Bittersweet farewells

Within 24 hours, Winnipeggers learned that we’ll be bidding farewell to two local institutions of sorts.

Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 21, the City of Winnipeg announced the indefinite closure of the Arlington Bridge. After over a century of periodic upkeep and safety assessments, the bridge has finally reached the point of no return and is set to be decommissioned. The city has yet to announce future plans for the site.

Completed in 1911, the bridge connected Arlington Street on either side of the Canadian Pacific Railway yards. A glorious monstrosity, the knot of steel beams and the fenced-in pedestrian walkways are relics of turnof-the-century industrialism. They’re the bones of an old Winnipeg, a railway hub of a city filled with vaudeville theatres, teeming with labour unrest, dominated by Portage Avenue department stores come and gone.

Then, early on Wednesday, we learned of a newer Portage Avenue institution we’ll lose. The Good Will Social Club announced that it will close its doors on Feb. 1, 2024.

When the Good Will opened in 2014, Winnipeg badly needed a downtown music venue and community hub. The sudden closure of Lo Pub in 2012 had left a hole in the neighbourhood for emerging bands to play or U of W students to grab a beer, a bite to eat and meet up with some friends.

The staff at the Good Will has provided all that and a cup of coffee (or, depending when you went there, a slice of pizza, a pork bun, a bowl of ramen or a hoagie).

Published in Volume 78, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 23, 2023)

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