|Wicked Wanda as she appeared in the Penthouse comic,|
your girlfriend in a Wanda costume and the sign
that long stood outside Wanda's on de Maisonneuve.
Cleo's = old school peeler bar illuminated by red lightbulbs. Chez Paree = upscale joint popular among NHL players. Super-Sexe = lunchtime buffet strip club. Two clubs @ Drummond and Cat = traveling boob-enhanced feature performers with 8 x 10 glossies in the windows (whatever became of that?)
Every club has some sort of rep but Wanda's on de Maisonneuve has endured since its doors were tossed open in 1977 by owner Sam Moutsios, without any particular identity.
For some time it was a lap dance refusenik, resisting the transformation from the no-touch to the full-out groping, but I don't know what their current policy is (they ain't answering their phone to tell me).
It might aim at being a classy joint but that's awfully pretentious, sorta like trying to be the healthiest hot dog stand. There's a bar attached to it, once most-unusually a hostess bar upstairs, so it had that passageway element.
The bar got its name from a cartoon in Penthouse magazine called Wicked Wanda that appeared in the magazine from 1973-1980. The club's early sign, right at eye-level on de Maisonneuve was a brutally-awful drawing of naked Wanda, which looked like a blow-up sex doll. The charmingly awful sign undoubtedly played a part in the MCM's failed initiatve to ban sexy signs around town.
Sam Moutsios allowed his nephew George Spiropoulos to run the place in 1998 but it went $100,000 in debt by 2001 so he then allowed his son-in-law Constantinos Markoglou to take it over, he quit after a year and Sam's son Antonios and nephew Peter Souboulakis then took charge. Helen Moutsios, likely his daughter has also worked there since 2002.
Authorities judged it to be Sam himself who was in the saddle the whole time overseeing more-or-less the same 20 employees throughout.
Moutsios was brought to the labour board in 2008 and forced to pay employees $107,000 for a variety of percevied transgressions, including making waitresses (Jody Drapkin, Tracy Asbil, Tammy Wolfe, Marie-Josée et Mélanie Jobidon, Vatsana Savejvong, Florbela Feirrera et Josée Lapointe) pay $30 each per shift (tip sharing or a tax on wages?) Other administrative blips included an incident in which a drunken Moutsios allegedly made a racist rermark about waitress Melanie Jobidon's black husband and then fired her and her sister Marie-Josee when it was met with disapproval.
In spite of these woes, the numbered company that owns the building, possibly the bar itself, recently turned down Selfridge's offer to purchase and demolish the property for the Ogilvy's development, which is saying something because they were offering big money for these properties.
Here's a few more historical moments from Wanda's.
-A highly-indebted independent cocaine importer named Daniel Muir was murdered after leaving Wanda's on 9:45 p.m Tuesday Feb. 3, 2004. He walked down Mountain and was attacked in front of 15 witnesses by one man carrying an axe and another with a knife. It wasn't solved.
-On March 10, 1997, Wanda stripper Linda Marie Snyder, then 31, played a minor role watching getaway vehicles in a $2 million jewelry robbery at the Royal de Versailles jewelry store on Bloor St. W. The rest of the crew, mainly younger guys from Verdun, were rounded up but Snyder was sought for a long time. (Toronto police tell me that she turned herselef in on June 11, 1999 and courthouse staffers tell me she was eventually given a $2,500 fine, a suspended sentence and two years probation although I'm halfway convinced it's the wrong file, so ...yeah).
- Station 25 detective-lieutenant Bertrand Morin was reportedly caught dancing in the bar well-after it was supposed to be closed at 4:30 a.m on Jan. 3 1992. He was demoted and attempted to sue the three colleagues who reported him.
- And somewhere around 2000 there was story of two strippers busted for trying to blackmail a patron by threatening to rat out his visits to his wife, but that story is too deep in the pile for me to retrieve right now.