Ghosts of Albert Street / by Greg Gallinger


I took the above photo from the fire escape on the 3rd floor of the St. Charles Hotel on Albert Street.

I had to hoist myself up on a broken cinderblock wall, step over all the empty whiskey bottles and beer cans, tiptoe up the rickety metal stairs, and worry about whether they'd give out and send me falling to the ground below. The windows are filthy, covered in decades of dust and bird shit. It was glaringly bright out, but if I stood as close as I could to the window in my own shadow I could just sort of see into the abandoned hotel.

I felt a strange uneasiness, a spooky, haunting feeling while looking through the eyepiece of my camera and catching the "Royal Albert Hotel" signage in at edge of the frame. These two remnants of Winnipeg's history stand across from each other, between them the burned down and buried remnants of the Albert Street Business Block.

I'm told the majority of War on Music's old inventory is melted into the ground and paved over. Sitting beneath the surface, like a time capsule waiting to be discovered. What is essentially a parking lot is also a future archeological dig site. There's a whole history of punk rock, metal, and hardcore music buried between Cumberland and McDermot Avenue.

I hope that someday a society smarter and more sustainable than ourselves will dig up those melted records and cassette tapes. They could listen to Nuclear Assault and Sacrifice, and learn everything about our downfall, and could rock the fuck out.