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Historical society hopes walks boost reach

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The fledgling North East Winnipeg Historical Society (NEWHS) is hoping to boost its presence in the community.

The group, which is compiling historical information on the neighbourhoods of Elmwood, East Kildonan, North Kildonan, West Kildonan, and Old Kildonan, began meeting in 2010 and became incorporated in 2011.

One outreach project the organization is putting together is the Kildonan Drive South walking tour, which will be held in conjunction with Jane’s Walk events held May 4 and 5.

The Kildonan Drive South tour will meet at the corner of Kildonan and Mossdale Avenue at 1 p.m. The three-kilometre walk is expected to take approximately 90 minutes.

The society’s historian/archivist, Jim Smith, will guide walkers along the route like he did the inaugural time the walk was held back in September. The society’s Jane’s Walk last year went along Glenwood Crescent, but rain put a damper on attendance, with 35 people showing up as opposed to 70 for the first run of the Kildonan Drive tour in the fall.

Smith said the walk is designed for people with a connection to the area, though others with an interest in the area’s older homes and its prominent settlers are welcome to join.

"We assume that most people would either live in the area or have lived in the area," he said. "There’s a lot of history in the area that a lot of people aren’t aware of.

"One of the things I find unfortunate is people don’t really understand the history of the area, and it’s not well documented."

NEWHS publicity chair Donna Cudmore said holding the events helps to connect the society with the community.

"People enjoy the walks, they enjoy walking in the area," she said. "If they’re from the area, they want to know the history of the area and the homes."

In addition to the walks, the NEWHS is also working to compile stories of past and present residents, with the goal of eventually releasing a book of these memories.

"We’re looking for material — old photographs of the area, stories from the area," said Smith.

"We want the peoples’ stories — what was it like growing up in the area 30, 40, 50 years ago? History has to start somewhere," added Cudmore.

The group meets the second Tuesday of each month at Access River East (975 Henderson Hwy.) Membership costs $10, though meeting attendees are not required to be members.
Smith is posting a bevy of archival information to the Miles Macdonell Alumni Association website at http://www.mmcalumni.ca/v2/history.php.

For more information on Jane’s Walks in the city, visit http://www.janeswalk.net/index.php/walks/canada/winnipeg

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