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Barber House brimming with activity

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North Point Douglas Seniors Association acting program manager Sandy Dzedzora (centre), along with volunteers (left to right) Rob Forbes, “Duck”, Reggie Eagle Child, Ray Vilneff and Linda Hancock. Eagle Child, NPDSA’s resident artist, displays his latest work in progress.

PHOTO BY JARED STORY Enlarge Image

North Point Douglas Seniors Association acting program manager Sandy Dzedzora (centre), along with volunteers (left to right) Rob Forbes, “Duck”, Reggie Eagle Child, Ray Vilneff and Linda Hancock. Eagle Child, NPDSA’s resident artist, displays his latest work in progress. Photo Store

Built in 1862 by journalist and businessman E.L. Barber, Barber House (99 Euclid Ave.) is believed to be the oldest wood home in Winnipeg. Not only is still standing, it’s a hub of activity.

The historic house is home to both the North Point Douglas Seniors Association (NPDSA) and Eagle Wing Early Education Centre.

On the senior’s side of things, Barber House hosts an array of 55+ activities, including a coffee drop-in each weekday morning, a breakfast every Tuesday and Thursday morning and art/beading classes with artist Reggie Eagle Child on weekday mornings. There’s also a "bird and butterfly" garden and a free library of books, magazines, newspapers and DVDs.

On Sundays, the centre offers Food on Wheels, a mobile food bank founded by NPDSA board member Robert Forbes which delivers food to house-bound seniors. Food is also available forpick-up at Barber House on Mondays.

Former NPDSA vice-president Sandy Dzedzora, who recently took on the job of acting program manager with the departure of Rick Caslake, said the seniors centre is warm and inviting.

"We’re friendly and seniors feel comfortable here," said Dzedzora over a Thursday morning breakfast at Barber House.

"We try to make the atmosphere very comfortable for them. This breakfast program is nutritious for them, but it also sets up social networks. They get to know each other, and that feeds into safety too. The more people you know, the more looking out for you."

Dzedzora has lived in North Point Douglas since 1984. Through her work with SISTARS (Sisters Initiating Steps Towards a Renewed Society), Dzedzora was instrumental in restoring Barber House after a fire gutted the building in 2010.

In addition to NPDSA and Eagle Wing, Dzedzora has had a hand in the development of the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre, the Point Douglas Residents Committee, The Point Community News and Powerline, a neighbourhood watch program where community members can call in suspicious activities or problem houses anonymously.

Despite a few bad apples, Dzedzora said North Point Douglas is a "beautiful neighbourhood" with a ton of history, something the NPDSA hopes to bring attention to with its pyrography (wood burning) classes.

"We’re going to make signs for the 50 historic homes that are in this area," Dzedzora said. "They’re not deemed so by the Historical Society, but they’re old. Monty Hall’s house is on Hallet Street. Rob Forbes lives in it!"

To learn more about the North Point Douglas Seniors Association, phone (204) 947-0380 or email barberhouseoffice@gmail.com

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