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Tuesday, 6 June 2023

New housing complex on Ross Avenue has ties to the old Winnipeg Hotel

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

What does the new Ross Ellen Housing complex on Ross Avenue have in common with the old Winnipeg Hotel on Main Street? Fort-seven affordable housing units.

The Pollard family bought the Fortune Block, Macdonald Block and Winnipeg Hotel back in 2016 to  save them from demolition. Of the three blocks, the toughest one to renovate was going to be the Winnipeg Hotel as its 47 rooms were occupied.

The fact that 47 people would lose their homes was a great concern to the family and they knew that renovating the Winnipeg Hotel was not going to be a quick fix.

They soon started the process of what became funding the construction of this brand new 47-unit affordable housing unit on Ross Avenue. The initial thought was that it could be built before the hotel closed and the residents would have the option to apply for residence.

Constructing a new housing complex took longer than expected and the poor condition of the hotel meant that it had to close in 2019.

Though the deadlines didn't match up, it is great to see that the loss of the Winnipeg Hotel did not mean a loss of affordable housing units.

If you're curious as to what used to sit on the land of the new housing complex, it was home to the Gardener's Co-op / Jansen Produce building. It was part of "Fruit Row", one of several fruit and veg  wholesalers along Ross Avenue served by a railway spur line.

The Co-op branded its vegetables "Peak of the Market", a trade name that still exists today.

Monday, 22 May 2023

A new West End Café!


Like many, I was saddened when SCOUT Coffee vacated its home at Portage and Home Street in favour of its Rothesay Street location in late 2022. I'm not a huge coffee shop person, but it is a great amenity that every neighbourhood should have.

I noticed some activity taking place in the space of over the past few weeks and the windows were uncovered on Saturday to reveal another café!

The place is called Cleocatra Café, or Quan Cop Phe. I didn't notice the pun in the name at first and through it was Cleopatra.

It's an eclectic little space with coffees, smoothies, and basic desserts.

Uniquely, it has a cat room at the back. You pay admission and the funds go to a cat rescue. You can even adopt one of the cats. (The room is glassed in, so they're not running around the whole place or anything like that.)

I'm not really a cat person so I didn't pay to go in and check it all out but more information about it was in last week's Free Press Community Review.

Anyhow, a unique little business in the neighbourhood that you might want to pay a visit to!

Thursday, 18 May 2023

Jack Garland: The West End's music composer / pharmacist

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

Portrait: May 25, 1944, The Jewish Post

Saul “Jack” Garland's first love was music, though his parents convinced him to have a more stable profession to fall back on. For nearly five years he was a West End pharmacist by day and a composer by night.

Born in Winnipeg in 1915, Garland grew up in the North End and attended Norquay, Luxton, and Machray schools before going on to St. John’s High School. He then enrolled at the U of M’s College of Pharmacy and earned a silver medal for the second-highest marks in second year before graduating in 1940.

In the 1941 street directory, the data for which would have been compiled in 1940, Garland is listed as a druggist living at 98 Inkster Boulevard with no place of work was identified. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a financial clerk with the federal treasury department from 1941 to 1947.

Garland was working at Modern Drugs at 731 Wellington Avenue by 1948. He took over the store in 1949 and renamed it Garland's Modern Drugs.

March 2, 1950, The Western Jewish News

During his time at university and with the RCAF, Garland also pursued his musical career.

Garland had been a chorister at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue in his youth. After studying music under  F. C. Niermeder in Winnipeg, F. J. Horwood at the Toronto Conservatory, and at the Eastman School of Music at St. Paul, Minnesota, he became the synagogue's choir leader and eventually its musical director. He was also the musical director of the 1945 Winter Club Ice Carnival and a number of Jewish Musical Club productions as well as the head of the local B'nai B'rith Youth Choir.

By the time Garland was 30, which was in 1945, he had written 25 songs in both English and Hebrew, 50 choral compositions, a string quartet, and 300 choral arrangements.

Garland completed his Symphony in A Minor in 1949 which he submitted to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto as his thesis for his Associate Diploma. He told a Winnipeg Tribune reporter that it took him a year to write in his spare time. The Jewish Post described the symphony as a "decidedly Hebrew-influenced modern piece". Garland admitted the influence, as well as that of Bach and Beethoven.

February 21, 1953, Winnipeg Free Press

While running the drug store, Garland's musical workload increased as he is mentioned quite regularly in the entertainment section of the daily and Jewish newspapers for his work.

