Exchange District

The Royal Albert Hotel on Christmas Day

royal albert hotel iciclesOn Christmas Day in the morning our family went on a walk. The Royal Albert Hotel just begged to have its picture taken. Built in 1913 it was once a respectable hotel for business people visiting Winnipeg. The original owners were Angelo Ferrari and Patrick Grogan. When the Royal Albert was built it had 54 rooms, a buffet restaurant, a coffee shop and cigar shop.

Ad in the Winnipeg Free Press November 1, 1913

Ad in the Winnipeg Free Press November 1, 1913

Royal Albert Hotel Diningroom

Royal Albert Hotel Diningroom

A downturn in the economy and the outbreak of World War I forced the owners to turn the hotel into a rooming house.

October 1916 ad for rooms at the Royal Albert

October 1916 ad for rooms at the Royal Albert

icicles on the royal albert hotelThe ice had made an intriguing trim on the roof of the sun porch on Christmas Day. The building has had an equally intriguing history. During the Winnipeg General strike in 1919 it housed a Labour Cafe where striking women could go for a free meal. In 1920 its manager was arrested for running a bawdy house. When prohibition ended in 1921 it housed a dance hall and bar. In 1930 the building was taken over by a brewery. In 1961 it was purchased by Gordon Hotels and renovated. They sold it in 1969 and in the 70’s it became a home for hippies, prostitutes, musicians and actors. During the 1980’s the hotel bar nurtured the music careers of legions of young Winnipeg bands and in the 1990’s hosted such bands as Nickelback and Green Day. royal albert hotel on christmas day
In the last year the hotel has been front and centre in the news because it was owned in part by a suspected crime figure who died suddenly. It was shut down because of a water main break and in November a man who appeared to be living in the hotel fell to his death from one of the windows even though the owner Daren Jorgenson said no one should be living there. According to a Winnipeg Free Press article, the building will be auctioned off in January of 2014.

For a detailed history check Winnipeg Downtown Places. 

Other posts about Exchange District buildings……..

Kelly House

The Mariaggi 

The Millenium Centre

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Winnipeg Coffee Quest- Candidate #4

front window parlour coffeeWe have been trying to visit  Parlour Coffee at 468 Main Street for a couple weeks. It is only a block from the front door of our condo so you’d think a visit would be easy. parlour coffeeBut the last five or six times we decided to have our morning coffee there the place was packed and there were no seats available for us. Yesterday we got lucky. front window parlour coffeeWhen we walked up to the large sunny front window only one lone woman was sitting there writing in her journal. We’d obviously picked just the right time because it wasn’t long before the place filled up again.  obby khan visits parlour coffeeOne visitor was Obby Khan, a former professional football player and the owner of Shawarma Khan, a restaurant located just one street over. Khan chatted amiably with the barista. Clearly he had been there before. Many of the customers appeared to be regulars. 

americano coffee at parlour coffeeOur Americano coffees came in creamy white cups and were reasonably hot and flavourful. cheese croissant tall grass prairieWe shared a cheese croissant from the Tall Grass Prairie bakery, filled with gouda and dusted with Parmesan.  I thought it was great but my husband said it wasn’t his favorite and wished we’d opted for the chocolate croissant instead. bikes outside parlour coffee

There were bike racks outside and even on a cold snowy day a couple hardy Winnipeg bikers had pedaled over. 

interior parlour coffeeThe decor was pretty stark although the wood floors make the place feel warmer than its daughter establishment- Little Sister. chandelier parlour coffeeThe ornate chandelier added some character to the bare interior. The walls were decorated with only three unique art pieces by Kirsten Nelson. kristin nelson art parlour coffeeThey looked like pieces of notebook paper in frames but the papers were  actually made out of cloth material. 

reading the paper at parlour coffeeMy husband Dave found a newspaper, but it had been left there by a previous customer not provided by the coffee shop. A sign on the wall said there was no Wi-Fi and encouraged us to talk with our neighbor instead. lots of supplies

They sell more coffee supplies at Parlour Coffee than any of the other coffee shops we’ve visited. Our kids bought my husband a coffee press at Parlour for his birthday last year and Dave stops at Parlour regularly for coffee filters. woman at the parlour coffeeWe’ve actually been to The Parlour several times before but this was our official Coffee Quest visit.  The Parlour has the advantage of being the closest to our home of all the shops but the disadvantage of being such a busy place it is hard to get in. I still like the coffee at Cafe Postal the best and the baking at Thom Bargen’s is still number one with me.  parlour coffeeI enjoyed sitting at the Parlour’s huge front window watching all of the interesting people passing by on Main Street. A unique feature of The Parlour’s popularity is that on all of our past visits we’ve always met someone we know inside. 

Only one more coffee shop to go and then we will have visited all of the top five in Winnipeg. 

Other posts about our Winnipeg Coffee Quest………

Candidate #1- Cafe Postal

Candidate #2- Thom Bargen

Candidate #3- Little Sister

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I Was On the Radio

marylou with north faceYesterday I was on the CBC morning show doing an interview about why I feel safe living in the Exchange District of Winnipeg. You can listen to the interview here. 

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Devour the District- A Food Tour in Winnipeg’s Exchange

supper at boon burger on bannatyneOn Tuesday my husband Dave and I enjoyed a food tour with our friends, Debbie and Esther. The tour was called Devour the District. Sponsored by the Exchange District Biz association it takes you to some of the 40 restaurants in Winnipeg’s Exchange District to sample items from their menus. devour the district tourLuckily I had signed up for the tour early in July. Devour the District is offered twice a week but is completely sold out for the summer months. exchange district tour guide

Rochelle was our very knowledgeable guide. She knew so much about the Exchange District’s history and architecture. A university landscape architecture student working on her Masters thesis she gives tours as a summer job. 

peasant cookery winnipegOur first stop was the Peasant Cookery. My husband Dave and I have eaten here several times in the past and had always enjoyed the experience.

travelers building winnipegThe Peasant Cookery is in the Travellers Building and Rochelle told us that in the  early 1900’s when many salesmen were beginning  to come to Winnipeg, they formed a union and this building offered union members accommodation on their trips to Winnipeg. There were offices, meeting rooms, lounges and even Turkish baths in the basement. It was a pretty high-class, high service establishment. pork belly peasant cookeryAt the Peasant Cookery we were served pork belly with pineapple and cucumber. I have NEVER ordered pork belly because the  thought of eating a layer of fat just ‘grossed me out.’  But I have to say this was delicious.

at the peasant cookeryThe pork belly was perfectly paired with a slightly sweet German Rudolf Muller Reisling.  It’s nicknamed The Bunny Wine because there is a rabbit on the bottle.  The waiter was very friendly and told us The Peasant Cookery’s speciality is oysters and their record for oysters sold in one night is 2002. 

going into deer and almond restaurant

My husband Dave was a gentleman and held the door for everyone at The Deer and Almond our next stop on the tour. It’s a restaurant that is considered one of the city’s best. I learned the name comes from the chef whose name is Mandel Hitzer.  Mandel is the German word for almond. Deer was chosen because the chef thinks the deer is a magnificent animal. 

deer and almond We had a “it’s a small world” experience here when Dave realized one of the waitresses was a former student of his and……
friendsDebbie found out two of the patrons were former elementary and junior high classmates of hers.

korean fried chicken deer and almondWe were given the Korean Fried Chicken dish to taste. The chef told us it was a kind of Asian KFC style dish. He got the recipe idea from a bar- tender friend. It was very good but filling. shawarma khanWe moved on to Shawarma Khan, one of the newer restaurants in the Exchange. It is located in the former Free Press Building built in 1883.
Obby Khan in his restaurantOwner Obby Khan was funny and entertaining and told us all about his restaurant. He believes fast food can be healthy food and so all the ingredients used in his restaurant are 100% natural with no preservatives or fillers.obby khan's jerseys

Obby is a former CFL player and in the restaurant he displays the jerseys he wore while a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Ottawa Renegades and Calgary Stampeders.football players shwarma khan

He also has a wall full of signed photographs of CFL football players. 

blue and goldObby has acknowledged his former football team by painting the ceiling blue and having a gold strip run around the dining area. shawarma khan halal

Obby’s family is from Pakistan and Obby is a practicing Muslim so it is important to him that the food he serves is all halal (foods that Muslims are allowed to eat.) 

shawarma khanObby says they are constantly trying to improve their product and they serve more than 200 people lunch every day. He gave each of us a chicken shawarma to try. 

hermanos signHermanos tapas restaurant was next. It is located on the main floor of the Ashdown Warehouse, where we live. We had been there once before, but it is often hard to get in since they are very busy most evenings. mussels at hermanosThey served us mussels in an English cream curry sauce and………

chorizo sausage at hermanosAnd a chorizo sausage dish with peppersboon burger sign on bannatyneJust down the same street about a block we stopped in at Boon Burger for……..

chocolate coconut milk icecream Their chocolate coconut milk icecreamart piece boon burger lobby

I was intrigued by this unique sculpture in the Boon Burger lobby. I think it may belong to the architectural firm who has an office in the same building. carnaval restaurant winnipeg

Our last stop was on the waterfront at the Carnaval Brazilian Barbeque where we went in the bar to have a drink . IMG_2005

Don’t these red wine sangrias look great? I had a drink called a Twisted Citrus which was very refreshing. two friendsDevour the District  was a fun tour, delicious and a great way to be introduced to some of the many exciting dining options in the Exchange District. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………..

Learning to Cook at De Lucas

The Paddock Restaurant

Tasting Toronto

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Interviewed by the CBC

Today I did an interview with CBC radio personality Margaux Watt. She is working on a series for the fall months for the morning show about life in the Exchange District of Winnipeg and some of the myths or false perceptions people may have about living there. She arrived around noon and I met her outside my Exchange District condo. She and I went for a walk down our street and through Steve Juba Park and she asked me lots of question about why we chose to buy a home in the Exchange District and what are some of the things we like about our location. She was particularly interested in knowing whether or not I felt safe living where we do.

Margaux Watt

Margaux Watt-Facebook Photo

It was great to meet Margaux in person after hearing her on the radio so often. I found out  her husband is a university professor who is also the author of horror and science fiction novels and that she is a mom of two young adults.  She was friendly and down to earth and very easy to talk to. I guess that’s what makes her a good radio journalist. 

She said she would let me know when our interview will be on the radio and I’ll be sure to do another post about it then. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like……….

I Think I’m Going to Be on Television Tonight

Spring in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

Aren’t You Scared to Live in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

Categories: Exchange District, Media | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Winnipeg’s Kelly House- A Home with a Long History

kelly house 88 adelaide streetThis charming home is right here in my Exchange District neighborhood at 88 Adelaide Street, but I had never noticed it till just a couple of weeks ago when I was on  a walk. Built in 1884 it stands as the lone residential dwelling on a street of warehouses, factories and businesses. In 2010 it became the home of Cancer Care Manitoba. 

sunburst motif gables kelly house winnipegI loved the sunburst gingerbread motif on the gables. When I got home from my walk I did some research to learn about the house. thomas kelly winnipegThe house was built by Michael Kelly a contractor originally from Ireland in 1894 for a cost of $2.200. In 1875 the land on which it stood had been given to Alexander McDermott as part of a Crown grant. He sold it to John McKechnie, the Scottish owner of a Winnipeg foundry who in turn sold it to Michael Kelly and his brother Thomas.  Michael lived in the house till 1894. 

kelly house oldMichael and Thomas rented the house to a variety of people.  A Mrs. M Redmond rented it when Michael moved out and in 1896- J.M. Murray a printer took out a lease. James Cadham an architect settled in with his family from 1897 to 1901. Cadham had come to Manitoba from Ontario with the Wolseley Red River Expedition and stayed when he was discharged. By 1908 there was a boarding house at 88 Adelaide run by Mrs. Margaret Little and it was in that same year Thomas became the sole owner of the house. kelly house 2004In 1922 the house was seized by the city of Winnipeg because its owner Thomas Kelly was involved in a big scandal and had failed to pay his taxes. Kelly was arrested for perjury, embezzlement and fraud and although he tried to escape to the United States ended up being sentenced to two  and a half years in Stony Mountain prison. He had been given a contract to build the Manitoba Legislative Buildings and was charged with graft and corruption and lost the contract.  Turns out he was lowering wages and changing building specifications to keep costs down to the unrealistically low bid he’d made. An article in the New York Times claimed he had defrauded the Manitoba government of some $1.182,562. According to an article by Bruce Cherney Kelly only served a nine months of his prison sentence and not behind bars, but staying at the warden’s house and passing his days playing poker. kelly house 2007A whole variety of people owned 88 Adelaide after that, a restaurateur, a hotel proprietor, and a sportswear company.  In 1982 the Winnipeg Film Group had its offices there.
back of kelly house 2004

In 2007 the house was incorporated into the plot of a series of children’s middle years fantasy books called The Serpent’s Spell written by Rae Bridgman.  The 2008 annual report of Centre Venture says they will partner with the City of WInnipeg and Adelaide Investments Group to restore Kelly House as the new headquarters for Heritage Winnipeg.

Photo by Gordon Goldsborough

Photo by Gordon Goldsborough

But I also read the house was in danger of being razed for a parking lot in 2010 and Cancer Care Manitoba saved it and renovated it. The sign on the door today says it is the home of Cancer Care Manitoba as does the Manitoba Historical Society website. 88 adelaide street winnipeg

If you enjoyed this post you might also like…………

Winnipeg’s Millenium Centre- Haunted by Ghosts

Winnipeg The Chicago of the North

We’re Living in a Piece of History

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Spring in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

Spring has come to the Winnipeg Exchange District. All these pictures were taken within a few blocks of my home.
spring winnipeg exchange district pink bikd and pink tulips

spring trees through an arch window winnipeg's exchange district in spring

canada goose winnipeg exchange district
squirrel on tree by wrecked umbrella spring in winnipeg's exchange district
ducks in winnipeg's exchange district
spring in the winnipeg exchange district
dandelions in winnipeg exchange district
ben and jerry's icecream truck winnipeg exchange district
girl on bike winnipeg exchange
spring in winnipeg's exchange district

napping winnipeg's exchange district

spring rain in winnipeg's exchange district

spring in winnipeg's exchange districtIf  you enjoyed this post you might also like……..


