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Meeting Michael Averbach- and reminiscing about Bredin Drive

overhead view of Bredin Drive

By GERRY POSNER There I was sitting in a restaurant, my first time in one in over a year. It was inside or face the wasps outside. And since there was no one else inside, my good friend and former Winnipegger Dan Finkleman and I sat down at What a Bagel for our once a month lunch.

It is at these lunches where we both retreat to the glory years of the past and reflect on how sad it is that our grandkids will never know the kind of joy that came from growing up in the 50s and 60s in Winnipeg. We had just settled in when I spotted a guy who looked familiar to me. I immediately eliminated that thought as I could not imagine his being in Toronto, let alone this restaurant. Yet, he noticed me and fortunately (my mask was now off) he recognized me and he came over to the table. Finkleman remembered him vaguely ( there is a four-year age gap) and of course, his family. For the next 30 minutes, our visitor, Michael Averbach, chatted with us on all things Winnipeg. Now understand, he stood throughout the entire time, no doubt being careful not to get too close to us. I can imagine what our waitress was thinking as she, well – had to wait. 

Now, that was a great visit. We covered a whole lot of ground in that conversation, ranging from where the clubhouse at Glendale was located to other matters relating to girls Dan knew or wanted to know, some of whom were related to Averbach and, in fact, ranging to why Averbach was in Toronto in the first place. You get the picture.  I wondered who enjoyed this encounter the most, Finkleman, Averbach or me. Suffice to say that seeing Michael made me wonder about several things. The whole meeting with him was really a chance connection since, not only did Dan and I have to be at the same place at the same time as Michael, but we chose on this day to eat inside, as is our usual custom.  Had we eaten outside, the likelihood of his seeing us would have been extremely low, because we would have been on the side of the restaurant and not visible to him. 

Of course, one topic for discussion was the fact that Averbach was part of the Jewish Bredin Drive families in East Kildonan, There were, in fact more than a few families, but the names of Biillinkoff, Swartz, Freed, Bellan, Glesby, Snaper, Wolchock and Gobuty jump out at me. As well, we discussed Michael’s career, about which Dan was not fully up to date. 
Averbach is a retired Chartered Accountant, something he did for over 45 years. Moreover, he is, I told Dan, a top golfer and one who must surely rank as one of the best Jewish golfers of all time in Manitoba (although I admit there is no such award for this category and neither do I know what the qualifications are to be included in the ranking. Just call it the Gerry Posner off the top of his head decision desk for Manitoba Jewish golfing greats.) What is a fact is that he is one of two people who served both on the board of Glendale and who also became President of the Manitoba Golf Association (the other being Manny Bricker). It was during this discussion on golf that we argued about the location of the original clubhouse at Glendale.  However, if you think our conversation had little depth to it, you would be wrong, as we did canvass the federal election results and that subject gave way to some very definite opinions. 

As Finkleman, Averbach and I concluded our time together, one certainty emerged from our long chat. We all agreed without hesitation that we were privileged to have grown up when and where we did. We had it easier than our children and far easier than it is for our grandkids, irrespective of being in Winnipeg or Toronto or Calgary. We lamented the path ahead for our grandkids today. (Among the three of us, we have 13). We also reached a clear consensus that Winnipeg was the better place to live. And, on that subject, we agreed to continue the conversation when Averbach is next in Toronto. 

Later, I wondered where the various descendants of the Bredin Drive group enclave have gone? In fact, what I asked to nobody in particular was the reason why the families that moved to Bredin Drive settled in East Kildonan in the first place, an unlikely place for Jewish families to move to unless it was a desire to be closer to Jerusalem (somehow I think that was not the motivation)? Maybe it was the attempt to populate the area at that time with Jewish families. Or maybe it was the attraction of being close to the Red River. It certainly was not a need to be close to a synagogue since there was none in East Kildonan. And lest I forget, Bredin Drive was not the only street with Jews living in East Kildonan. I recall Glenwood Crescent and Roosevelt Place could round up a minyan. By the way, that information about the names of people and their residences is available to anyone who looks up Henderson’s Directory ( and where has that gone) for the 1950s and the  personal information of each family and the address is set out in bold print. Alas, not possible today. What is possible is to go online and find this information without leaving your chair. Still, I took a shortcut and looked at an earlier article in this paper on the street wherein Shael Glesby (whose family lived on the street)  listed many of the homes occupied by Jewish families in the 1950s. Here is the list Shael provided: 
255 – Ratner (Max and Helen)
265 – Glesby (Bert & Silvia) original owners were Billinkoffs (Ben & Yetta)
275 – Billinkoff (Joe & Ann)
285 – Gobuty (James & Rae)
210 – Snaper (Mark & Ethel)
250 – Brownstein (Vicki)
260 – Wolchock (Bill & Rose)
300 – Freed (Max & Marion)
310 – Billinkoff (Ben & Yetta) after selling 265.
320 – Bellan (Sam & Marjorie)
There were three more Jewish families just north of 320, but I don’t know which houses were owned by which.
Swartz
Averbach
Jacobson
As I examined these names, I returned to my original question as to what ever happened to all of the descendants of the street, that is the kids from my time? I invite the readers to weigh in on the whereabouts of the Bredin Drive children (now, likely grandparents). There is a reunion waiting to happen. And to think all this was triggered by meeting Michael Averbach at a lunch in Toronto. 
Ed. note: If you’d like to read my original article about Bredin Drive, which Gerry references and which appeared in our Sept. 16, 2020 issue, you can find it elsewhere on this website at http://jewishpostandnews.ca/8-features/561-a-tale-of-two-streets-that-proved-to-be-very-attractive-for-jewish-families-in-years-gone-by. By the way, that story quotes from a 1949 story in The Jewish Post that explained how Bredin Drive came to be and how so many Jewish families ended up there.