February 26, 1953 was likely the biggest night of Garland's musical career when the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, under director / conductor Walter Kaufman, played the fourth movement of his Symphony in A Minor, also called Rondo Gracioso, at one of their concerts.

Garland ran the pharmacy until 1953 around 1954 as it changed its name to Selby's Drug Store. In 1955, he took on the full-time job as the musical director of Shaarey Zedek Synagogue.

January 14, 1978, Winnipeg Free Press

As for his personal life, Garland married Bessie Fiterman in 1947 and the couple had three children, Adreinne (b. ca. 1949), Wayne (b. ca. 1953), and Philip (b. ca. 1960). Through the 1950s they lived at 537 Rupertsland and moved to 769 Niagara in 1960.

Rabbi Milton Aron, who had served at Shaarey Zedek since 1947, left Winnipeg in 1966 for New York. He persuaded Garland to also go to larger cities in the U.S. where he could expand his musical aspirations.

The family initially moved to Cleveland, Ohio where Garland was associated with the Park Synagogue. In the early 1970s, they relocated to New Haven, Connecticut where he continued to write and compose and commuted for work mainly to  particularly to New York City.

Garland later admitted to a Free Press reporter that given the opportunities and success he found in New York City, "I was sorry I hadn't moved here 15 years earlier".

In 1967, Garland was one of 500 Manitobans awarded a special centennial Order of the Crocus for his contributions to the province.

The following June, he and Bessie returned to Winnipeg for the wedding of their daughter, Adrienne, to Michael Kess, also of Cleveland, at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue.

In 1972, he again returned to the city in his role as executive Vice President of Jewish Fund of America.

January 5, 1978, Winnipeg Free Press

On January 6 and 7, 1978, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra again performed the fourth moment of Garland's Symphony in A Minor as part of a "Music of the World" series. Garland returned to Winnipeg for the performances.

While in town, the Jewish Historical Society and Jewish Women's Club of Winnipeg co-sponsored "An Evening With Jack Garland" on January 6th at the Planetarium. His talk was entitled "100 years of Jewish music in Winnipeg" at which he donated copy of the score of his symphony to the JHS.

After 1978, Garland's life is a bit of a mystery. He is no longer mentioned in local papers, including The Jewish Post.

This geni.com entry indicates that Garland died in St. Louis, Missouri on April 16, 1998 at the age of 83 and is buried in B'Nai Amoona Cemetery, University City, Missouri. As of 2014, Bessie was still alive.

Other buildings on this block:
724 Wellington Avenue Tavistock Apartments
730 Wellington Avenue Verdin's Grocery R.I.P.
747 Wellington Avenue Former Huddle House R.I.P.

Sunday, 30 April 2023

The hidden former bakery on Henry Avenue

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

I was walking down Henry Street a few weeks back when I noticed this old facade sandwiched in between two sections of modern wall. Initially, I thought the old building may have been part of Manitoba Cartage and Storage that had a huge presence in the area at one time. This included an office at Henry Avenue near Lizzie Street and a huge stable along Fountain Street stretching from Higgins Avenue back to Henry Avenue.

After more research, I found that this was not part of Manitoba Cartage at all. It was a long-standing bakery owned by George J. Timms that pre-dated the stable. This modern version of that bakery opened in 1907.

Here's a look back at Timms and his bakery.

1891 Census of Canada (Library and Archives Canada)

George Timms came from England with his wife Isabella and three children around 1883.

The 1891 census shows George living with what was by then five children at 375 Common Street, (which was renamed Henry Avenue around 1890). The address becomes 411 Henry in the 1895 street directory and it is unclear if this is just change was due to a renumbering of the street as more development took place or a move to a new house.

For many years, street directories do not list a place of work for Timms which could mean he ran a small operation from the home. In 1897, he goes to work at the bakery of J. T. Speirs located at Higgins Avenue and Maple Street.

December 11, 1903, The Voice

Ads for Union Bakery at 411 Henry Avenue began appearing in the local labour newspaper The Voice in April 1900. Initially, it was a partnership between Timms and William Milton, who was likely a co-worker of his at J. T. Speirs. The partnership dissolved in June 1901 when Milton left to take over a bakery on Ross Street.

Timms was an active member of the local labour movement. He was on the 1899 Labour Day organizing committee and held committee roles in other labour organizations.

