THE WAKKER WEEKLY
Issue #1627 – Posted on: 04-April-2022
BREWERY “HOPP”ENINGS: Bushwakker Head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports our seasonally available PONCE DE LEON BLACKBERRY/RASPBERRY ALE is now on tap, in our offsale and available for growler fills too! In addition to taking our beer home in glass bottles and 2 litre jugs direct from our pub, you can find a varying selection of 650 ml bottles of Bushwakker beer in a number of REGINA SLGA stores.
Our long awaited PONCE DE LEON Blackberry Raspberry Fruit Ale is now here. Our most popular fruit beer of all time is named after the Spanish conquistador who searched for the fountain of youth. The two berries featured in this brew are said to be loaded with antioxidants.
Our SASK CRAFT GUEST TAP is currently pouring the Black Bridge NEW ENGLAND IPA from Swift Current. This will be followed by Saskatoon’s High Key Brewing HEFEWEIZEN.
This Weekend’s April 1st & 2nd special Dining Feature is BUSHWAKKER POT PIE for $19.95. Our Saturday CLASSIC STEAK & A PINT SPECIAL will also be available. Our Monday and Wednesday WINGS & A PINT SPECIAL and Tuesday PIZZA & A PINT SPECIAL are also great value deals.
APRIL PREMIUM WINE FEATURES. This month’s featured wines are from South Africa. The red is BRUCE JACK SHIRAZ and the white is THE WOLFTRAP VOIGNIER/CHENIN BLANC/GRENACHE BLANC. Both are $8.50 for a glass and $22.95 for a half litre.
SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE APRIL FUNDRAISER. One of our longstanding Bushwakker Signature dishes is our Saskatchewan Hot Plate. We often hear our customers refer to this dish as being the Ukrainian Plate. It features perogies, house-made beer bread, house-made cabbage rolls, fresh sauerkraut and koubassa from the Ukrainian Co-op. For the month of April we will offer a Hot Plate & a Pint fundraising feature where $10 from each combo will be donated to the Saskatchewan Ukrainian Congress to assist the Ukrainian people both here at home and in the mother country. Local artist, Kathy Hancock, has also donated postcards of her Ukrainian Sunflower (the national flower of Ukraine) which will be included with each meal purchase. Posters are also available and proceeds will be donated to the Ukrainian Congress.
The 2022 “Best of Food Regina” nominees have now been selected. Thank you for nominating your Bushwakker in 18 categories this year including BEST: Brewpub, Restaurant, Pub, Beer Selection, Scotch Selection, Happy Hour, No-Cover Music, Local Burgers, Nachos, Local Fries, Veggie Burger, Lunch Restaurant, Gourmet Pizza, Wings, Salads, Soup, Downtown Pub and Best Venue For a Post-Pandemic Party! Be sure to turn those nominations into wins by voting in the easy and fun multiple-choice ballot. Just head over to prairiedogmag.com or hit the button below. Voting is open only until May 2, so don’t delay. Best of Food 2022 | Prairie Dog (prairiedogmag.com)
Apr. 1: FIRST FIRKIN FRIDAY. Enjoy the pomp and circumstance of this longstanding Bushwakker monthly tradition! A piper from The Regina Police Services Pipes & Drums leads a small keg (the firkin) of special ale throughout the pub in a procession. A guest volunteer tapper is selected to wield the handmade wooden maul affectionately named, The Mighty Firkin Wakker, and attempts to tap the keg in one mighty blow! This month’s firkin offering is a never-before-presented special springtime brew. The suds-soaking spectacular takes place at 5:30 PM.
Apr. 4: Monday Night Jazz & Blues. A STORRY WITH HUGHES. Talented acoustic blues duo featuring Jeff Storry & Billy Hughes. 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM.
Apr. 6: ALES CLUB MONTHLY MEETING. If you are interested in learning more about the art of homebrewing then come sit in on a meeting with some of the most passionate homebrewers in the city. This month’s presentation topic focuses on SINGLE HOP IPAS. All skill levels are welcome from the novice to the veteran home brewer. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Bushwakker basement clubroom. 7:00 PM.
Apr. 6: Wednesday Folk Night. TOMMY EHMAN DUO. Country/Alt-Country/Roots/Canadiana must from this talented Craik, Saskatchewan duo! 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM.
BUSHWAKKER “NEW NORMAL” NOTES
New Hours! We are open Monday – Thursday from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. The kitchen closes at 9:00 PM and last call is at 9:15 PM. Fridays and Saturdays we are open from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM. The kitchen is open until 10:00 PM and last call is at 10:15 PM.
The government of Saskatchewan announced that the mandatory indoor masking health restriction will be lifted on March 1st. Bushwakker staff will continue to wear masks for the time being.
