© 2010 Christian Cassidy
For decades I remembered seeing the "Eyes Examined - Contact Lenses Fitted" sign on the second floor window of the Avenue Building. In recent years, the portion with the doctor's name has fallen away but I can remember it was Dr. Finkleman.Emanuel Marcus Finkleman was born in Winnipeg in 1909 and graduated from the U of M in 1930 before moving to Toronto to study optometry. In 1932, he returned to Winnipeg and set up practice with his brother, Sidney A. Finkleman, in a 500 square foot space on the second floor of the original Kensington Building on Portage Avenue at Smith Street.
In a 1981 Free Press story, Finkleman said that as a rookie doctor with no collateral he couldn't have opened a practice during the Depression without the help of A. C. Whittecker of the Imperial Optical Company who "threw out the rule book" to help him the equipment he needed.Dr. E. M. Finkleman was a leader in his profession. He served as president of the Manitoba Association of Optometrists (1953-1954) and led the Canadian Association in 1962. Outside of his practice, he was a governor of the National Theatre School of Canada, a member of the board of the National Arts Centre and a member of the Jewish Historical Society.
A fire at the Kensington Building in December 1972 that would lead to its demolition sent the Finklemans scrambling to find a new location. By the end of the month, they set up shop two doors down on the second floor of the Avenue Building.
In the mid 1990's the Avenue Building closed and after 50 years on Portage Avenue. Finkleman moved to an office on Provencher Boulevard. He practiced until a month before his death on March 21, 2001 at the Health Sciences Centre. At 92, he was the longest-serving optometrist in Canada.
I could not find more information about Dr. Sidney A. Finkleman. He was listed in street directories into the 1960s, (which are the latest directories available online), and is included in ads for the practice right up to its 1986 relocation to St. Boniface.
Sidney is not mentioned in items related to his brother, such as that 1981 Free Press story or even his obituary. Sidney died in 1987 according to this geni page.