The loss of the Windsor Hotel is a tragic blow to the city's cultural heritage. For decades, it had been a centre of entertainment and hospitality, hosting legendary blues performances and impromptu jam sessions. The blaze that consumed the Windsor Hotel has left the city mourning the loss of a cherished landmark, erasing over a century of memories.
Billy Joe Green, a rock and blues musician, has been grappling with a heavy heart ever since the venue, known for its vibrant blues scene, changed hands. This loss left him disappointed for years, witnessing a place where blues fans gathered and fell into disorder.
Green recalls the "golden days" when iconic musicians played live within those walls, and albums were recorded and produced on-site. A Juno-nominated CD in 2006 titled "Muskrat Blues" added to the venue's history.
According to Green, once new management took the reins, the venue lost its spark and remained dormant for more than a decade.
"It's a sad time for our small yet strong blues community," said Green. "The blues community all across North America that played there is very heartbroken.”
The entire blues community across Canada mourns the loss of a cherished institution that played a key role in their lives. Billy's hope is that by encouraging listeners to request more blues music and reviving the spirit of venues like this, the blues can continue to thrive, even in the face of such heartbreaking losses.
Firefighters battled to contain the blaze, but the flames proved relentless, consuming the once majestic structure. The hotel's rich past, including a night spent by Charlie Chaplin in 1913 and a significant expansion in 1994, was suddenly buried by the devastation of flames.
The Windsor Hotel's fiery end is a reminder of the temporary lives of historical landmarks. While its history may be forever engraved in our memories, the physical structure of that history is now gone. Winnipeg mourns the loss of a beloved establishment, hoping that someday, from the ashes, a phoenix of new beginnings may arise.