Winter in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

Autumn in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

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Winter in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

My neighborhood is an enchanted place in winter. All these photos were taken within a few blocks of our home.
winnipeg exchange district wintercrossing seal river winnipeg exchange district
railroad bridge in winter winnipeg exchange district
Goldeyes Mural in Winter
winter grasses winnipeg's exchange district
Hoarfrost on Tree Winnipeg Exchange District
park bench stephen juba park winnipeg winter
hoar frost winnipeg exchange district
cyclist stephen juba park winnipeg in winter
squirrel in the snow winnipeg
winter window winnipeg exchange districtwinnipeg exchange district winter
leo mol tree children winter richardson building
train bridge winnipeg exchange district  winter

If you enjoyed this post you might also like……….
Autumn in the Exhange District

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Where Are the Solutions? Residental Parking in Winnipeg’s Exchange District in Crisis!

There were some people who were pretty upset last night at a meeting held for the residents of Winnipeg’s Exchange District. The topic of discussion was parking. In the past the city has sold annual residential parking passes to people who live in the east or west Exchange. The pass allows us to park personal vehicles we have registered with the city on the streets near our homes for as long as we want, whenever we want. With parking spaces at a premium in the area, and accusations that some local residents were abusing the passes, the residential parking pass program was eliminated. The city did ‘grandfather in’ people who’d had passes in the past, allowing them to keep their passes for one more year while the city figured out an alternate solution for residential parking in the Exchange District.

When residents received a notice that a meeting was going to be held in the Can West building on November 21 we all assumed the solution the city had devised would be presented to us. Not so.  The meeting was simply a chance for us fill out a survey and  to ‘voice’ our concerns; and people certainly did just that.

  I felt reasonably fortunate after the meeting. I own a permanent parking spot in a garage adjacent to my building and it was included in the purchase price of my condo. There are people however who recently purchased condos in some of the newer buildings in the area that don’t have parking spots. They purchased those condos because they were told they could buy a residential parking pass and park their cars on the street. Now they can’t and their only alternative is to pay expensive meter parking fees and run outside every two hours to move their car during the day. One woman moved into a brand new condo with twenty suites and says the other nineteen are empty and will remain so till the parking problem is solved. 

A downtown developer voiced his concerns as well. He bought a number of  Exchange District buildings to remodel into condos expecting the residents of those condos could park on the streets. Now they can’t and until a parking solution is found he won’t be doing any renovating. He’d gladly demolish one or two of the buildings he purchased to create parking for the others. However as is the case with most buildings in the Exchange District, the ones he purchased have a historical designation so he isn’t allowed to tear them down even though he owns them. 

One resident got quite heated. The city wants people to move downtown and then they make it impossible for them or their guests to park there? C’mon! What is the city thinking? One woman spoke about the positive impact it has on an area when people make their homes there instead of just businesses or offices being located there.  If that is important than the city needs to make it easier and not harder to live in the Exchange. 

My concern is one many people my age shared. When our elderly parents come to visit we park outside on the street and give them our indoor spots. When our children and grandchildren come to visit from out of town we do the same thing. The city’s elimination of the residential parking passes is making it difficult for many of us to have our families visit us. We also feel the lack of residential parking has decreased the value of our homes. 

We asked how many people had been abusing the passes. It seemed like only a few had. Could the city not deal with these cases individually, cancel those passes and let the rest of us keep ours? Apparently the interests of businesses like restaurants need to be considered as well. New restaurants won’t locate in the Exchange if their patrons can’t find parking. 

We were told a new parking garage is in the works for our area and there is a possibility Exchange residents will be able to purchase a reserved space for $28,000 or rent spots in those garages by the month at a cost of around $200-$250. However Exchange residents may have to walk up to four or five blocks between the garage and their home depending on where they live. 

At the meeting there were a variety of presentations. One was by Colin Stewart from the Winnipeg Parking Authority who told us they need to consider all the users of parking in the Exchange District and that there are many different kinds of parkers with different needs. Bert Treller, from Imperial Parking, the largest commercial provider of parking in the Exchange was also present.  His company is willing to work together with the city and residents to come up with creative solutions to the Exchange District parking crisis. We also heard from Sharon Feigon representing a car share cooperative. I wrote about that idea in a previous post. Loretta Martin of Centre Venture was also answering questions.  Apparently people from all these groups have been meeting regularly to try to come up with parking solutions for the Exchange. 

The message they got from the residents last night was that the sooner they do that the better!

Categories: Exchange District, Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Autumn in Winnipeg’s Exchange District



All photos were taken within a two block radius of my home in the Exchange District of Winnipeg.

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