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This article was published 28/4/2018 (710 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A West End institution is closing shop Monday and inviting Winnipeggers out for one last skate.
Wheelies Roller Rink at 1010 Logan Ave. has been under the helm of owner Gordon Gunn for the last 21 years.
Gunn said the building was recently bought by a neighbouring tenant, forcing the roller rink out. He is scouting for a new location in the North End, which ought to be about 20,000 sq. ft. If he doesn’t find one by fall, then that could spell the end of Wheelies.
'You get to know some of them and the relationships that you have… last night, we had a farewell party and people were saying how sad they were that there was going to be no more Wheelies and that they hoped we would open again'‐Wheelies owner Gordon Gunn
"If we don’t have a spot by October, then we’re probably not going to get one," Gunn said Saturday.
In the meantime, patrons have been coming in droves for the last month of certain skate time, including dozens who were hosting birthday parties, skating the limbo and chowing down on pizza pops and cake Saturday.
It’s meeting kind folks and forming friendships that Gunn said he will miss the most about his longtime gig.
"You get to know some of them and the relationships that you have. You know last night, we had a farewell party and people were saying how sad they were that there was going to be no more Wheelies and that they hoped we would open again," he said.
"I think they have fun and it’s something that’s very affordable."
Admission varies by day from $2 on Tuesdays to $6 and $8 on days later in the week. Monday’s final skate from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. will have a $2 cover charge.
Ron Corrin, a frequent skater at Wheelies, said the venue’s affordability was one of its greatest selling points.
"Families could go there and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, like for hockey and all kinds of different (activities). Some families can’t afford things, but that’s what’s nice about having the roller skating option," Corrin said. "There’s going to be a lot of people that will miss it."
Kelly Lambkin is among the folks with fond memories of the rink — from school field trips in her childhood all the way to bringing her own kids to skate at Wheelies these days.
She was attending a birthday party full of six- and seven-year-olds who were rolling about Saturday.
"It’s disappointing. It’s a great opportunity to host a birthday party, especially with our long winters. So it’s good to get the kids out, get active," she said.
"It kind of brings you back to your youth. Lots of us moms came here when we were younger."
Gunn hopes to have a full house on Monday for the venue’s last hurrah. He would like to see Wheelies "go out with a bang."
Updated on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 8:48 PM CDT: Updates