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As destiny would have it, when Henry drove home after visiting his mother in a senior high-rise building on the 2100 block McIntyre St, he passed by an old two and a half story home on the corner of Smith and 14th Ave. which was for sale. The thought began to grow in his mind that this would be a great location to establish an art gallery to showcase his art and those of other Saskatchewan artists. At that time he was showing his work to visitors in his studio at his home on an acreage outside of Lumsden.

In the early fall of 1987, Henry purposely went by the old house again before visiting with his mother. His heart almost stopped when he saw a real estate agent removing the “For Sale” sign.

Had the property been sold?

Much to Henry’s relief, the salesman informed him that the house had been up for sale for over a year and the decision was made to demolish the house and turn the property into a parking lot.

The agent took Henry through the abandoned house which had been badly vandalized; paper coffee cups, torn magazines, empty wine bottles, broken glass and caked mud were scattered all over the three floors. The basement, too, had a dirt filled floor, the wiring was outdated and the sewer and plumbing would all have to be replaced as well. What probably discouraged all previous buyers, Henry simply ignored. He looked past all the debris and what needed to be done and visualized what each room would look like finished and displaying wonderful prairie art!

After inspecting the old dilapidated house, Henry crossed the street and stood on the sidewalk, surveying it from the short distance. He liked the layout and the fact that it was on the corner and would get good attention and exposure. The basement was still good, the structure sound, but would need a new concrete floor. The old porch would have to be torn down and replaced with a beautiful entryway that would connect all three floors. And perhaps the small window on the third level could be replaced by two garden doors that opened to a terrace on the top of the new addition. It would be a wonderful view of Wascana Lake and Park.

Excitement swept through Henry as he no longer saw an old building but a new gallery! Yes, perhaps the old house which survived the cyclone of 1912 was meant to become Henry’s gallery!

Thus began a year’s work of gutting and expanding and redesigning the old house. Henry and his architect friend worked side by side changing and finishing the project as they went along.

In November of 1988, only a year later, the gallery opened under the name; Collections Fine Art Gallery. The name was chosen as it seemed to encompass the philosophy of the gallery that “art was for all.” First, the gallery not only housed Henry’s art but also a collection of numerous other Saskatchewan artists. It exhibited not only paintings on the wall but also displayed Pottery and sculptures. It was wonderful to go through the gallery and view both two and three dimensional art at the same time. The eye was constantly attracted the wonderful skill of so many artists. And the price range was such that the gallery catered to not only astute collectors but also to clients just starting out. It was a gallery that was welcome to all.

In 1989, Henry Ripplinger’ gallery was granted an award by the city of Regina for its new design and sensitive infill to the area. It was an outstanding addition to the city and overnight began to attract the attention of tourists.

In 1990, the old Golden Gate Confectionary store adjacent to the gallery on 14th Avenue was offered for sale. Although Henry wasn’t ready yet to buy the property and begin another renovation, he thought he better purchase the store to have control over what went in there. Once again the idea grew in his mind that this would make a wonderful cafe! And once the philosophy that good art and good food go together expanded in his vivid imagination, Henry knew another renovation was in store for him.

Thus began the restoration of the two storey convenience store and a new addition which would join the cafe to the gallery. In 1992, a bright, tasteful fully decorated cafe called Henry’s Cafe and Gift Shoppe’s opened to the public. The idea to combine a cafe, gallery and retail card and gift store was not only the first in the city but an immediate success. And to further add to the eloquence and ambiance of the structure a Victorian tea room and chocolate boutique was added to the second floor of the old convenience store.

Several years later, the empty lot beside the gallery which was part of the original purchase of the old three storey house was developed. This expanded the cafe on the main floor to a new back section but also opened a ladies clothing boutique on the new second floor addition. This resulted in successful fashion shows and high tea twice a year. The gallery and cafe gained the wonderful reputation for ladies to enjoy a fine lunch and desert and finish off their experience by visiting the various boutiques throughout the complex.

In 2002, the decision was made to change the name of the art gallery from Collections Fine Art Gallery to Ripplinger Fine Art Gallery. By then Henry’s art had become well know not only in Saskatchewan but other cities across Canada as well. It had become one of Saskatchewan’s main tourist attractions drawing visitors from all over the world. It was only fitting that the huge heritage complex be recognized by its creator.

We are proud to say that 2018, will be our 30th year in business. In times of change and how people shop, it’s still nice to know that small business still exist for customers to touch and feel items which they purchase and at the same time enjoy an experience they will not soon forget! At this time we wish to thank the people of Regina and beyond for their faithful patronage and support!