Business appears to have been good at Union Bakery and it was expanded in August 1902 with the addition of a second brick oven.

The building seen now at 411 Henry Avenue was built in 1907.

Construction got underway in April on two structures. The first was a brick building on a stone foundation measuring 66 x 45 feet. Out back was a shed measuring 45 x 20 feet to house horses and wagons. J. T. Hunter was both designer and builder for the $9,000 project.

The new facility opened later that year under the name Henry Avenue Bakery with G. J. Timms as proprietor. It had a capacity of 3,000 loaves per day, 1000 more than the old bakery.

This was a busy time for construction in the neighbourhood as a permit was granted that same month to Manitoba Cartage to build a 145 x 40 foot extension to its stable across the street that would bring its capacity to 240 horses.

February 18, 1913, Winnipeg Free Press

Timms' business continued to grow with the addition of a retail store at 402 Logan Avenue around 1911 and the addition of four new "baking machines" to the bakery in 1912.

In June 1913, when the bakery was at its peak in terms of production, Timms sold out to Toronto-based Canada Bread Company.

Canada Bread was created in 1911 when George Weston Ltd. merged with four other Ontario bakeries. Within weeks, it announced an expansion to Winnipeg and Montreal on its quest to become Canada's first national bakery.

Before it constructed its main bakery on Burnell Street in 1912, Canada Bread bought up several independent local bakeries such as Perfection, Western, Germain, and Richardson's. It faced criticism for the move as all it did wit the businesses was close them down to eliminate competition.

Canada Bread also bought a large stake in Speirs-Parnell Bakery on Elgin Avenue, one of the city's largest. It provided the bakery with a list of baked goods and quantities it required but allowed the firm to continue to bake and market products locally under its own name as long as the items didn't compete directly with Canada Bread's line-up.

It is unclear if Canada Bread had a previous connection to Timms. Perhaps, like Speirs-Parnell, it had invested in his company in 1912 so that it could use the additional capacity created at Henry Avenue Bakery for its national products. It could also be that Canada Bread simply bought out a growing competitor to shut it down.

Canada Bread likely sold off the property as the building can be found for lease in June 1915 as a bakery or warehouse. (If Canada Bread still owned it, it is unlikely that the company would allow a competing bakery to go back into the space.)

February 17, 1916, Winnipeg Tribune

What did George Timms do with the spare time he now had on his hands? He went off to war.

After the sale of their house/business, George and Isabella moved to 188 Maryland Street and he enlisted with the 90th Battalion in February 1916.

According to Timms' attestation papers, he was 44 years and ten months old, which was just a couple of months shy of the age cutoff for infantry enlistment. This age, however, was a lie. Census documents and his obituary show that he was actually 54 years of age!

It is unclear why a man of 54 would volunteer to go to war. He was born and raised in England, so it could have been a desire to go fight for King and Country or perhaps to get an extended visit back home knowing that he likely would not be sent off to the front lines.

A brief February 1916 Tribune mention of Timms' enlistment noted that he was "already hard at work providing appetizing fare for the men", which suggests he may have been taken on specifically for his baking skills.

Despite his age, Timms was described as "fit" after his military medical checkup and went to England aboard the S. S. Olympic on May 31, 1916. As expected, he did not go off to France. Instead, he was transferred to the 11th Battalion and assigned to Shornecliffe military base where he presumably baked for the tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers who passed through for their final training before they went off to war.

Timms' military file indicates that he began to have health issues, particularly acute back pain, not long after arriving. In mid-June 1917, he was sent to the Buxton Hospital, a Canadian Red Cross convalescent hospital. He was then discharged for being "No longer physically fit for war service" and was shipped back to Canada on July 10, 1917 .

August 16, 1917, Winnipeg Tribune

Back in Winnipeg, Timms was sent to the Military Convalescent Hospital in Tuxedo, Manitoba, (now the Jewish Asper Campus).  He died there on August 14, 1917 after suffering a stroke at the age of 55 and is buried St. John's Cemetery in Winnipeg.

Oliver Timms, a son who also served in the war, was severely wounded in the shoulder and was invalided back to Canada in June 1917.

Soon after George's death, Isabella relocated to Victoria, B. C..

What happened to 411 Henry Avenue?

Matt Thomson, baker and confectionery manufacturer, called it home from around 1915 to 1917. The building then wasn't listed in street directories for many years which suggests it sat empty or was used as storage. In the 1930s, the freight delivery company Western Truck Terminal was located there.

