Regina museum hoping to restore century old popcorn wagon
Plans to restore a fond and memorable part of Regina history are well underway, but organizers now need the help of the community.
Do you remember sneaking popcorn into a movie at the old Metropolitan Theatre on Broad St? Or begging your parents for a 5¢ snack on Scarth St?
The handmade ‘Broadway Popcorn Wagon’ was first purchased by John Alecxe in 1929.
His grandson, Ken Alecxe, first worked on the wagon in 1961, when he was just 12 years old.
“There would be line ups around the block,” Alecxe said. “You couldn’t afford much during the Depression, but you could afford a bag of popcorn.”
“The wagon has seen a lot of miles and a lot of people,” he continued. “It served five or six generations of Regina and a lot of people stopped by town, just for the popcorn.”
In the 1940’s the Broadway Popcorn Wagon supplied the Metropolitan, Broadway, and Capitol Theatres with popcorn for hungry movie-goers. The cart continued to operate at various locations throughout the city of Regina, all the way up until 1992.
In 2007 it was donated to what is now known as the Regina Civic Museum.
Now, organizers are hoping to restore the wagon as a “pop-up” museum, where people can once again purchase popcorn and have a taste of the rich Regina history.
They hope to raise $5,000 via a GoFundMe campaign, to help them purchase the necessary parts to make the cart operational again. The money will also be used to pay for the rest of the project, including painting, maintenance and display.
Organizers estimate 60,000 to 100,000 people will experience the “pop-up” museum in the course of a year. This will create jobs for local students over the summer, as popcorn artists and museum interpreters.
“The community has answered,” Marlee Yule, curator at the Regina Civic Museum said. “A lot of people in the community remember this popcorn cart and feel a collective ownership, so we want people to own a little piece of the wagon too, because it’s not just ours it’s for everyone.”
There’s no denying the wagon was a significant part of the community, but it also help to set up Reginan’s futures.
“Anyone who came to the stand got a bag of popcorn whether you had money or not,” Alecxe told Global News.
“A regular First Nations man would come up to our wagon and say ‘is there anything I can do? I can clean up your parking lot or something?’ Well, that started Bruce on a career of having his own cleaning business. He started as a guy cleaning the street to having his own cleaning business. The wagon was a friendly place to go.”
While plans for restoration are in place, the future of the Broadway Popcorn Wagon now lies in the people of Regina’s hands.
For more information head to the Broadway Popcorn Wagon’s Go Fund Me page.
With files from Katelyn Wilson
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.