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Monday, 6 August 2012

West End's Grey Goose garage to disappear

Grey Goose Map

Demolition will begin soon at a two acre industrial site in the West End,

The former Grey Goose bus garage at 301 Burnell was vacated after 2007 when parent company Greyhound decided to absorb the regional carrier under the Greyhound name. In recent years the building has been home to a couple of small, bus related tenants.

Scenic Crusier

Greyhound has tried selling the building before but an issue has been the remediation of the land beneath it. With the building in poor condition and the site on the Manitoba contaminated sites database, it was difficult to sell it with an unknown price tag for the cleanup associated with it. The for sale signs came back down.

Former Grey Goose garage

In the past year Greyhound has been preparing the site for demolition and sale. In 2011 the apron / parking area north of the building was rezoned to R2 and the tire building on the south end of the site was demolished in spring 2012. (Those two sections of the site, though, do not appear to be part of the parcel being sold.)

The tenants have now cleared out, including any remainig Grey Goose / Greyhound property and demolition is expected to start soon August.

Fmr Grey Goose Bus Garage

The site, almost 2 acres with a 575 foot frontage on Burnell Street, will make a huge difference to the neighbourhood when redeveloped. That block of Burnell is also home to the former Canada Bread plant and garage, vacant since the late 1990s, and currently being considered for conversion into rental housing.

A time line of the Grey Goose garage:

March 17, 1925, Winnipeg Free Press

1920s - 1940s: In June 1922 White Trucks, a division of White Motor Company of Cleveland, move from their 666 Portage location to this new, larger location on Burnell Street. White sold and serviced their vehicles and manufactured custom truck bodies. They remained there into the 1940s.

Burnell Street, Winnipeg
1939 Winnipeg Tribune ad

Grey Goose moved in to the Burnell facility in late 1952.

Grey Goose began in 1926 with a single bus route from Carman to Winnipeg. In 1929 a number of rural bus routes were brought together under the Grey Goose name.

1960's - 80s:The building was rebuilt in sections in 1963 and 1975 then expanded to the south in 1985. None of the original 1920s structure exists.

Old Grey Goose Coach

Just as Grey Goose grew through a series of acquisitions and mergers with smaller carriers, it disappeared the same way.

In 1970 A. J. Thiessen made Grey Goose a public company and in 1974 Ontario-based Laidlaw Inc. purchased it. In 1997 Laidlaw purchased Greyhound, though the two operated as separate companies. In 2007 British transportation firm FirstGroup purchased Laidlaw's transportation assets.

2008: FirstGroup merges Grey Goose's operations with Greyhound. Their buses are converted to the Greyhound name and the facility on Burnell is closed.

Switch Iron MTHA p 4
A.J. Thiessen Fonds Mennonite Church Archives
History of Inter-city buses in Manitoba

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