I’ve always said that our community is the heart and soul of our city—with a nationally-renowned past, a vibrant and transforming present, and a future we are building right now.
Ours has been the welcoming place, even decades before hopeful families first stepped off a CPR train and settled north of the tracks. They came, and still come, from across oceans and across the province for the promise of a safer and more prosperous life.
Ours is also the strengthening place. Families move here, settle down and succeed because of a culture built on a foundation of adversity and diversity. Adversity makes us resilient and resourceful. Diversity encourages empathy, inclusion and co-operation. This makes us uniquely strong, and strong people build a strong community.
A strong community rises to its collective challenges. We do that. We can start child care centres, organize a residents’ association and run a community centre, even a hardware store. We have worked to eradicate graffiti from Main Street, save a library, then a hospital, hold annual community cleanups, build a play structure and help protect our neighbours from floodwaters. Often described as "rough and tumble," we get stuff done.
I recently spoke with a former resident who sadly claimed that our community’s "glory days" were long passed. She cited a familiar list of area sons and daughters who went on to fame and fortune. She lamented restaurants and hangouts now lost, except in the fond memories of her youth.
But that’s not what I see in our community today. We continue to nurture generations who grow up and learn their craft among us, then go on to renown in many fields including sports, entertainment, literature and public service. More importantly, it’s the unsung thousands who strengthen our community and are heroes to their own families, friends and neighbours, that truly make the biggest difference.
We lost some beloved institutions, but many remain or have been reborn. The best kubasa is still produced here, with more offerings than ever. We can still get that odd hardware thingamajig on Main Street. And now the secret’s out about our newest attractions offering real French pastry, shawarma, gelati and bannock — with raisins! Fine dining is coming soon to our cherished Kildonan Park.
Put this all together with our majestic treed streets, riverside parks, our unique and constantly improving housing, and our community centres, both new and reinvigorated, and I say the glory days remain. It’s a great time to be a part of this community, an enviable mosaic where everyone fits in. Heart and soul.