Safeway Store #353 Building, 3424 13th Ave.

Historic Cathedral Village

Safeway Store #353 Building, 3424 13th Ave.

Regina, Saskatchewan S4T 1N9, Canada

Created By: neighbourhood history group


In August of 1929, Safeway Stores Ltd. announced that they would be opening their first Regina shops. “Large, airy, light, immaculately clean, unusually attractive and conveniently arranged,” Safeway Stores claimed to Regina residents that they would be “decidedly different from the stores you have been accustomed to.” Conceived as convenient neighbourhood shops, they brought “downtown prices almost to the door of the consumer.”

Designed by Regina architects Storey and Van Egmond and constructed by Smith Brothers and Wilson, work commenced on the first four Regina stores in the fall of 1929. On December 21, three stores celebrated a simultaneous grand opening, including Safeway Store #353, located on 13th Avenue near Elphinstone, in the current Slate Fine Art Gallery building. Opening day prices included a loaf of Safeway Bread, wrapped in wax paper, for 5 cents; Safeway butter, packed in “new style wax cartons”, for 38 cents a pound; a dozen eggs for 39 cents; and three candy bars for 10 cents.

Constructed at a cost of $13,000, these attractive new buildings sported brick construction accented with black tile bulkheads, red Spanish tile roofs, and fronts of plate glass and copper. The distinctive trefoil ornamentation, made of cast concrete and, at the time, capped in galvanized iron, is still visible at the top of the building’s masonry piers. Perhaps to enhance the friendly neighbourhood atmosphere and improve accessibility for all, it was decided some time prior to construction that all store entrances would be at street level with no steps required to enter.

As the decades passed, Safeway’s small neighbourhood stores were closed in favour of larger flagship-style stores. Safeway vacated their 13th Avenue and Elphinstone building in 1942 and, on August 31 of that year, Palm Grocery and Meat Market set up shop. Previously located one block to the west, the newly relocated shop improved service by installing a rotary telephone system offering five phone lines and employing six boys with bicycles to see that “orders are received quickly and … on their way in much shorter time than previously.” A staff of eleven oversaw grocery and meat departments equipped with modern conveniences such as two fifteen-foot show windows facing 13th Avenue – one of which housed a sprinkler system for perishables – attractive display gondolas down the center of the store, and a candy and tobacco counter to the right.

By all accounts, Palm Grocery was a good place to work: in 1942, the proprietor was fined in city police court for paying his butcher too much to manage the store while he was away serving in the army, as $50 a week plus commission was beyond that allowed under the wartime wage control board regulations. In June of 1941, bicycle delivery boy Roy Smith reported his red Crescent bicycle stolen from behind the store; luckily for him, the Palm advertised jobs with “good wages” for “boys with or without bicycles”!

In August of 1953, the Winnipeg grocery chain Shop-Easy Stores Ltd. sought locations in Regina and purchased the Palm Grocery’s chain of three locations. Supplying “the very finest in fruits and vegetables” and “employing one man who has nothing to do but check the quality of the meat”, the store was so confident in the quality of their meat that they offered unsatisfied customers double money back.

In the second half of the century, 3424 13th Avenue also housed an electronics store and a furniture store.

Slate Fine Art Gallery relocated to this location in 2019.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Cathedral Village


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