has some of the finest elms you will find in River Heights.
The corner of Beaverbook and Grosvenor.

Eventually, the school division sold the land. The city wanted no part of buy land at market value nor the upkeep of it. Dog owners took umbrage.
Looking back down Beaverbook.
Looking down Grosvenor. Westworth Church is on the right.
During the pandemic you can see many houses with kids drawings in the windows. This house on Grosvenor opposite Westworth Church.



Westworth was name that came from west River Heights and Dr. H.B. Duckworth, the first minister. It opened in 1954.
A look back down Grosvenor at the new houses on Sir John Frankin's old site.

Leo Mol did the stained glass windows here. They really are something to see from inside or out at night.

The roundabouts were added with no consultation, no study. The bike path along Grosvenor in much the same way. They are dangerous to cars, bikes, people and animals.
This controversial former fire hall should never have been the subject of land trades. The backroom self-dealing is poor governance. I wish we could say it has ended but even today we see one land holder as in the airport have sway of other landholders in Polo Park. If noise and height is truly a concern of the airport, should hotel development on airport land not be curtailed?

The north rink and satellite building are among the oldest components of Sir John Franklin Community Centre. The building has for decades been a wreck and the rink has been been through it as well.

The playground, slide and wading pool are pretty basic. The satellite building is not fit for any recreation facility.
The main building for Sir John Franklin and a urban basketball court right next to the dumpster.
The only entrance to the community centre fore decades used used to though the backlane. This entrance used to be smaller so when they built Sir John Frankin Road, it could only be used for pedestrians.

The urban basketball court and the main building. And addition in the late 1970s allowed for the community center to host hockey tournaments when my change areas were added as well as space to service the rinks. The two southern rinks became the focus of activity and have hosted as many as three rinks back there.

The main building in recent years had an active social rental business but the combination of three community clubs of Crecentwood and River Heights has meant more is done to keep only one of them active for that business.

Sir John Franklin has a little of every sport and recreation but it could stand to to replace and re-purpose some of the land. The absence of a dog park is perhaps the most obvious need in the area.

The two southern rinks for Sir John Franklin and the dressing room section that was built around the same time as Sir John Franklin Road was built in 1978/79. Prior, the dressing rooms were down some stairs and players had to walk down stairs to crowded space limited to two teams at a time. The entrance off the backlane on Lanark was closed.

The old Sir John Franklin Community Centre logo featuring Explorers. The building was a warming hut more than anything for in-between periods when rinks sometimes had to be shoveled off.

Sir John was the oldest of the community clubs in River Heights. It first started at Wellington Crescent in 1922 beside footbridge. It is now only a playground and tennis courts, It has been re-done so check it out if you haven't done so in a while. In 1940-46 a facility was built at Kingsway and Lindsay and in 1966, the current building was built.

River Heights (1946) and Crescentwood (1946) are babies compared to SJF as community centers, And yet in 2012, the Cardinals, Grizzlies and Explorers merged together as they all needed strength is shared services. The combined team is called the Comets. Go Comets.

Community clubs need some love. It is why I believe a dog park is a possible use of SJF land with a reconfiguration of the north part of the property.
Popping out of the alley at Lanark and walking down the street, you can see across at Renfrew a Circle K. Used to be Mac's. The award-winning Enoteco and Chinese food restaurant round out the tenants. For a long time River Heights used to be a food desert and people went to Kenaston just to go Grapes or Peppers.
In 1985, the old Safeway which closed in 1979 in favour of the newly re-done Tuxedo Safeway. It say empty till was converted to multiple shops. Bernstein's became an anchor Village Streetwear was another. The second building opened around 1993 when Royal Bank moved across the street. Just New Releases became an anchor as well as a video store.
In 1983, Domino's opened its first international location here on Corydon. It has been there ever since. Carellan Sewing Centre and Corydon Animal have been here even longer.
Safeway moved around a lot in River Heights with several locations but eventually moved out entirely in favour of the Tuxedo location.
Where Enteco is now used to be a Quiznos. However, many of them closed in Winnipeg with on St. James Street coming to mind as remaining.
The VQ Salon used to be Styx Comics for a while before a move to Academy Road as Comics America. Prior to that it was a Royal Bank until early 1990s when it moved across the street.
La Cantina portion of Mona Lisa used to be Nieman's Pharmacy. The middle section of Mona Lisa used to be Papa George's till 1982. Before that it was George's in the 1970s. The far end of Mona Lisa was Tony's barbers shop and beside the a women's hair salon.
Gatewest Coin used to also also house Styx Comics for a a number of years.
The nature of this mall since 1985 has been very local in nature. It has had very little in the way of big operators here. It is an important place for business who don't fit traditional mall, street location or big box business operations.
Corydon has been getting rehabilitation section by section. They are trying trees in the median again. I hope they can withstand salt and sand. Several have been struck too by speeding vehicles.
Lanark Gardens apartments have gone through upgrades the last few years. One thing that hasn't changed is there are more cars than parking spaces for residents.
The Anglican Christ Church was on Corydon at Lanark from 1956 to 2008 when it was sold to Diamond Gallery. The parish had grown too small for the church that was once home to a daycare and for decades sold plant seeds every year.
Heading back north on Lanark. This is another example of new housing going up in River Heights. Every street has an example of this. For years it was unheard of to see complete re-builds in the neighbourhood.
Westworth back in March offered assistance to those kept in by the pandemic. This is assistance is being offered all over the city by people.

And back to Greenlawn and Lanark. The trees that always lined the fence of Sir John Franklin Elementary remain today. Everyone insisted they stay.

So ended my walk from Sundasy, March 29, 2020