Sally Papso will celebrate her 70th birthday at Vimy Ridge Park this summer, surrounded by a community of people who appreciate her.
Over the years, there have been few things she hasn’t tried. Papso welcomes a challenge and thrives when it comes to all things creative. She has restored a 1929 Model A Ford which she drives around Wolseley, much to the delight of onlookers. She makes suncatchers with driftwood she handpicks, does watercolour paintings, brickwork, renovations of all kinds, pole-walking and plays "at the piano." At 60, she returned to university, and became a certified oral historian.
The retired corrections worker and private practice counselor bought her Wolseley home in 1989 and has been on a whirlwind of creating an urban refuge, both inside and out ever since. Her yard is famous for the plant paradise it becomes during the warmer months, and the bus stop in front of her house even more so, with a bench, a garbage can and even an ashtray. There is also a giant clock on the outside wall of her house amidst an eclectic mix of treasures in her yard.
"I like Wolseley because it’s central. People come by and chit-chat. It’s so friendly. I think people care and love the neighbourhood. Gardens get people outside, making it safe. People share. People watch," Papso says.
When someone stole her red garbage can, she immediately put another one out. She did the same thing when the bench went missing. But those incidents are rare and when they do happen, she never allows them to get her down.
Papso gets frequent compliments and thank-you cards and letters from grateful strangers, neighbours and even the metre reader. The youthful Papso who walks several miles every day and has been credited with inspiring others to create more elaborate Wolseley gardens.
Amanda Le Rougetel, a longtime friend and neighbour of Papso’s, had this to say about her:
"Sally is a notable character in this neighbourhood — a woman you see out and about: working in her garden, walking or biking through Wolseley or chatting with people waiting at the bus stop outside her house that she’s painted and planted up with flowers. As a local school child said of her a few years back, she is a special person around here!"
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June 3 is the date for this year’s annual Wolseley Walk for Wags and Whiskers, a joint fundraiser for Craig Street Cats and Boston Terrier & Pug Rescue of Southern Manitoba.
Everyone will meet at R.A. Steen Community Centre. They will then walk up Wolseley Avenue to Omand Park, across the railroad bridge, up Wellington Crescent to the Maryland Bridge, and back up Wolseley to the club.
For information or pledge forms, call 223-6652 or email email@example.com.
Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for Wolseley. You can contact her with story suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.