Thoughts on Old Downtown Charleswood
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In 2008, a makeover of an old strip mall on Roblin Boulevard saw the entry of Starbucks and posh Asahi Japanese Restaurant to what marks the beginning of old Charleswood. Saying farewell to the area were longtime establishments of Robin’s and KFC. Subway was the only one to survive the renovations.

Starbucks established itself nicely as a gathering spot for Charleswood and the whole little strip felt more updated. Prior to that, the feeling of the Robin’s and KFC was of restaurants of a bygone decade.

The most exciting addition was Asahi Japanese Restaurant. From the start it offered an exotic new taste to the area that generally has leaned towards Greek with Pappas and White Tower a baseball throw from one another. If there was one cautionary note it was that Sushi Park in the Charleswood Shopping Centre on Grant Avenue had just opened as well.

In terms of price and poshness, Asahi won hands down. It was gorgeous inside. However, in recent years the crowds seemed thinner. Meanwhile, Charleswood Mall including Sushi Park seemed a busier place from lunch time to later in the day.

It is with sadness that the For Lease signs appear in Asahi’s windows. I am sure that it will continue to be a restaurant but what kind it is hard to say.

In 2009, beloved McIntyre Meats closed suddenly. It was the successor to equally loved Norman’s. For years the site has sat empty. No more. In what seems like a no brainer, the Salvation Army Thrift store is expanding into their spot.

The leasing of the space for the thrift store will fill a sad and longtime whole in the little mall. After this, it appears the mall is fully leased.

Back in 2007 the little mall that houses the local Charleswood 7/Eleven had a little sports store Kel’s Crease and Presto Pizza. Both of those businesses are gone and Kel’s Crease location was the site of two fashion businesses over the years: Street 204 and then Army Candy.

Presto Pizza eventually closed and what came to occupy that space along with the fashion store’s location in a two step process was Victory Sports and Injury Clinic.

The addition of Victory Sports and Injury Clinic is in keeping with what really dominates the old Charleswood section of Roblin: Medical clinics, dental clinics, physiotherapy, massage therapy, athletic therapy, chiropractors, optician and veterinarian care. Oh, and two very busy car mechanics centres.

One last bit of sad news: Redeemed is gone beside White Tower. Redeemed had just been featured in the news in regards to it being a retailer of used fashion. They still appear to have their Academy Road location. Prior to Redeemed the location was the Mattress Source and Sleep Shoppe. The hairstyling place at the end of the mall in 2007 is now occupied by another health business Snider Podiatry Clinic.

Old Charleswood has been a bit of a mishmash but any time during the day you do see foot traffic making way to the various businesses. In many respects it is the downtown of Charleswood.

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations