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Friday 1 March 2024

Farewell to 244 Jarvis Street

 © 2024, Christian Cassidy

The burning down of the North End continues, this time with 244 Jarvis Street.

The building was home to Chaim and Mordecai Weidman’s Weidman Bros. wholesale grocery business from the time of its construction in ca. 1910 to 1967.

It appears the family may have owned that land prior to this as there is a Weidman residence and a Weidman Scrap Metal at 230 and 232 Jarvis Street (or sometimes just listed as Jarvis and King) dating back to at least 1900. By 1908, it became "Weidman and Co. Grocers and Scrap Metal" which is an interesting combination of businesses.

In Alan Levine's 2012 feature in the Winnipeg Free Press titled "The Jews of Manitoba, the centre of its own diaspora", he describes the brothers as being among the first wave of Russian Jews to come to Manitoba in the early 1880s and, "They went from working as labourers to becoming, within a few decades, successful entrepreneurs and leaders of the Jewish community."

October 6, 1923, Winnipeg Tribune

Over the decades, the Weidmans distributed everything from Van Dyck cigars to Canada Dry in Winnipeg. They also packaged specialty products like spices under their own name.

In 1966, the company built a new, 50,000 square foot warehouse in the Inkster Industrial Park at 60 Bunting Street and left the north end. By 1971, it recorded $13 million in sales.

The company remained family-run. In the 1960s, John P. Weidman, a son of Mordecai, was president of the company. When he died in 1971, Donald Weidman took over. Bert Weidman, the company's board chairman, died in 1972.

Source: eBay

National food conglomerate J. M. Schneider Ltd. bought a 51% stake in Weidman Brothers in 1971.

The following year it purchased the remaining 49%. Weidman was then merged with another Schneider acquisition, A and A Frozen Foods of Winnipeg, and the company became Schneiders' regional distribution wing for its products.

Imperial Soap and Supplies, a janitorial supply company, moved into the building circa 1968.

According to the company's website, the firm has been around since 1963 when Ernest Tessler and Leonard Paul purchased the existing Imperial Soap on Logan Avenue and moved it to Provencher Boulevard.

Imperial Soap moved to a larger facility on Inskter Boulevard in 2003.

Most recently, a carpenter had been renting the building to house her cabinetry building. the fire began in a neighbouring building and spread to 244 Jarvis and both buildings and her business have been destroyed.

The building has had fires before the one that destroyed it in February 2024. There were smaller ones in 1923 and 1933, then a massive two-alarm blaze in May 1947.

The 1947 blaze started on the main floor and moved up the staircase to gut the second and third floor and cause the roof to collapse.

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