Burton Cummings is soon going to have one less reason to be running back to Winnipeg.
The former Guess Who lead singer is about to list his Tuxedo home for $1.35 million. The 4,683-square-foot Park Boulevard mansion overlooks Assiniboine Park and comes with four bedrooms, two wood-burning stoves and a "spectacular" rec room. All of Cummings' possessions were being moved out late last week but one unmistakable knick-knack will remain for the new owners -- his grand piano.
"It's a castle-like house. It has character and charm that you can't duplicate with today's builders," said Gary Bachman, president of Century 21 Bachman & Associates and the real estate agent handling the property.
The "for sale" sign has been erected on the front lawn, it has been "staged" inside and should be ready for tours to potential buyers in the next few days, he said.
In case you're wondering, Bachman had the inside track to be Cummings' real estate agent. He sold the singer the house back in 2000. Oh, and his brother, Randy, was the lead guitarist in the Guess Who and wrote some of the band's most famous songs, including American Woman, These Eyes and Laughing with Cummings.
Cummings' manager, Lorne Saifer, said the death of the singer's mother, Rhoda, in May after a stroke could have played a role in the decision to sell his house.
"For all of us, when that happens, you reassess where you are in your life. It's such a monumental moment," he said.
While some might lament a Winnipeg icon leaving town, Cummings has never lived on Park Boulevard on more than a part-time basis. He spends much of his time in Los Angeles and Victoria, where he also has houses.
Otherwise, Cummings spends much of his life on the road. He will be performing at the venue that bears his name, the Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts, on Dec. 5. In the meantime, he'll be onstage in various cities in the U.S. and Canada and will release his first-ever live solo album, Live at Massey Hall, at the end of next month.
The Winnipeg show, however, will not be one of the fundraisers he agreed to do for the theatre when it was renamed back in 2002. He did one the following spring and another in 2007 to commemorate the theatre's 100th anniversary. Combined, the two performances raised about $120,000.
Dave Sherman, chairman of the historic theatre's board, said there are no current plans for Cummings to put on a third benefit show.
"We have a great relationship with Burton. We do (the fundraisers) when we need them and when the time is right," he said.
While the theatre has made great strides in terms of renovations in recent years, Sherman said a more than century-old building will always be in need of capital for upgrades.
BURTON Cummings may be selling his Winnipeg residence, but he's holding onto his home away from home. Earl Barish, president and CEO of Salisbury House, has confirmed Cummings remains an investor with the restaurant chain. He first came on board as an investor back in 2003 and he used to hang out at the Main Street location in the early 1960s when he sang with one of his first groups, the Deverons.
"Those were the golden days of the community-club scene in Winnipeg," Cummings said in 2003. "All the bands would meet there after the gigs because Sals was one of the few places that was open 24 hours a day. It was the Winnipeg equivalent of Pop Tate's Choklit Shoppe in Archie comics or Arnold's on Happy Days."