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Nip to Sals for a taste of music memorabilia

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Earl Barish has an appetite for rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia — and he wants to share it with hungry Winnipeggers.


Barish — the president, CEO and majority owner of the Salisbury House restaurant chain — has spent years accumulating a collection of Manitoba-themed music memorabilia, which is now on display at the recently-renovated 4,528-sq. ft. Sals on Pembina Highway and Stafford Street.


"The whole idea is to try and get the idea out and share this collection with people," said Barish, noting he’s bought many of the items from charity auctions and sales and has had several inquiries from individuals looking to donate items to the display.


"Unlike those people who buy things to store away or for their own pleasure, I’m a different kind of collector. These items should be shared, so why not give everyone a chance to see them?"


Among the items behind the glass showcase is an 1891 Heintzman piano, which still works, that was once owned by Winnipeg music legend Burton Cummings — a part-owner of the chain, who still occasionally stops by to play the 121-year-old instrument.


Also on display is Randy Bachman’s first electric guitar — circa 1958 — which the former Guess Who member modified himself, as there were "no four-string bass guitars in Winnipeg at the time," Barish said.


Visitors can also check out an official Winnipeg Jets electric guitar signed by music icon Neil Young and hockey legend Bobby Hull, and the pride of the place is an original 1948 Rock-Ola jukebox — just slide in a quarter and enjoy a retro tune from yesteryear.


Barish thinks Manitobans have a unique sense of ownership of their musical heritage.


"I think it partly comes from the strong community club scene back in the day. Also, we’re a more isolated community from other Canadian cities, so we’re a very close-knit community and there’s a focus on music as part of our history."


The location’s renovation plans also include a 2,882 sq.-ft. extension earmarked for commercial units, said Barish, who is looking for tenants. Construction is scheduled to start on June 6 and be completed at the end of August.


For more information, email duke@gatltd.mb.ca.

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

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