Monday, January 19, 2015

Original Pancake House Coming to Kenaston

The first Original Pancake House Pembina
The city has approved for a 5500 square foot Pancake House to be built on the west side parking lot of the Odeon VIP Theatre at Kenaston and McGillivary. Over the years the Original Pancake House has expanded to Polo Park and The Forks.

The Kenaston area has been sadly lacking good breakfast and brunch places for a sit down meal. IKEA and Perkins have been built in the last years but many other places don't really get started till noon hour.

A few years back there was a bit of a commotion when it looked like House of Pancakes was going to move into Seasons of Tuxedo. The company adamantly said there were no plans for that despite a map showing that this was precisely what was proposed. No doubt that Winnipeg's love for pancakes in the Kenaston area spurred Original Pancake House into action.

Pancake House site across from Costco
The proposed site across from Costco on Columbia Road and in the parking lot beside the Odeon VIP Theatre is likely to be successful. St. Gianna's Catholic Church is right across the road as well.

It is a known fact that churchgoers love pancakes.

The big question is how will be people in Whyte Ridge react? When there was a proposal for apartments just a short distance away, they reacted with anger and signed a petition in the thousands.

Several years back the people in Linden Woods were up in arms about a Keg restaurant going up across the street from the housing development. The fear was that the smell of steak would make dogs nuts in Linden Woods.

Could the smell of pancakes waft into Whyte Ridge and turn non churchgoers into churchgoing people? I hope city council remembers to examine this issue closely as they did when they rejected the first plans for The Keg on Waverley.

I say good luck to The Original Pancake House in their quest for their Kenaston location!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Uniform Will Chief Clunis Wear?

I'm here for the honours
I once asked but really never found out an answer what the standard is and how decisions are made on what uniforms senior officers of Winnipeg Police service wear and when they wear them. Watching Chief Clunis, I am still curious what uniform comes out and why.

Some uniforms are obviously worn for days when honours are given and not for just showing up for a work day. Expect a high collar and buttons up to the top in a true blue military style shirt with black pants and red stripe down. When Chief Clunis was announced as chief, the high collar came out.

Fancy meal dress
If a fancy meal is order, the tux is under a very dressy blue police jacket with lapels and epaulettes. If the Chief Clunis is to be in attendance at an awards banquet, he pulls the tux out.

Just one of the guys in blue today
Sometimes Chief Clunis wants to just appear as one of the guys in blue. One can never be sure of what day that will be. However, when that happens, it is a dark shirt and black tie.

If the Chief thinks it a day to be a boss, the white shirt and black tie come out.

I'm the boss today
When does the decision come that senior officers like the chief are the boss and when are they just guys in blue? Not quite sure. I assume that they call each other at home and ask: is it blue or white today?

Hey, it's summer...we're not crazy
Sometimes you need to appear as the brass but it's summer. Well, senior officers are not crazy, they have white and blue short sleeves shirts and no ties. But who decides? If it is cool in morning and deputy wears long sleeves and black tie and chief wears short sleeves and no tie, does the deputy get sent home to fix the problem? What if one wears blue and the other white? Oh my.

This is business or religion or one of my guys has done bad
There are times the chief ditches the uniform altogether. This doesn't mean he is not chief anymore.

If Chief Clunis talks to the mayor about budget, it is manno et manno in business suits. If the Chief talks about religion and policing, it is back to suit as well.

And especially if an officer has done bad, expect the police uniform to be hanging in the closet and the suit is on.

How do these decisions get made? Beats me but someone makes them every day. It is been happening for a while if one looks at past pictures of chiefs.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Target Shutting Down All Canadian Stores

Target Canada announced today that their expansion into Canada has been a total failure and they will be shutting down all stores.

The 133 stores and over 17,000 employees will be affected.

In Winnipeg, the Polo Park location just barely opened.

It has been known for some time that Target was struggling in Canada. The losses have mounted to over $2 billion. The liquidation of the stores will cost upwards of $600 million.

The reasons for Target's failure is numerous but high prices, empty shelves, poor locations and comparing poorly to their American cousin are generally accepted as being the top complaints.

Target was initially welcomed in Canada with huge enthusiasm but soon disappointment set in. The company's response was that they were competitive in Canada and it was unfair to compare Canada's Target to America's stores. The problem is that Canadians didn't think they were competitive and it was hard not to believe that they couldn't get what was seen in U.S. stores.

Job growth in Canada in 2014 was very slow. And with oil prices dropping, there is some indication the economy is going to be tough in 2015 for some provinces. The massive failure of Target will be just added salt to an economy still not recovered from one slide after another since 2008.

