Contest Time

Contest TimeWalking around downtown Regina the other day, I started wondering which building among those that are currently vacant had been empty the longest. Pictured above is my nominee. It’s on the south side of 24-block 11th Ave. The name plate at the top identifies it as the Yaeger Block and says it was built in 1926.

I remember a funky restaurant/club being located there for a short time in the early to mid 1990s (called Soul Food, maybe?). But since it closed I’m pretty sure the building’s been empty. So that would be around 20 years.

If you have another nominee you’d like to put forward, feel free to enter it in the comments section.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

17 thoughts on “Contest Time”

  1. Allow me to start by saying this is one of the most depressing contests I’ve ever had the misfortune to take part in, but I’m game.

    I nominate the forsaken Crescent Market at 1617 14th Ave, just west of the General Hospital. When I first arrived in Regina eight years ago, I thought this terminally empty storefront was just a temporary situation. Surely with a captive market (the hospital) mere metres away, some enterprising person would open up a café with sandwiches or other light take-out fare to cater to it. Imagine my despair as months turned into years and nothing materialized. Indeed my husband and I were evicted from our heritage building (1550 14th Ave) for demolition before I ever saw any sign of life around the Crescent Market – when they soaped the windows. This teased me into thinking something might finally be opening in this plum piece of retail space. But no. Nothing. In the meantime, Daisy’s Pantry (which is great) opened on 15th Ave, and Tangerine (also most excellent) opened further west on 14th. Both businesses do a roaring trade at lunch time, by the way. You’d think someone would look at this space – a stone’s throw from the hospital – and put two and two together. What are they waiting for? When Regina was in the financial dumps, this place was empty, and now that real estate here is supposedly worth a fortune (and the peak probably happened a couple of years ago), it remains empty. Is it possible the owners forgot that they own it? I fear as long as I live in this city, I’ll never understand how anything works.

  2. Sidebar: I think that this was the Regina branch of the Brandon, MB company founded by Gus Yaeger and Frank Massin ca. 1910. Gus Yaeger’s son came home from a design career in the US in the 1930s to run the Regina store.

  3. Vanda, I believe the Crescent Market building has been vacant since 1987, although I’m not positive.

  4. 1987! Yowza. How can anyone afford to keep a place empty for that long? And why would they want to? Even if you owned the building outright, you’d still have to pay taxes. Meanwhile, it casts a depressing shadow on that entire block.

  5. The part of the Crescent Mkt. next to the alley was the Crescent Tea Room which was still a vintage style chrome and formica restaurant when I last saw it in the late 70s. Stainless steel fixtures, Coke fountain, stools at the counter etc. Seated about 30(?)
    I believe the kitchen was in the basement and orders arrived by dumb waiter, but that part’s a bit vague.
    Wonder what’s left in there.

  6. Hey Barb, you can still see the Yaeger’s painted signage on the west face of the building.
    By the way, Greg, when I looked up the 24 block of 11th Ave on google street-view, it shows the old Assinaboia Gallery in the building next to it (since demolished). Sigh.

    Hey, this is fun! Keep going, everyone! More! More!

  7. Yes; in Brandon, Yaeger’s and Massin’s names were still on the side of that building.

    I’ve passed the Crescent Market building on the bus quite a lot, and always wondered about it.

  8. That Crescent Market building… I last remember it being active around the same time that 5th Avenue was still a vibrant and non-scary place, and the DQ on Pasqua was still around.
    Google Street View reveals a ton of cars parked on 14th. Possibly, the lack of free parking at the hospital makes that store not such a great location actually; all of its parking is taken up all the time.

  9. Thanks for that Nancy Laura.

    Anyway, Greg, I feel like this should be a re-occuring feature– the old abandoned downtown Regina buildings. There must be dozens of them.

  10. That ex-market on 14th used to business offices in the early ’80’s. My former employer was 1 of them. I never get by there too often, but that Red K. Chicken sign is still there? holy F.

    Only the short sighted / dumb-asses, will never build a parkade for the hospital.

    3 levels could sort out an obvious parking shortage.

  11. A further comment to the Yaeger Block. It also housed the Second Wind aerobics studio in the mid 80s (complete with a second floor lounge and juice bar!)

  12. I seem to recall the Yaeger Block used to host Fresh Air Experience in the early 1980s (still have a parka I bought there the same morning I bought Bowie’s Scary Monsters at The Bay, then on 12th and Hamilton) and then in the late 80s or early 90s, was the home of Cafe A Go Go, run by the fabulous Pandya clan, before they moved it to the location on the Scarth Street Mall that’s now the home of Prairie Dog.

    I would nominate the buildings across the street from the old Police Station, which have been vacant at least since the late 1980s and probably earlier. Some of the signage on one of the buildings dates from a film, The Great Electrical Revolution, which was one of the first projects of the then emerging Saskatchewan film industry.

  13. Isn’t the Yaeger building the one that had the Rasta in sunflowers window painting, even just a month or two ago? I noticed the painting was gone, only last week.

  14. My vote is definitely the Travellers’ Building. Can someone please buy it and turn it into something awesome!

    Also the Municipal Justice Building on the corner of 11th Avenue and Halifax.

  15. Every time I search for this Yaeger building, I hear more things about it! It has a colourful history, shall we say. In the late 70s, it was also Regina’s first ever Indian restaurant, and was a goldsmiths at one point too.
    It’s beautiful inside, particularly the second floor. And it has a magnificently creepy basement.
    Anyway, I’m commenting on an ancient thread to tell you it is empty no more! We are moving in and opening our rather art deco style cafe in a few weeks time!

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