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Features

A Jewish Perspective on the Hidden Gems of Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

Nestled along Mexico’s Pacific coast, Nuevo Vallarta and its neighboring city, Puerto Vallarta, have become popular destinations for travelers seeking sun, sea and cultural experiences. For Jewish travelers, exploring these cities offers a unique blend of relaxation and discovery; from pristine beaches to vibrant local culture, here’s a perspective on the hidden gems these destinations offer.

Traveling to Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

Barceló Puerto Vallarta: A Tranquil Haven

Among the myriad of accommodations in the region, the Barceló Occidental Nuevo Vallarta (with bookings at https://www.barcelo.com/en-ca/occidental-nuevo-vallarta/) stands out as a serene retreat. Situated on Mismaloya Beach, this resort combines traditional Mexican architecture with modern amenities. Its all-inclusive packages cater to families, couples and solo travelers, providing an ideal base for exploring both Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta.

Exploring Nuevo Vallarta

Embracing Nature at El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary, located a short drive from Nuevo Vallarta. This sanctuary not only preserves native wildlife but also offers educational tours that delve into the region’s ecosystem. For Jewish travelers, it provides an opportunity to connect with nature while appreciating Mexico’s biodiversity.

Cultural Insight at the Marina Vallarta

The Marina Vallarta, known for its upscale ambiance and waterfront dining, offers a glimpse into local life. Jewish travelers can explore boutique shops and art galleries while enjoying a variety of international cuisines. The marina’s lively atmosphere during sunset, with boats bobbing gently in the marina and street performers entertaining passersby, creates a memorable experience.

Discovering Puerto Vallarta

Historic Exploration in the Zona Romántica

Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romántica, also known as Old Vallarta, beckons history buffs and culture seekers. Cobblestone streets wind through quaint neighborhoods lined with colorful colonial architecture. Jewish travelers can visit the Zona Romántica’s eclectic art galleries, boutique cafes and the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Artistic Marvels at the Malecón

A stroll along the Malecón, Puerto Vallarta’s oceanfront promenade, reveals a treasure trove of sculptures and open-air art installations. From the whimsical Seahorse sculpture to the thought-provoking Millennium sculpture series, each artwork tells a story of Mexico’s artistic spirit. Jewish travelers can engage with local artists and appreciate the vibrant cultural tapestry that defines Puerto Vallarta.

Culinary Delights

Savoring Kosher-Friendly Cuisine

While kosher options are limited in Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta, some restaurants and resorts offer kosher-friendly menus upon request. The culinary scene in both cities blends traditional Mexican flavors with international influences, ensuring there is something to satisfy every palate. Jewish travelers can indulge in fresh seafood ceviche, traditional tacos al pastor and refreshing aguas frescas while soaking in the coastal ambiance.

Community Engagement

Connecting with Local Jewish Communities

For Jewish travelers interested in community engagement, both Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta host small Jewish communities. Synagogues and Jewish community centers welcome visitors seeking spiritual connection and cultural exchange. Engaging with local Jewish communities provides a deeper understanding of Mexican-Jewish heritage and fosters meaningful connections across cultures.

Final Note

Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta offer Jewish travelers a blend of relaxation, cultural exploration and natural beauty. Whether basking in the sun on pristine beaches, exploring historic neighborhoods or savoring culinary delights, these cities provide a rich tapestry of experiences. With accommodations like the Barceló Puerto Vallarta offering comfort and convenience, travelers can immerse themselves in Mexico’s Pacific coast while appreciating its hidden gems from a unique perspective.