Around 1944, 411 Henry became home to the Paul Sigurdson Construction Company which specialized in road and highway construction. The building was badly damaged by two fires in 1945. A newspaper article described the interior of the building as "gutted" after one of them. Sigurdson made repairs and remained there until around 1953.

Lögberg November 24, 1955

This address disappears from street directories after the departure of Sigurdson and the building was soon absorbed by Manitoba Cartage and Storage.

In 1955, the company opened a new office building and warehouse called Manitoba House at 354 Lizzie Street. The long, 40,000 square foot warehouse portion of the building extends along Henry Avenue and incorporates this building.

Saturday, 29 April 2023

Urban Legends: Is Portage and Main Winnipeg's windiest corner?

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

Portage and Main by Frank Arbuckle, Macleans, May 1, 1947

I was asked on Twitter about Portage and Main's reputation as Winnipeg's (or the country's, or North America's, or the British Empire's) windiest corner. When did it get that title and was it backed by scientific research?

The first mention I can find of "the windiest" intersection comes in a brief Tribune article from April 1946 during a particularly windy spring. A great deal of debris had built up at the intersection and was creating a vortex of trash that swirled around whenever a storm hit. The story starts: "'The windiest spot in Canada', the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street, has the city's scavenging and street cleaning division worried."

This suggests to me that the 'windiest corner' moniker was already in use and the quotation marks around it indicate that it wasn't a statement of fact. For decades, many stories that referenced the windiest intersection title are preceded by things like "generally known as", “the old joke about”, "its reputation as", or "dubbed as."

January 5, 1954, Winnipeg Free Press

What probably helped reinforce the intersection's reputation was media coverage. Just as a reporters today will head to the Forks to help illustrate a story about high water levels in spring, reporters used to head to Portage and Main to get photos to help illustrate a wind or snow storm.

Over time, particularly from the mid 1970s into the 1980s, newspaper stories largely dropped the "old joke about" and began calling the intersection Winnipeg's (or Canada's) windiest as if it was fact.

January 28, 1980, Winnipeg Tribune

There have been some stories that looked into the merits of the windiest corner reputation.

In January 1980, Environment Canada set up a series of wind measuring devices in Winnipeg for a general wind study, not specifically to prove or disprove the Portage and Main theory.

It found that on average Portage and Smith was the windiest place downtown with an average wind speed of 0.1 kilometres more than Portage and Main. The latter did, however, record the largest single wind gust that month and did have the highest overall wind speeds when there was a northerly wind blowing.

A 1987 Free Press story interviewed a supervising climatologist with Environment Canada to look into the claim.

According to its data, Winnipeg was unofficially the third windiest city in Canada behind Regina and St. John's, Newfoundland. The scientist said that it made sense that Winnipeg ranked as one of the windiest downtowns because of its design: "The wind rushes in from the West down Portage Avenue kind of like a garden hose. When it gets to the nozzle or opening (Portage and Main) the nozzle is released and it comes out with greater force."

An architecture professor from the U of M also interviewed for the 1987 story said that what made Portage and Main a particularly windy place was this steady flow of air from the West swirling and churning when it hit the Richardson Building. He noted that his students had done some wind tests around buildings in the downtown and found by far the windiest place encountered was at the base of that tower.

February 17, 1968, Winnipeg Tribune

For the most part, people had fun with the reputation of Portage and Main even if there wasn't scientific evidence to back it up.

It appeared in a series of cheeky ads in 1968 run by the provincial Department of Industry and Commerce to promote investment the province that proclaimed the Richardson Building / Lombard Place development to be the "World's only $40m windbreak". (Another ad featured piles of ore outside the INCO mine at Thompson with the caption "Dig our Manitoba mountains".)

When a U of W prof released data in 1971 to show Portage and Main didn't record the coldest temperatures in the city over the winter, a Free Press editorial replied tongue-in-cheek: "No longer can we pose as hardy types who take winter in their stride with hardly a thought for frozen noses. The impression will quickly be abroad that palm trees and hula girls flourish at our most famous corner."

In December 1975, a 19-year-old from West Kildonan raised over $500 for the Christmas Cheer Board by walking around Portage and Main in a bathing suite and snow boots.

As one Winnipeg Tribune editorial noted, even if Portage and Maiin, records or not: "However frigid or blustery, we love it and respect it as a vital and essential feature of our city".

