Recently we reported the news of a new Portage la Prairie-oply game highlighting a few local businesses, our world's largest Coke can, and some of our streets. What some have known, but most don't realize, is that there was a previous version of a Monopoly-like game for our city that was made available in the 80s.
MLA Ian Wishart owns one and has it set up in his office for display.
"I've had it for about a year," says Wishart. "A friend of mine knows I'm interested in historical Portage la Prairie memorabilia, and he pointed out that this thing existed and he knew of one. So, we approached the person and they were quite willing to sell."
He notes it's generated much discussion when folks visit his office, especially the older residents.
"They come in and have a look at it and remember some of the places that are on there," notes Wishart. "There's still a few of them that do exist, but quite a lot have either changed their names or disappeared over time. It's a little bit of a historical footnote, that's for sure, and I understand that it's being done again, and there's a new one available now, too."
Included on the board are businesses like Troia's Unisex Hair Styling, Prairie Fitness Centre, Decor Cabinets, The Memory Maker, and some that still exist, such as E.F. Moon, and Panko's Food Centre.
He adds he's never actually played it and many game pieces are missing.
"The board is really mostly what we've got," adds Wishart. "It is nice to have some of the history of the city that you live in and it reminds a lot of people it's a good attachment to the community and that puts us on the map."
The local MCC Thrift Shop also has a version and it's not been played before, and includes all the pieces. General Manager Kevin Hamm describes the board.
"There's a great slew of Portage businesses that I remember from my younger days, including some that I worked at," says Hamm. "This was a Monopoly-like board game that was marketed, I believe, to local communities where they would pay advertising and get their names on the squares. We've seen some of these boards come in for different towns in Manitoba and even one for Saskatchewan. This is at least the third time now that we've had one come in from Portage la Prairie. This one is brand new. The cards have never been separated. They're still in their original sheet and it's a very unique item, and yet it's something that I'm sure was around a lot."
Ham explains it came out in the 80s and local businesses made it available to the public.
"But it's been forgotten," notes Hamm. "I think a lot of people didn't realize that we had a Monopoly game for our town many years ago already."
He notes it's set for auction at MCC.
"We don't get too many of them," continues Hamm. "And this one actually, like I said, has never been used."
Instead of streets, the board displays the provinces. Hamm adds the cards are generic and seemed to have been created to apply to any city the board version features, with unique elements of the community restricted to the board itself.
The company that printed the game was out of Winnipeg called R-Jay Industries on Vimy Road.
Printed on the board are the words "Canukeena Caper." The club was organized in Winnipeg at about 1919 comprised of veterans of the First World War who formed a group to foster the "esprit de corps" of army life and incorporate it into new conditions of civilian life. They derived the name from the term "Keen Canadians."
The group ceased to exist in the 80s.