Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

North End proud

It's a place where people look past your pain and see your potential

  • Print
 Kevin Chief and his family — wife Melanie, son Hayden and dog Buddy — stand on the Salter Street bridge.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Kevin Chief and his family — wife Melanie, son Hayden and dog Buddy — stand on the Salter Street bridge. Photo Store

Whenever I drive home, north over the railway tracks on the Arlington or Salter Street bridges, I can't help but feel a sense of pride and optimism.

Welcome to Winnipeg's North End. Everywhere you turn, it is steeped in history: from the Ukrainian Labour Temple (a national historic site) to Ross House Museum (the first post office in Western Canada) to St. John's Public Library (funded by the Carnegie Foundation and set to turn 100 years old in 2015). We have enough sites to supply multiple Jane's Walk neighbourhood tours!

The North End has always been a place of new beginnings. People from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds have come here to build new lives for their families. This was where I was born and raised by my father in a bachelor pad on the corner of Burrows Avenue and McKenzie Street. Although I grew up poor, the people in this community made me wealthy in other ways. My teachers, coaches, and neighbours provided me with the supports I needed to succeed.

My story is a reflection of the North End. When people looked into my eyes, they were able to see past my hardships and see my potential. The same is true of the North End. We may face challenges, but we are not defined by them; we are defined by how we overcome them. That's why I get excited about our community.

Across the street from my first home was Strathcona School and a special teacher named Mrs. Wilson. I am thankful every day for the encouragement she gave to me and hundreds of other students. When she passed away, I was honoured to give her eulogy. Up the street was Jemy's Grocery where Leti, one of my "neighbourhood moms," always had a welcoming smile and her special Filipino egg rolls and tasty barbeque. I still drop by to pick them up today.

Iconic restaurants like Kelekis and Alycia's will always bring back fond memories for generations of Winnipeggers, but there are hidden treasures everywhere with dishes to suit anyone's taste buds. We still have prized destinations like The Windmill, Luda's and The White Top, as well as new opportunities like Kalan.

Walking down Selkirk Avenue, a stop at Gunn's Bakery to visit Bernie and Fivie Gunn is a must. The heavenly smells make it difficult to choose what to take home to my wife Melanie and son Hayden. In the same way, a journey in search of the best kubasa could be a lifetime pursuit. There are numerous North End meat shops to choose from like Tenderloin, Karpaty, and Winnipeg Old Country, all boasting their own take on sausage.

We are one of most ethnically and culturally diverse areas in the country. Its rich and vibrant social fabric can be heard in the many accents that ring out on every corner. Our diversity is our strength. I will never forget attending a community festival at St. John's Park, where I saw a Filipino couple dancing a Ukrainian polka to the music of a M©tis fiddle band.

A spirit of co-operation and commitment to making things better runs throughout the North End. Wherever you go, people are working to make improvements to our community. They help one another by giving freely of their time, their energy and their enthusiasm. When Pollock's Hardware was set to close, the community organized and opened Pollock's Hardware Co-op. California Fruit is gone but people had a vision for Neechi Commons to replace it, providing us with bannock, blueberries, and hugs.

The people of the North End inspire me every day. I am so proud of them. I love the North End.

Kevin Chief was elected as MLA for Point Douglas in October of 2010 and appointed to cabinet by Premier Selinger in January of 2011 as the Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities. He and his wife Melanie live in the North End with their two-year-old son, Hayden.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 19, 2013 A1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: No Time Left for Stu

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google