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Letter of the Day

Memories of Selkirk Avenue

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Re: Selkirk Ave. was a kid's paradise (April 7). I too have very fond recollections of Selkirk Avenue. I had three uncles in Winnipeg in the 1950s. Our family lived in Brandon. We would often visit the rest of the family.

Uncle Constantine had a little house right on Selkirk. He was a woodworker. Uncle Eli had a house on Burrows. As his house was the larger, Mom, Dad, my sister and I would stay there. Uncle Eli was an engineer. Uncle Ted, a horticulturalist, lived mere blocks away.

Burrows was a beautiful avenue with its boulevard and all of those mature trees. Relatives still live in the old house. Uncle Eli had three girls. My cousins would take me up Main Street and we would visit some of the best Chinese food restaurants that I have ever seen. There was this place called Lingnans in an alley just off Main Street. That is where my cousin taught me to use chop sticks, a skill I still use to this day.

My favourite day was Saturday. Uncle Eli would take me down Selkirk. I suppose he had fun taking a small boy with him as his house was full of girls. We would go from deli to deli purchasing the makings for a feast.

Eli knew German so he could communicate in Yiddish. He would barter for sausages, smoked Winnipeg goldeye and that piping hot bread. There was also some candy there for me.

We would hop the bus to go back to Burrows. Back at home, all of our purchases would be laid out on the dining room table. The brown paper wrappers were just opened up and we would feast on all of this fresh food. It was wonderful.

I was back to Winnipeg about five years ago for meetings. I asked the cab driver about Selkirk. He told me that if I wanted drugs or hookers I could go there. I was devastated.

I guess the North End is now not what it used to be. All we have left now is memories. I was delighted to read Colleen Simard's piece. The memories rushed back. It was a wonderful place.

 

ANDREW TURZANSKY

Edmonton

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2012 A13

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