Thursday, 7 January 2010

Paging Dr. Finkleman !

Avenue Building

For decades I can remember seeing the "Eyes Examined - Contact Lenses Fitted" sign that still exists 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: Dr. Finkleman.

Image: WFP 1981 March 14, 1981

Emanuel Marcus Finkleman was b
orn in Winnipeg in 1909 and graduated from the U of M in 1930 before moving to Toronto to study optometry.

Ad: Winnipeg Tribune 1944

June 2, 1945, Winnipeg Tribune

In 1932 he returned to Winnipeg and set up practice in a small office on the second floor of the original Kensington Building at Portage and Smith. After 40 years there, in December 1972, fire struck the top two floors of the building. Water and smoke damage sent him and his brother in search of a temporary location.

Ad: Winnipeg Free Press Dec 1972

Avenue Building

The Finklemans moved two doors down to the second floor of the Avenue Building. The Kensington Building had to be torn down and the Avenue Building became their permanent home.

Dr. Finkleman was a leader in his profession, serving as the President of the Manitoba Association of Optometrists from 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.

In the mid 1990's the Avenue Building closed and after 50 years on Portage Avenue Finkleman moved to an office on Provencher Boulevard.

Finkleman practiced until the month prior to his death
on March 21, 2001 at the Health Sciences Centre. At 92, he was the longest-serving optometrist in Canada. (See his obituary.)

I could not find more information about his brother who shared and office with his brother for most of his career.


cancelbot said...

Great profile!

Wasn't Dr. Finkleman also the father of Ken and Danny Finkleman (both of CBC fame, among other accomplishments)? I seem to remember reading that somewhere a while back...

mrchristian said...

Perhaps he was ?! AS I said, he was a very difficult person to track anything at all down on. I will likely revisit him in future. If anyone knows more, let me know !

Prairie Topiary said...

Interesting! He was my optometrist for a few years at that downtown office -- I think that was around 1990.

What stands out most in my memory was his exceptionally and consistently rude elderly receptionist who I think may have been his wife.

Dr. Sullivan, a really great optometrist who now works on Henderson, worked with Finkleman in those days, but I think the two had a falling out shortly afterward.

Joanne {;-) said...

Emanuel was a lovely person and the father of 2 daughters, both graduates of the Interior Design program of the University of Manitoba's Architecture school. His brother Stanley was tall and thin, with a wry sense of humor, which was inherited by his sons Ken and Danny, of CBC fame. As a young adult, I was an eye patient of both for a while, and of Dr. Garand, who joined Emmanuel after his younger brother died. The receptionist was an absolute treat and had a hairdo (updo bun thing that never changed) that should have been an icon! LOL

Darla Bracklow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darla Bracklow said...

I had the pleasure of working for the Finkleman brothers in the early 1970's - just after the fire that caused them to change locations. S.A. Finkleman (Sidney) was a very quiet and gentle and unassuming man and yes, he was the father of Kenneth and Danny Finkleman. He proudly wore the same tweed sports coat for many years. In contrast E.M. (Emmanuel Marcus) Finkleman always dressed impeccably, had his suits and shirts made by a tailor who came to Winnipeg from China, his French-cuffed shirts bore his initials and he always wore silk socks. Both brothers were wonderful to work for and treated their staff with a great deal of kindness and respect. The office staff always referred to the doctors as "SA" and "EM". The receptionist mentioned was Gerry Hutchings - she had a steel-grey bee-hive bun and she taught me (the 22 year-old) a whole lot about life!

Christian Cassidy said...

Thanks for adding that comment, Darla. Great to get to know the Finklemans better !