The Healy Hotel

When I was eighteen years old I bought a dozen Canadian beer from the off-sale counter at the Healy Hotel. I was nervous, pulling open the door to that mysterious place, the legal drinking age being nineteen, but the fellow behind the counter took my money without asking for ID. I recall the smell of stale beer and cigarettes.

Later the Healy was one of the first bars where I sat down and ordered a draught. There were orange terry-towel cloths on the tables, held in place by elastic, a large glass jar of pickled eggs on the counter, that smell of stale beer and cigarettes.

The Hotel opened in 1914, so it’s possible my Dad also had one of his first drinks there. He wasn’t much of a drinker and we did not discuss such things, so I have no way of knowing. I do remember eating in the restaurant when I was a small child, and a drunken man at the next table giving me a dime.

In 1989, at roughly the same time as they were tearing down the Berlin Wall, a wrecking ball demolished the Healy Hotel. My father had bid for the main staircase and came in the highest. The day before the Healy’s destruction, he and my brother Ray ripped up the four flights of stairs, salvaging hundreds of 7 foot by one foot steps, and 7 foot by six inch risers. The boards were oak, much of it quarter cut.

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Dad used the oak for his gramophone cases. As a collector, he was not a purist in that he had no qualms about building cases for the machines, or even making parts. He often did both, reconstructing perfect copies of Edison and Victrola machines. There are more than fifty in his collection.

In this way some of the old hotel has been preserved and made music by my father’s handiwork.

11 thoughts on “The Healy Hotel

  1. Bought my first off sale and created many fun memories inside sipping a cool one ..learned to hustle beer on the pool tables too lol sad day when it shut down….

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  2. This was sure interesting! The Healy Hotel was my Dad’s second home! I remember it like it was yesterday!

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  3. One of my first jobs in Swift Current was at the Healy Hotel, working as a waitress in the bar. I remember one day, shortly after I was hired, when a patron forgot something–I think it was a hat or a pair of gloves–and I ran out the door after him, taking all the money that was in my apron, and my coin changer with me, of course. I’ll never forget the look on Henry the bartender’s face when, after chasing the customer down, I returned a moment or two later. At first, I was rather scornful when Henry thought I’d be mugged for the Hotel’s money by the first ne’er-do-well I met on the street, or worse, that perhaps I’d absconded with the Hotel’s cash! And then I realized that Henry was probably being held personally responsible for both my safety and the security of the cash in my apron, and I quickly reassured him that I had no intentions of causing him such worry. Up until that moment, things had been rather frosty between Henry and I, but we got along just fine from that time onward.

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  4. The Healey was taken down the year I turned 19, so I had never had to the chance to grace it’s doors. Great video on the history of the hotel and family. The Healey Hotel and Jomar’s were both Swift Current icons. My Uncle Terry worked for the Lautch’s at Jomar’s for years.

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  5. Met my wife there when she was a waitress in the late 70s. Use to be my secound home. It was a sad day when they closed it down and I had tears in my eyes as I watched it get demolished.

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  6. I also have a bit of heritage from the Healy Hotel when they had their auction. The night stands in the rooms were also quarter cut oak (painted off white) so they looked like metal. I think I bought most of them! We refinished them and passed them on to our daughters, except for the two that we still own and use every day!

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  7. We have one of the pianos that was or originally in the Healy Hotel. All of us kids played piano on it growing up. My brother recently took it out to Okotoks the put into his house!

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  8. Hi my name is Rodney Tessem and I worked at the healey hotel barbershop with Jack and Ken Wik in the late 60’s.I have some very fond memorys of the Healey Hotel. The Healey was the first hotel that I drank in but not in the beer parlor but in the lounge and I’m quite sure the bar tenders knew that Allen and I were under age but we never hung around too long we would have a couple then leave. I met a lot of great peaple at The Hotel the waitresses in the restaurant were great I remember one mother and daughter. That I had a great time talking too the daughter name was Margret and I had a crush on her.

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