Other urban legends I explore:
Did Charlie Chaplin really stay at the Windsor Hotel?
Did Bob Hope really play his first game of golf in Winnipeg?
Who had the label longer - Standard or Budweiser?
Was the Arlington Bridge really built to span the Nile?

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

Manitoba Cartage's Logan Avenue Horse Palace

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

This nondescript, mostly vacant lot at the corner of Higgins Avenue and Fountain Street was once home to one of the city's largest stables. It ran all the way back to Henry Avenue and could hold almost 250 horses.

It was built for the Manitoba Cartage and Storage Company which operated from 1882 to about 1976 and for most of its existence had a strong presence in this neighbourhood.

April 1, 1905, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1904, the city sold a large piece of land along Fountain Street between Higgins and Henry avenues to the Manitoba Cartage and Storage Company on which to build a new stable. It hired architect James Chisholm to design the structure.

Chisholm was a prolific architect at the time with hundreds of buildings to his credit. Today, his best-known work is likely the original Olympia Hotel which was later expanded (by another architect) and rechristened the Marlborough Hotel.

The stable measured 100 feet by 293 feet, was two storeys in height, and built with steel beams finished in brick with stone accents. The ground floor was reserved for nearly 200 horses while the upper level was for hay storage.

William Grace and Company was awarded the $50,000 contract to build the stable in April 1905.

A planned extension measuring 154 feet by 40 feet, enough to hold another 50 horses, was added to the side in 1907.

Winning team, 1929 Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, (Source: Int'l Museum of the Horse)

Horses, of course, were the backbone of many companies during this era and several prided themselves on the quality of their stock and showed them at competitions. Different companies had their preferred breed of horse. Eaton's and Crescent Creamery used Hackneys while Manitoba Cartage and Shea's Brewery preferred Clydesdales.     

For decades, Shea's and Manitoba Cartage went head-to-head in the heavy draft category at important horse shows throughout Western Canada and beyond. 

In December 1924, two of Manitoba Cartage's most prized horses, Chief and King, won first place for heavy draft team at the International Livestock Show in Chicago. In the singles showing, Chief took first place and King took fourth. In 1929, the company took best in show for its heavy draft team at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, (see above.)

Most of the accolades for Manitoba Cartage's horses belonged to Scottish-born William McFadyen. The reputable horse breeder came to Manitoba around 1911 and began working for Manitoba Cartage as their stable foreman and had his own business.

McFadyen soon became an esteemed member of the Manitoba Horse Breeders Association and the success of his horses at high-profile events earned him an international reputation.

When he died in 1937 at the age of 71, T. P. Devlin, agricultural superintendent of the  CNR, said "Mr. McFadyen had done more to aid producers of commercial horses than any other man in Manitoba".

August 25, 1926, Winnipeg Tribune

The risk of fire was a major concern for any company operating a stable. Despite shelling out top dollar for theirs to be constructed of fireproof material, Manitoba Cartage's burned to the ground.

The fire started around 10:30 p.m. on the night of August 24, 1926 at the southwest corner of the building. Fortunately, it was noticed quickly enough by McFadyen that he, the night staff, firemen, and neighbours in what was still a fairly residential neighbourhood, were able to rescue the 200 horses inside, including champions like Chief and King. Some made it loose into the neighbourhood and had to be rounded up through the night.

The cause of the fire was believed to be faulty wiring and there was no stopping the blaze once the tons of hay stored there caught fire. Firefighters from six fire halls were called out and three of them plus a police officer had to go to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

The following month, Manitoba Cartage took out a building permit for a new stable at 345 Higgins Avenue. The building was constructed in stages over the next couple of years to include a vehicle garage and central warehouse.

Saturday, 22 April 2023

The McPhillips Street Subway

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

On Friday, there was a derailment of about a dozen rail cars partially above the McPhillips Street subway. Initially, it was thought the street could be closed for days and that there could be serious damage to the structure. Fortunately, that was not the case and it reopened the following day.

With attention being briefly focused on the subway, I thought this would be a good time to look back at its history. Opened in 1911, It serves a link between the CPR yards and its Weston shops, still one of the largest in North America. It has also been the lifeline of CPR traffic to and from Western Canada.

McPhillips at CPR Crossing in 1881 (G. McPhillips' Map of Winnipeg)

As Winnipeg's commercial and residential development in Winnipeg stretched further West in the early 1900s, it came into conflict with the level rail crossing at McPhillips Street. Once a lonely prairie road with a single track, the street was becoming a thoroughfare and the crossing had grown to five tracks connecting the sprawling CPR works yards to its massive Weston Shops.

