In the years following WWII the economy was booming and people had money to spend.
Cars and family vacations were becoming more affordable. Gas stations and motels soon popped up along highways to cater to the travellers.
For many years in Dauphin's south end, Sticky’s Service and Drive-Inn provided gas fill-ups and a place to have a “nip” to eat. Next door, the Highland Motel offered accommodations for the travellers.
Motels offered a basic level of accommodation and simple amenities designed to meet the needs of people who might only be staying one or two nights.
Located just off the main highway, room doors typically faced the parking lot and were easily accessed from outside of the one-storey buildings.
In 1945, Peter Perchaluk was united in marriage with Frances Koverzin. After the couple moved from Sclater to Dauphin, Peter gained employment working at various construction sites including remote locations in northern Manitoba. After honing his carpentry skills, he became his own independent contractor. With determination and a hard work ethic he began constructing residential buildings in Dauphin.
Located at 214 Main St. North, Peter also constructed a commercial building that became the location for a Simpson's catalogue order office in 1949. In 1950 he also built the store for Fred Chaykowski at the corner of Main Street and Seventh Avenue.
In 1951 Peter erected a home on Fifth Avenue Southeast where the Perchaluk family lived until 1959 when the dream to start a motel business venture was fulfilled. Peter used his knowledge of construction to build the Airport Motel located at 2050 Main Str. S. After operating the business for several years, Peter and Frances decided that building a motel closer to Dauphin's town centre would be a wise business move. After purchasing an empty lot next to Sticky’s, construction began on the Highland Motel.
As advertised in the Dauphin Herald, the official opening of the Highland Motel was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 31, 1964. The public was cordially invited to attend the ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. and along with coffee and doughnuts, tours were offered of the rooms in the attractive brick-finished L-shaped 18-unit motel.
“The eighteen units included single and double rooms, rooms with kitchenette facilities and executive suites. The rooms were electrically heated with thermostatic controls for each room, wall-to-wall carpeting and matching furnishings.”
Several years later, four more rooms were added to the original structure.
The 1960s and 1970s proved to be busy times in the motel business. Peter was kept busy with the work associated with the motel maintenance and Frances handled the office, reservations, bookkeeping and other business-related tasks.
The majority of the guests checked in the late afternoon or early evening, however, it was not uncommon for someone to ring the buzzer at two in the morning even if there was a “No Vacancy” sign posted on the office door.
The office was a hub of non-stop activity as once the guests registered they utilized the ice-machine, bought soft drinks or stocked up on potato chips and chocolate bars. They also came to the office when they checked out in the morning, paid their bill and returned their room key.
The whole family took turns to answer the switchboard, as guests made many phone calls at all hours of the day. To make a telephone call from the room, one had to call the motel office switchboard. Once the call was received, the number was dialed of the person who the guests were trying to reach.
On weekdays, travelling salesmen representing their companies regularly reserved a room at the motel. Summer months tended to be busy with tourists, especially during the fair and the Ukrainian Festival when getting a room without a reservation proved to be difficult.
The business landscape in Dauphin’s south end has changed since the 1960s and the 1970s. In 2006 Sticky’s was replaced with a modern Co-op convenience store and gas bar.
In 2021 the Highland Motel was demolished and today the Dollar Tree is the main tenant of the new mini strip mall.
Currently, only the Highland Motel sign still stands as a testament to the once thriving motel location.