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Features

Gambling Statistics Shine Light on Canadian Gambling Culture

Explore pivotal statistics that highlight Canada’s gambling culture. Get a concise overview of the trends shaping the nation’s betting landscape.

Canada’s gambling culture is as diverse as its landscape, and recent statistics shed light on this thriving sector. From coast to coast, Canadians engage in various forms of betting, each with its own set of trends and numbers. This article delves into the data, uncovering the patterns and preferences defining gambling nationwide.

Canadian Gambling Statistics

User penetration refers to the percentage of consumers engaging with a product or service beyond the expected audience. Despite a 47% decline in 2023, the online gambling industry is projected to expand.

By 2027, it’s forecasted that the gambling market will cater to 20.38 million individuals. This trend suggests an increasing preference among Canadians for online gambling over traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

The industry boasted a 97% return on investment in 2022, outperforming land-based casinos, which only saw a 61% return. With the rising interest in online betting, Canada’s online casino industry is experiencing the highest user penetration rate.

What Is the Average Expenditure on Gambling by Canadians?

Many enjoy the thrill of the occasional game of chance. The fact that you can retain all of your earnings, as there are no taxes on gambling profits in Canada, adds to the allure of gambling. In Canada, winnings are subject to taxation only for professional gamblers with a sustained winning streak.

In recent years, the trend toward online casinos has changed. The pandemic-induced closures of land-based casinos accelerated this change. It’s a profitable industry, as 60% of Canadians say they spend money gambling each month.

Canadian gambling statistics:

  • Six out of ten Canadians have gambled.
  • The monthly average expenditure for gaming and gambling in Canada is $6.75.
  • A month’s worth of gaming expenses is reported by 63% of males and 57% of women.
  • According to 73% of Canadians, gambling-related issues have gotten worse in their region.

The Increasing Attraction to Online Casino Gambling in Canada

An increasing number of Canadians are using online casinos, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. They offer various benefits regular casinos do not and are more convenient. Over time, land-based casinos’ revenue has decreased due to the growing popularity of online gambling sites.

The pandemic shutdowns accelerated the drop. For instance, the land-based casinos in Alberta no longer make as much money as they once did. Consequently, the Albertan government opened an online casino, and other governments quickly adopted similar strategies.

Casino Games at Online Casinos in Canada

Online casinos in Canada offer various games that cater to different preferences. Some of the most popular casino games at Canadian online casinos include:

  • Slots: These are the most common and varied, with themes ranging from classic fruit machines to the latest online slot games with advanced graphics and features.
  • Table Games: Classics like blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat are available in multiple variations.
  • Live Dealer Games: These provide an immersive experience, allowing players to interact with real dealers and other players in real time.
  • Video Poker: A favourite for many, combining elements of slots and poker in a unique format.
  • Progressive Jackpots: Games that offer the chance to win life-changing sums of money with a single spin.
  • Canadian Legalities for Online Gambling Sites
  • Casinos are legal in Canada, but each province and territory has the authority to establish its gaming regulations and issue online gambling website licences. Saskatchewan is the only province that does not host multiple online gaming sites.
  • Authorities in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba issue licences without a specific requirement, but these online casinos must operate exclusively within their respective provincial borders. Online gaming sites seeking to operate beyond these borders need a special agreement.
  • In Canada, only land-based casinos face penalties; foreign operators can only function by obtaining local licenses. Although offshore casinos cannot legally target Canadian players, they can accept them.
  • Statistics on Gambling Addiction in Canada
  • While the majority of gamblers do so without experiencing issues, there are hazards and health issues associated with it for some people. Because of this, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) carries out studies and creates resources aimed at assisting Canadians in making wise decisions regarding their gambling, both generally and, in particular, high-risk scenarios, like when they’re using alcohol or other drugs.
  • Here are some key statistics on gambling addiction in Canada for the year 2024:
  • 64.5% of Canadians aged 15 or older actively participated in gambling activities within the past year.
  • 1.6% of Canadian gamblers, representing approximately 304,400 individuals, face moderate-to-severe gambling addiction risks.
  • Canadian males reported higher gambling participation and addiction risks compared to females.
  • Indigenous Canadians showed a higher tendency to gamble (72.4%) and experienced greater susceptibility to gambling problems (4.5%) than non-Indigenous people.
  • In Canada, responsible gambling is promoted through various programs and initiatives, ensuring that individuals engage in betting activities within their means and maintain control. The emphasis is on providing resources and support to prevent gambling addiction and encourage safe, enjoyable gaming experiences.
  • Reflecting on Canada’s Responsible Gambling Journey
  • The statistics we’ve explored offer a revealing glimpse into Canada’s gambling culture, highlighting both the widespread appeal and the responsible practices of Canadian bettors. As the industry evolves, it reflects the country’s commitment to balancing entertainment with economic benefit and social responsibility. The future of gambling in Canada seems poised to be driven by informed choices and a clear understanding of the risks and rewards involved.
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Features

