History turns to ashes: second historical building lost to fire in Regina
A major clean-up effort continues after a massive fire destroyed Lang’s Cafe on April 4.
Fire crews were called to the business on Broad Street just before 6:00 a.m. and spent most of the day fighting the blaze.
READ MORE: Major fire at Lang’s Cafe in downtown Regina
On April 5, owners of a neighbouring business, Wonderland Entertainment Centre, were let in to assess the damage.
“We were in awe they [firefighters] were able to save it without any mass of damage,” co-owner Amanda White said. “There’s so much plastic in here that you’d think if a fire even got near it we should have melted puddles of plastic everywhere and we don’t.”
Wonderland Entertainment is celebrating its 41st anniversary in business this year and throughout the decades the arcade has been family owned.
While there’s no word yet on any structural damage, White said it’s been a very emotional day for her and all the affected business owners.
“Our hope and plan is to be back here for the end of the month,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s realistic or not, but that’s our hope.”
For the owners of Lang’s Cafe, it’s a different story as fire officials are calling the building a total loss.
But it’s not just a loss for the community, Regina also lost a piece of its history.
“This is one of a series of buildings that for a long time, was owned by Chinese Canadian members of the community,” Historical information and preservation supervisor, Dana Turgeon said. “It had Asian owned businesses next door on both sides at one point, so it has a real connection to that element of the city.”
In 1912 the building was spared after a deadly tornado tore through the Queen City.
“There’s not many of those old survivors left, especially pre-tornado days, so it’s a real loss in that sense,” Turgeon said.
It’s also the second historical building lost to fire in just over a year. Last March the historic Traveller’s Building, also on Broad Street, went up in flames and was eventually demolished.
“It’s a real loss, the Traveller’s Building was on the heritage holding bylaw but it was vacant, so the other thing is this a loss of an actual business and livelihood for folks,” Turgeon said.
READ MORE: Iconic Regina building demolished after fire
It’s a shock long-time customer Dylan Dobrescu is still trying to get over.
“I have never had Vietnamese and Chinese food like that anywhere in town,” he said. “I think some of my earliest memories of mine are my parents chopping up the spring rolls so I could eat them.”
Shortly after the fire broke out Dobrescu and hundreds of others took to social media in an outpour of support.
“It was more than just a restaurant, it was a vibe of the friends there and the people coming- it’s comfort food you know,” Dobrescu said.
While there were no reported injuries, fire officials say the building is a total loss and are still investigating what caused the blaze.
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