There’s a plethora of cultures from a wide range of countries all mashed together in various neighborhoods across Toronto.
Some of these include Little India, Little Italy, etc.,… but unbeknownst to most, there’s also a Little Winnipeg – ‘little’ being the operative word.
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“It’s only 40 seats, its pretty little,” said Daniel Greaves.
Greaves co-owns a narrow, dimly-lit bar in Parkdale called ‘Motel’ — and over the years, it’s become the hangout spot for Winnipeggers in Toronto.
“It makes me feel great,” said Greaves. “Winnipeg is a pretty special place and everyone is only a degree away from knowing somebody they went to school with or their brother.”
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But the small bar near the corner of Queen Street West and Dufferin has been a lot more packed lately.
“We seem to have found every single Winnipegger in Toronto and visiting Toronto to cheer on the Jets,” said Lisa Black, who co-owns the bar and is married to Greaves.
She says it’s not just Winnipegers who now pop in to watch the Jets’ games during their prolific playoff run, but even life-long Torontonians get treated as honourary Manitobans during the games.
“We’ve seen a lot of people. A lot of different faces, a lot of the same faces.”
Greaves moved to Toronto from Winnipeg in 1999. He and his wife decided to open up the bar in 2011, but said they missed watching their hometown NHL team. So they started playing every single Jets’ game at their bar, which obviously started drawing in a very specific kind of crowd.
“Just from the Jets’ games, that’s the only element of it,” said Greaves, explaining how he started getting the big crowds coming in. “Its just the fact that we show games… like all of the games, all of the season, all the way through.”
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Winnipeggers like Alison Battistuzzi say they’re grateful to have a place that reminds them of home, especially during this historic playoff run.
“[It’s] little in size, but big in heart.” said Battistuzzi. “This has been absolutely amazing, its very exciting the Jets have never been this far.”
And what if the Jets go all the way and win the Stanley Cup?
“I think this place would absolutely erupt,” said Battistuzzi.
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