Caesars Windsor Reduces Operating Hours for Sports Betting Counter

Sports betting has rapidly evolved into a major attraction, drawing a diverse audience ranging from casual participants to dedicated enthusiasts, and its popularity is only increasing with the proliferation of online platforms. In particular, Canada has seen a notable rise in sports betting activities since the legalization of single-event sports betting in August 2021, which opened doors to a multitude of betting avenues, both in physical locations and online. 

The shift towards online sportsbooks has been especially significant, marking a notable change in the landscape of sports betting. Given the expansive range of online sportsbooks available to Canadians, experts like Neil Roarty provide critical reviews and comparisons that guide bettors through the complex array of online options. These sites delve into the nuances of each platform, evaluating everything from user interface and betting options to the perks and security features they offer (source: bestsportsbettingcanada.ca/).  

Despite the rising trend in online betting, traditional sportsbooks like those in casinos are adjusting to the new landscape. Caesars Windsor, for instance, has recently made significant changes to its sports betting services. Initially projected to increase job opportunities and enhance visitor footfall, thereby boosting various service-related positions within the casino, the reality has somewhat shifted. 

The casino’s CEO, Kevin Laforet, had expressed optimism at the sportsbook’s inauguration in January 2023, citing anticipated growth in employment opportunities due to expected higher traffic. This optimism was rooted in the broader economic benefits typically associated with casino expansions, such as increased employment for local and migrant communities including roles like dealers, bartenders, and security staff.

However, recent developments have seen Caesars Windsor recalibrating its approach to sports betting. According to a spokesperson from the casino, after a detailed review of betting trends at their facility, adjustments were necessary to align the sportsbook’s operations with actual guest preferences and patterns. 

As a result, the sportsbook has scaled back its operating hours to 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day, which has led to minor staffing changes. Importantly, all affected staff members have been retained, and the sportsbook continues to operate during peak times, especially during significant sporting events, with kiosk betting available 24/7.

Jessica Welman, editor of the Canadian Gaming Business, remarks on the overwhelming preference for online sports gambling over traditional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The convenience of placing bets via a smartphone or computer is a significant draw for many, enhancing the accessibility and appeal of online betting. 

Welman further noted that the market for online betting in Ontario has expanded consistently each quarter since its legalization, highlighting a robust growth trajectory that underscores the market’s potential.

However, the relationship between online gambling and its impact on physical casino revenues is complex and not well-documented. Sports betting reporter Greg Warren pointed out that most casinos do not specifically track how much of their revenue comes from sports betting as opposed to other gambling activities, which muddles the ability to analyze precise trends. 

Yet, experiences from the United States suggest that both in-person and online sportsbooks can experience growth simultaneously, indicating a synergistic relationship rather than a competitive one. According to Warren, the distinct experiences offered by online platforms and physical sportsbooks mean they can coexist and cater to different preferences.

Welman supports this view, suggesting that despite the convenience of online options, there is an enduring appeal for the physical experience of in-person betting. She argues that brick-and-mortar casinos provide a unique atmosphere that can’t be replicated online, serving as a draw for those who prefer the tangible excitement of a live betting environment. 

In line with its diverse offerings, Caesars Entertainment also maintains an online gaming app, which complements its physical sportsbook operations. This app is designed to offer users a seamless integration between the convenience of digital betting and the engaging atmosphere of in-person wagering. 

While specific details on the app’s impact on the casino’s overall business were not disclosed, it represents an integral part of Caesars’ strategy to bridge the gap between traditional and digital gambling experiences. This dual approach not only caters to a broader range of consumer preferences but also positions Caesars to capitalize on the growing trend of mobile and online betting.

As the landscape of sports betting continues to evolve, the interaction between online and in-person gambling platforms will undoubtedly remain a key area of focus for industry observers and participants alike. By maintaining a strong presence in both arenas, Caesars is well-equipped to adapt to changing consumer habits and technological advancements that have seen real money online casinos cornering many gambling markets worldwide, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of the gambling industry. 

This strategic integration highlights the potential for more synchronized growth and innovation within the gambling sector, shaping the future of how sports betting is experienced across different platforms.

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