Lifestyles 55 is pleased to share the stories of Memorable Manitobans for the archives of the Manitoba Historical Society.
Patrick (Pat) Michael Riordan was born on May 17, 1939, to parents Jennie and Albert Riordan.
Pat was raised in Winnipeg and attended Isbister, Hugh John McDonald and General Wolfe Schools. Following graduation from Tec Voc High School Pat pursued a career in the entertainment field. He started in the late 1950s when he joined a group of friends who became
The Balladeers, a popular vocal group around town at that time. Pat told the story of their acapella group being hired to perform in a window display to promote a local business. The owner assumed all the people walking by would stop to listen to the great harmonies the young men performed. He hadn’t thought about getting the sound outside of the building and so those walking by would continue walking as there was nothing to hear.
Pat entertained at a number of venues including the lounge in the up-scale Pierre’s Restaurant on Portage Avenue. Not long after, he connected with a couple of other talented musicians and formed a group that regularly filled the Rolls Royce Room downstairs at Champs Motor Inn on Osborne Street. After that he, along with a few new faces, performed five nights a week in the It’s a Gas! lounge at the Viscount Gort Hotel. He ruled the room for thirteen years. Pat was considered to be the King of Comedy in the city. His rubber face, wonderful singing voice and comedic timing soon generated a huge demand for his appearances. Be it corporate functions, clubs, or television his unique talent was much sought after and he never let them down. He was booked for many years at the annual Calgary Stampede.
Patrick readily gave his time to many charitable events both on the stage and in an administrative capacity. He was past president (Chief Barker) of Variety the Children’s Charity of Manitoba and in recognition received Variety International’s Presidential Citation for work on behalf of disabled and disadvantaged children. He also served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers of Winnipeg. In addition to these organizations, Pat was past Commodore of The Royal Manitoba Yacht Club and past president of The Winnipeg Press Club.
Pat loved spending time on his boat, the Jennie-May (named for his mother), which he moored at Gimli every summer for many years. Those who knew him well joked that his was the first boat in the water in the spring and the last one to be pulled out in the fall. It was no joke.
Pat was a very giving and thoughtful person. He always remembered to send his friends a birthday card every year. Pat Riordan passed away on November 13, 2008 at the Grace Hospice in Winnipeg.
Jim Ingebrigtsen is a council member of the Manitoba Historical Society and submits the stories of Memorable Manitobans each month to Lifestyles 55. Visit MHS.mb.ca and discover thousands of other men and women in our archives or to become a member, please visit mhs.mb.ca