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Painting by Gayle Halliwell of the Winnipeg Beach Water Tower built in 1928, the only CPR structure which remains
courtesy


Watertower


Lighthouse

 
The History of Winnipeg Beach-Harry Silverberg used to own the Pavillion and Amusement Attractions including the Roller Coaster in the 60's

by Rhonda Spivak June 15, 2017

 
[This article is dedicated to Alvin Corne and Marty Corne. Alvin told me about how he and his brother Marty had their first job hauling luggage from the passengers who got off the CPR train at Winnipeg Beach, which made me interested in this story]
 
Since many readers of the WJR will be spending  time this summer season at Winnipeg Beach I thought I'd write a few words about the Beach's history.
 
The history of Winnipeg Beach is tied to the Railway, and is outlined in a book by Wally Johannson, titled "Those Were the Days"that I picked up at Blue Rooster last year. Winnipeg Beach was in fact created by the Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR)General Manager for Western Canada in 1900 when the CPR purchased 300 acres beachfront land. He did so since he was competing against the Canadian northern Railway that would be building a line to Lake Manitoba, 70 miles away form Winnipeg. The CPR plan would mean that it would only be 40 miles to reach the beach resort at Winnipeg Beach.
 
By 1902, CPR had built a station,dance pavillion and cleared land for cottages. "In 1903, the CPR developed  the first subdivision, consisting of the business section and cottage lots from Ash to Avenue to Park avenue. By 1905, Beachside and Boundary Park developments north of the CPR  subdivision had begun selling lots, which they advertised as being exclusive," Johannson writes.
 
One way CPR made money was by having picknickers come out  with their company or church on an excursion train  while CPR catered the picnic at the park or Pavillion. And there were many attractions for day trippers such as the midway, dancing in the huge Pavillion , canoes, rowboats and sailboats, and tennis courts. (Travel by car didn't become common until 1920's). Romantic "Moonlight Specials" took young men and women to the resort for  evening dances in the Dance Pavillion.
 
By 1925,  Winnipeg Beach had two parks with bowling greens and shale tennis courts, the grand Empress Hotel, and the  New Dips Roller Coaster." Johannson writes that  "The resort was busy even in the depth of the Great Depression of the 1930's." However the Beach went downhill as a tourist reason after World War II resulted in restrictions on tourist rail travel and other resort and park areas had been developed. As well, the dance craze of the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's had subsided. Also of importance was the fact that the demand for cars after the war reduced rail travel substantially.
 
With rail travel declining,CPR lost its interest in Winnipeg Beach.
 

In 1952 the CPR sold its holdings to the private company Beach Enterprises Ltd.(owned by Harry Silverberg) including the shoreline along Lake Winnipeg.

 

But as Bruce Cherney outlines in an article in Real Eastate News "What the CPR already knew and Beach Enterprises president Harry Silverberg soon discovered was that public interest in the Beach resort was waning. " http://www.winnipegrealestatenews.com/Resources/Article/?sysid=29

 

Cherney writes:

 

"Silverberg blamed the "lack of interest on all three levels of government' for the difficulties facing the amusement park.

 

"In a prepared

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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