The city and CPR announced in February 1909 that they had reached an agreement that would see the railway build a subway under the tracks and provide basic lighting and drainage. The city would be responsible for the surface of the approaches and roadway that ran beneath it.

CPR engineer Frank Lee and city engineer Henry Ruttan worked out the final details over the coming months and the final plan was approved by city council on March 22, 1910.

March 31, 1910, Winnipeg Free Press

Tenders for the construction of the subway were advertised in late March and John Gunn and Sons won the bid. It required them to excavate around 35,000 cubic yards of earth and then build thirteen concrete pedestals with steel girders over them to hold up the bed for the five tracks. Paved, sloping approaches would extend about 400 feet in each direction.

The Winnipeg Tribune reported in late June that Gunn was "making good progress" on the excavation and that the project was expected to be completed by autumn.

Overhead of McPhillips Street Subway, 9147 and 2020

The project missed the deadline of an autumn opening. It appears that the structure was ready by the end of the year, but there was not enough time to lay the streetcar tracks and pave the approaches before winter.

Things got back underway in the spring of 1911 with the May 12 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press reporting that "The McPhillips subway will be open for traffic in the course of a few days. A large force is at work paving the roadway between the street car tracks." It also noted that the intersection of McPhillips and the tracks, which had been diverted to the east side of McPhillips Street during construction, was more dangerous than ever due to the large volume of train traffic.

McPhillips at CPR Crossing in 1911 (Hathaway's map of Winnipeg)

For the amount of media attention the project received through its planning and early construction stages, there was no official opening for the subway or newspaper story announcing its first day in operation. This is likely in part because it was a CPR construction project "under the authority of the city", not the city itself. The CPR had so many projects going on in Winnipeg, don't mind across Western Canada, that the completion of a single urban subway would not have warranted much attention on their part.

It also appears that the opening may have been done fits and starts. Street travel through the subway likely started in late May once the paving around the subway tracks was done, the full paving of the approaches in both directions didn't begin until later in the summer which likely meant lane closures until the late autumn.

April 2, 1913, Winnipeg Tribune

A problem that has plagued the McPhillips Street subway is flooding and this started even before it opened.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that at a March 1911 meeting of the city's board of control, "Controller McArthur sprung something in the nature of a surprise when he reported that the McPhillips Street subway under the CPR tracks which is nearing completion is completely blocked with from three to four feet of water on the floor of the subway..." This was because it had not yet been hooked up to the storm sewer system.

By the next meeting on April 7, it appears that the sewer connection had been made and the CPR also installed a pump as a back up measure which made the subway passable.

John Gunn, the contractor who built the structure, happened to be in the board room to speak to a different agenda item, was called on to speak to the matter. As reported by the Free Press, Gunn "Disturbed the equilibrium of the controllers somewhat when he delivered himself of the opinion that there will be trouble keeping the subway free from water until the present sewer is enlarged. He holds that it is already altogether inadequate for the demands on it."

Flooding in the subway in the spring or after a heavy rainfall became a long-standing sore point between the city and railway.

The matter came up at a public works committee meeting in December 1919 when a motion was made by one councillor to do whatever was necessary to make sure that the subway was kept free from spring flooding. It was pointed out by more senior members of the committee that "some time ago" a special committee took up the matter of drainage in the subway with the CPR but the company refused to do anything.

Flooded Subway, 1964 (Wpg Tribune Photo Collection, U of M Archives)

Fast forward to July 1964, after yet another bad year of flooding, Metro Winnipeg council announced that it would go in and fix the drainage issues itself then start legal action against the railway to recoup the costs. The situation was made all the more urgent by preliminary engineering studies that suggested that Arlington Street Bridge, the next closest crossing, may have to be closed permanently

Alderman Leonard Claydon, chair of Winnipeg's public works committee, told the Free Press, "There's been a stain put on the reputation of the city when people try to make it look like the drainage is our responsibility. They make it look like we've been holding back from repairs. We're just not going to take this sort of nonsense."

Tenders for the repairs, which only came to around $30,000 were let in early 1966 and the repairs were made in the fall. The CPR agreed to pay part of the bill.

The repairs were a definite improvement but did not eliminate flooding in the subway which still happen from time to time to this day.