It’s the end of an era. Wheelies Roller Rink has closed it’s doors for good. At one time the city of Winnipeg had roller rinks spread out all over the city dating back decades with perhaps a heyday from the 1970s to 1990s. In recent years, it has been on the decline as location after location have been enclosed often to encroaching other enterprises.
And so it goes with Wheelies on Logan. A neighbouring business has bought the property and everything is being cleared out. Could it re-open elsewhere? Possibly. The owner is looking for an affordable 20,000 square foot location but that might be as difficult to find as a unicorn.
What was most attractive for families was the price for roller skating. Even on the last day, the price $2 per person. Hard to match that anywhere aside from the playground but then a playground is not brightly lit and open into a winter night with top 40 music playing and a mix of young, old, girls and boys.
Winnipeg Roller Rink, Saints and Wheelies was all about family time and in an Internet gaming world was one of the few ways to get kids out of the house. It was also one way to get parents forever on the sidelines of sports and other activities out there with them. No doubt this was one of the reasons why rolling skating in a party-like setting has had Winnipeg in its thrall for some long.
In a perfect world, a new location will be found and if not, hopefully, a new business model will emerge that includes a roller rink. In Canada, 5 pin bowling has survived in large part by innovation. Academy Uptown Lanes kept plugging away till they found a new location and business model. They will eventually relocate from Academy Road to Ellice Avenue.
For today anyway remember that bad top 40 song from years ago that will always remind you of the rink. Think back on that first disco ball you saw. Harken on a time when everyone had bad haircuts but that young girl or guy still looked awesome. And shed a tear for when our feet had wheels.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations