Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

It started in 1812 with the arrival of the Selkirk settlers

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We've heard from a lot of readers on the 2012 series called Our City Our World. It's a monthly newsroom collaboration designed to celebrate Manitoba's immigrants, one region at a time.

So far we've written about Africans, Filipinos and South Asians. The last section March 31, deftly pulled together under the direction of deputy editor Julie Carl, featured a wide range of news, entertainment, sports and business -- and many images of people who are making a difference.

So of course, we had to go and throw a wrench into the process.

Our next instalment focuses on the U.K., and in particular, the Selkirk settlers of 1812.

Yes, there have been many new faces from the U.K. since 1812, and we do talk to more recent newcomers about their experiences.

But those intrepid colonists from Scotland and Ireland 200 years ago were the first significant settlement of immigrants to take up residence here on the banks of the muddy Red River, and it's an interesting Winnipeg story.

Kevin Rollason had to admit he was a bit challenged on this one. He's been charged with talking to interesting and prominent immigrants on their experiences. It's tough to interview dead people.

Another angle we hoped to pursue was the English war brides who moved here in the '40s and '50s. Sadly, that appears to be another story with no living link to interview.

But there are many other great stories in the works for this April 28 edition of FYI, from Barnardo boys to British car enthusiasts to a whole new wave of farmers. We hope you enjoy it.

My favourite part of these sections is comment editor Gerald Flood's View from the West pages, which have featured faces and names and perspectives you may have never seen before. They are Winnipeg faces that I hope will continue to feel welcome there.

Next up is an even bigger challenge: the Middle East.

How does one write about immigrants who had no home, yet managed to come from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and elsewhere to forge a strong and vibrant community on the Prairies?

We finally decided to tell the tale of the modern Jewish diaspora by placing their story in the Middle East FYI (yes, that does show a little chutzpah, under the circumstances). Very few of Winnipeg's Jews came from there; in fact, the flow moved the other way after Israel officially become their homeland in 1948.

Undaunted, we publish the Middle East issue May 26, and any ideas or suggestions you might have for us are -- as always -- welcome. Any potential correspondents for these sections are -- as always -- welcome.

Coming up, end of June? Ukraine.

Yak po masli.

margo.goodhand@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 12, 2012 A11

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