Proof of Vaccination is no longer required for restaurant dining. However, we have received many customer comments stating they will be reluctant to visit us because of the recent health restriction changes. To put our vaccinated customers who may have immunodeficiency concerns, family health concerns or simply are not comfortable with the latest easing of health restrictions somewhat at ease, we will make our Arizona Room available to them. Customers choosing to sit in this room will be required to provide Proof of Vaccination and ID. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers are most certainly welcome at Bushwakker and are invited to sit in the main pub area. Thank you to our legion of Bushwakker fans for your continued enthusiastic support!
Reservations are accepted and encouraged. We accept a limited number of reservations as late as 6:00 PM every day except Fridays. Fridays we accept reservations as late as 3:00 PM. Call us at 306-359-7276 to secure your table. We are now also able to accommodate larger groups. Our two banquet rooms are also available for private parties. Call Kelly at 306-359-7276 to book either our main floor Arizona Room or basement Clubroom.
Please continue to practice safe health measures. Remain connected to one another and to us! In addition to this weekly newsletter, we are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check-in with us often as we navigate these continually evolving times together. Try to support local businesses whenever possible. Be vigilant in your resolve to protect yourselves which in turn will protect others.
By K.D. Kulpa
Continuing our exploration of Regina history, the Warehouse district is an area that had to be rebuilt following the devastation of the F4 tornado that swept through the middle of Regina in 1912. One of the buildings that was built in the empty streets on Dewdney, after the residential area was destroyed, was the Campbell, Wilson, & Strathdee building. This building, built during 1913 and 1914, is one of the locations in Regina with stories of a ghost that likes to make his presence known from time to time.
Welcome, my ghouls, to the Bushwakker Brewpub
Before the tornado hit, there was a small Chinese laundry that was on the corner of Dewdney Avenue and Cornwall Street by the name of Mack Lung Laundry. According to sources from the time of the Regina tornado, however, there were no deaths at the location. On July 4, 1912, the Regina Morning Leader indicated that there were still 4 people from Mack Lung Laundry missing (or their survival unknown), but they were never reported as deaths later on.
The Henderson City Directory for Regina in 1912 reports that Mack Lung Laundry resided in 2204 Dewdney before the Regina tornado.
Another interesting fact about the building that was 2204 Dewdney pre-June 30, 1912 was that in 1911, it appeared to not only be the business of Dec Lee Laundry. In the Regina newspaper, The Morning Leader, on August 14th, 1911, there was a report of two men being arrested in “opium joint at 2204 Dewdney Street.” If this building was truly used as an opium den in 1911, it does make you wonder if that could cause some hauntings all on its own.
“Were Willing to Leave” – Newspaper article from The Morning Leader (Regina) on August 14th, 1911. This article seems to suggest that an opium joint was in the same building as the Dec Lee Laundry in 1911.
After tragedy hit the small city of Regina in 1912, following what would forever be known as the “Regina Cyclone of 1912”, the city slowly rebuilt itself to become thriving again. One of these areas, that is said to have been a residential area north of the main railway station, would later be called the Warehouse District. One of the few remaining buildings in the area was the Ackerman building, which can be seen still standing (although damaged) in many of the old photos following the tornado.
Image from Saskatchewan Archives, The Regina Cyclone of 1912 https://www.saskarchives.com/collections/exhibits/regina-cyclone-1912
The Ackerman building was repaired, and the area started to sell large warehouse lots. On the corner of Dewdney Avenue and Cornwall Street, a wholesale grocery company named Campbell, Wilson, & Strathdee was working to build a new warehouse building. It was going to be the Cadillac of warehouse buildings for the time. The Winnipeg architect J. Russell was hired to design the new building, which would be in a Chicago style with red and brown brick and a Tyndall stone foundation and detailing.
Now, we will go through more detail about the Campbell, Wilson, & Strathdee warehouse building in the future. For now, let’s fast-forward to present day. When you approach the warehouse building on the corner of Dewdney Ave. and Cornwall St. today, you will see something very different than you would have in the early 1920’s. Instead of a busy, bustling grocery warehouse, you will find a favourite local gathering spot. If you are lucky, you will arrive on one of the many nights that Bushwakker’s holds events, including local bands or Irish dancers. There is even a local artist wall showcasing a local artist’s work.
The Bushwakker Brewpub moved into the lower floors of the warehouse back in 1991. Since then, they have been serving Regina residents and visitors with award-winning craft beers and pub food. What many visitors of the brewpub don’t realize is that they aren’t alone when they visit, no matter how empty the brewpub looks. There is someone always watching over the building.
