Here’s a collection of seemingly random photos—all taken with the convenient, yet frustrating, iPhone 6 camera.
You may have noticed from yesterday’s post that I’m not a big fan of St. James Street, or the entire Polo Park neighborhood for that matter (can you actually call it a neighborhood?). But one thing I do like about the strip is the collection of furniture stores it offers. There’s a little bit of everything, from discount to high-end; from traditional to ultra-modern. Sure, there are a lot of amazing furniture chains found in places like Minneapolis that are not found here in Winnipeg, but when I’m not interested in taking an eight-hour drive, I usually head to St. James Street to satiate my furniture shopping needs.
This shitty retail strip on St. James was emptied out several months ago in preparation for the linking up of the two halves of St. Matthews Avenue (which is now officially completed)—an admittedly great move by the city.
I’m not exactly going to miss this shitty building, but shittyness is relative. When compared to the big-box-with-big-parking-lot formula that has overtaken St. James, it’s shocking how charming—and urban—these first generation strip malls are (I’m no retail expert but I assume these would have been among the first to be built); they were built somewhat close to the street, with only a narrow thoroughfare and a strip of angled parking separating the structure from the sidewalk (quaint, if you ask me), and provided small and cheap space to local retailers. But over the last decade or so, these strip malls have been bulldozed to make way for big-box.
There’s a few of these structures left, but I don’t expect them to be around for much longer. So as shitty as St. James is now, expect it to keep on getting shittier.
If we can all agree that Target Canada the largest gaffe in Canadian retail history, then we can probably also agree that the infrastructure that went into its Polo Park location was the largest gaffe in Winnipeg retail history. I do take a positive out of this: As long as the giant building stands empty, in its overgrown, weed infested lot, developers will likely steer clear of further soul-crushing, city-killing big-box development.
Here’s a shot of the Polo Park Target (St. James Street) from back in January before the company announced its retraction from Canada. It was a Friday afternoon, and the store was completely abandoned. It was weird—my wife and I couldn’t get over it. Needless to say, we weren’t surprised when Target made its announcement a few days later.
St. James Street.
Maroons Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba (1954-2013).
Carnage on Maroons Road (1954-2013).
Maroons Road (1954-2013).
Maroons Road (built 1954, demolished 2013). More demo photos to follow.
Some interior shots from Polo Park, Winnipeg’s first suburban shopping centre.