It is difficult to imagine just what will happen to all the closed stores. It is possible Walmart might pick up some of the best locations. But then again, why would they if there were bad spots to begin with.

Target might not be the only daprtment store to die in  2015. By all accounts, Sears Canada is also circling the drain. The U.S. Sears shuttered a large amount of Kmarts and Sears just in the last days. This is on top of all the other closures.

Another store in Canada announced their liquidation this week as well. Mexx will begin the process of selling off all their stock.

What did it all mean? This is hard to tell. However, any sense of triumph about the Canadian economy going forward is sure to be muted.

Fear is now replacing confidence in many regions and many sectors.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

City TV's Breakfast Television Blown Up

Breakfast TV on City TV Winnipeg was the first to really do local content on early morning TV in Winnipeg. They had the market to themselves. CBC, CTV and Global were all latecomers to the game.

The first version of the show was called The Big Breakfast and started on the old A Channel way back in 1997 and featured Jimmy Mac and Jon Ljungberg. The Craig family-owned stations mimicked Toronto's CityTV program The Big Breakfast started back in 1989.

CityTV used to be a very cutting edge television enterprise and Winnipeg's A-Channel used quite a lot of their programming to fill their Canadian content regulations. However, for their local broadcasts, they had The Big Breakfast which did very well and seemed to not attract any notice from the big players in the market.

For years CKY was content to play Canada AM from Toronto in the Winnipeg market. The ratings were probably sufficient to justify it. CBC also used Newsworld programming in the early hours.

In 2004, the Craig family sold their interests in A-Chanel to CityTV and The Big Breakfast was replaced with Breakfast Television in 2005. Not much really changed as the format was pretty much identical. Aside from hosting changes, BT had the local market to themselves.

However, in 2011 and 2012 CTV and Global Television  entered the local breakfast television market and it appears the first one to blink was CityTV's Breakfast Television.

This week 14 or the 25 staff were given the axe and 11 were assigned to a new radio and TV format hosted by 92 CITI FM star Wheeler and his co-hosts Phil Aubrey and Rena Jae. Two CITYTV hosts Drew Kozub and Jenna Khan have survived the cut and will join the new 6 to 9 program.

It is hard to know how this program will look and feel. It will be shot in the studios of CITYTV at The Forks. The understanding is that when music is played for the radio show, the cut away will be to the CITYTV hosts. If this sounds confusing them you're not alone.

CBC Manitoba will also be doing a radio and TV hybrid where their morning radio hosts will be seen on TV. This is more akin to what we saw with Q, the big CBC radio product formerly hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. The show was routinely broadcast for television as well as radio.

The big difference for CBC's entry into the market is that it really is just a radio show being televised.

It is very difficult to know what this new radio and television concept will look like for CITYTV. However, it is obvious that it has fewer staff, it won't be doing any location work and probably will conduct less community content.

My big question is for 92 CITI is: what do you get out of this? The Wheeler show is one of the top rated radio programs in Winnipeg. Will this help or hinder your status as being on top.

My big question for CITYTV is: Are your costs that much higher that you have to dump so many staff from one of your marquee local programs? Is Rogers looking to get every dollar they can from committing to $5 billion for NHL hockey?

I guess we will also see next week how this plays out.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Old Charleswood Library Closing, New One to Open Soon

Location of new Charleswood Library
Before 2011, Canada Post and Rogers Video here
In 2011 there was some angst in Charleswood about Charleswood Square at Dieppe and Roblin about multiple closings in Charleswood Square. The mini-retail and service area in the middle of the suburb had seen a Canada Post and a Rogers Video close in addition to other retailers. Empty storefronts abounded.

The call for something to be done went out but what can the city do when businesses leave a retail site? Well, the answer apparently is build a new branch library for Charleswood.

Built in the corner of Charleswood Square
The question of what to do with the old Charleswood library was a big one. It was old, small but centrally located. In the case of the old fire hall, the decision was to knock it down and built on the old site. It was probably possible to do that on the old site but only if the old Charleswood Municipal building came down as well. That part of the building houses the Charleswood Historical Society as well as the Charleswood Seniors Centre.

The building of such a complex would have been costly and there is no question that parking was already at a bare minimum what with a bus circle in the lot.

The struggling Charleswood Square immediately next door seemed to be the answer. It had a traffic light at Dieppe for controlled turns onto Roblin Boulevard. It was very close to the bus loop where the old library was not to mention the Charleswood Seniors Centre.

Given the size of the mall, it was decided to triple the space of the library.

The old library is now closed and the transfer of books and staff begins in earnest. The library is expected to open January 9.

The building of the police building on Grant, the fire hall on Roblin and now the library represents the biggest infrastructure commitment from the city since Charleswood became a part of the city in 1972.