Unexplained Stories from Bushwakker Staff
Stories from the staff have been collected by the current bar manager, Grant. He was happy to share them with us while we toured the basement and parts of the pub itself. Grant has been working at the location almost the entirety that it’s been open, so his stories extend much longer than just the last few years. Many of the stories, although sometimes sending a shiver down your spine, indicate a ghost that simply is watching over the building, making sure that the workers aren’t slacking off.
My favourite story that Grant told us had to do with a different part of the building. A man named Dave owned an antique store on the third floor. One night, he had come down, pale and shaky and asked Grant, who had been working at the bar at the time, to pour him a drink. He went on to let Grant know that he had an unusual experience as he was closing his shop. To lock up, he had to close and lock big, wrought-iron gates. As he was doing that, he realized that there was a light turned on in the back of his shop. Although he didn’t believe in ghosts, he called out, “Hey Jim, can you turn that light out for me?”
Apparently, it was a light that had three brightness settings. As Dave stood there, about to leave the light on and go downstairs, he saw the light go brighter, working through the remaining settings. Then, after a few seconds, it turned off completely.
The only time that the resident ghost (or ghosts) interacted with the staff physically was in the grain room. In this room, while taking a break from grinding the malted barley for the brewery, one of the assistant brewers at the time was pushed from behind. There was only himself and the main brewer in the room, and the door was closed behind them. The assistant brewer then left the room, going into the bathroom to lift his shirt and look at his back. A red handprint was left between his shoulder blades, where he had felt the invisible hand push him.
While standing in this location, listening to Grant tell us about the experience, chills and goosebumps covered my body. It felt like I was standing in a place I wasn’t supposed to be, listening to a story that I had no business knowing. It was the creepiest feeling I had the entire tour!
Grant telling us the story from the Grain Room
The Bushwakker Clubroom downstairs, a room that can be rented for social gatherings (at least it could be before COVID), has also had a fair share of experiences. In one, one of the kitchen staff was cleaning up a spill, but he left the mop in the middle of the room to go upstairs for a few minutes. Then, when the person returned to finish mopping the floors, he had found that a wide wet circle had been left on the floor, and the mop and bucket had moved from where he had left it. No one else was in the area, so it is unknown how the mop had been dragged around the room.
Another story that I’ll share today (the rest will be in my video later in the week) happened in the boiler room. The boiler room is located at the end of an old hallway, behind a small red door. The original boiler is still located in the room, although it has long been decommissioned. Since the boiler was coal-fired, there was also an area for a coal pile in the room with a small hole in the wall leading up to the alley, where the coal could be shoveled down the chute to land on the pile. While the brewer at the time was bent down looking at the new boiler for the brewery, small pieces of coal were thrown from somewhere in the coal pile (behind a wall) and landed behind him.
Original boiler (decommissioned)
Overall, the ghosts seem to be rather shy, as they do not like to come out when new people are visiting. A few paranormal investigators have tried to investigate the location, but they tend to leave with only a little evidence. The Bushwakker ghosts prefer to come out in the morning hours to have some fun making staff aware that they are still watching over the place.
Who is haunting Bushwakker Brewpub?
There could be many possible deaths that could have occurred in the area leading to ghosts hanging around. Given this building was built along the path that the Regina “Cyclone” passed over, as well as the Spanish Flu tearing through the city in the 1918.
Not to mention the potential opium den located in the area before the 1912 tornado destroyed the previous building.
The most prominent tragedy I could find that was linked directly to the location was that of the original building manager, James Strathdee. It is believed that James (or “Jim”) is the main ghost seen in the building. Some have claimed to see a man in 1930’s clothing walking in the halls, which would fit the time that James would have been last in the building. Watch for my next post, where I will talk about who James Strathdee is and why he may be haunting the Bushwakker Brewpub, making sure that the building is well taken care of, and staff aren’t slacking off. Mediums have also been to the location and have told Grant that there are multiple ghosts hanging around the location, so perhaps there are others!
If you are interested in paranormal investigations …
A fellow Regina resident has recently done a paranormal investigation in the basement of the building. If you are interested in checking out his videos, it is located here – https://youtu.be/0G2jpGh4aF8
If you are interested in great pub food and craft beer…
If you are in the Regina area, make sure you check out Bushwakker Brewpub, with their quality pub food and craft beer. You can also find their history and information about their resident ghost on their website – www.bushwakker.com
MacGregor walks into a bar, orders a beer. As the bartender hands it to him, MacGregor realizes he really has to take a leak urgently. However, the bar is crowded, and he doesn’t want to leave his full beer on the bar because he’s afraid someone will drink it. After a sudden burst of inspiration, he pulls out a small pad of paper and writes on it: “I spit in this beer.” Putting the note on the beer, he heads off to the bathroom. When he returns, he’s delighted to see his full beer still sitting there with the note. Upon closer examination, though, MacGregor sees that someone has written on the note: “So did I.”