Free Press
Spring cleaning
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Spring cleaning

Happy Wednesday everyone!

As I write this, I am looking out my living room window, watching snow fall (and, I hope, melt as soon as it hits the ground). It’s a bit of a grey day, but the snow is melting.

With the big melt comes all the garbage and litter that has been hiding underneath the snowbanks for the season. It’s gross, but also tends to bring out the best in some people. Soon, if you haven’t already, you’ll start to notice community cleanup events pop up on social media. Maybe you’ll see people around your neighbourhood picking up trash. Maybe you’re the person who does it.

I took part in an organized community cleanup last spring in the North End hosted by the Elizabeth Fry Society. When I initially signed up, I didn’t know anyone and was so nervous and felt insecure going by myself. I had butterflies in my stomach on my drive there, and as I parked my van, I looked for any excuse to blow the event off. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I felt scared — not for my safety, but the socially awkward feeling you get when you do things by yourself with a bunch of people you don’t know.

I gave myself a pep talk, grabbed my puncture-proof gloves and my trash picker-upper-thingy and made my way to the meeting point.

I had so much fun and met so many awesome people that day. There were plenty of groups that came out, including Mama Bear Clan, the Bear Clan and Anishiative. There were also people like me who came by themselves. By the end of the cleanup, I had made a bunch of new friends (whom, thanks to social media, I am still in touch with). I felt really good to be in the community, especially since the last year had been on-again off-again isolation.

I can’t remember how long the event was… Maybe two or three hours. Maybe four? But it was a good way to spend an afternoon.

If you see community cleanup events pop up on your social-media feeds and have the time and ability to go, I encourage you to do so. Even if it’s not your neighbourhood, and even if you’re going by yourself. You will be welcomed, and you will probably come out of it with a great sense of accomplishment and a couple of new friends.

Or, if you have time, consider planning a community cleanup in your own neighbourhood. So often people want to do their part but just need someone to help them by planning and hosting an event. Take Pride Winnipeg is an excellent resource if you are looking to get involved in cleaning up the community.

And sometimes my kids and I just go for walks and clean up without any sort of group. It becomes a bit of a game to see who can get the most or the biggest or the weirdest trash. Trash scavenger hunts!

Reporter Katlyn Streilein wrote a great piece about litter this week, check it out.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. If you do host a community cleanup, send me a link to your event (or a picture of it).


Shelley Cook

Shelley Cook, Columnist

Shelley Cook

Good news this week: 

The Brick Bar, a Lego-inspired pop-up, is coming to Winnipeg this June and it sounds like SO MUCH FUN! Gabby Piche has all the details of what will be taking over Torque Brewing later this spring. 

The Brick Bar is coming to Torque Brewing on June 17 and 18. (Supplied)

Neighbours helping neighbours? Yes please! This Respond Now community development app is such a cool invention: what the developer calls “Pokemon Go for community development.” Read about it in this great piece by Kelsey James. 



Respond Now will be an online community that allows neighbours to help each other more efficiently and effectively though different technologies. (Supplied)

Gabby also wrote about the sold out Stand With Ukraine benefit concert that raised more than $50,000 for charity.

The Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble performed at the benefit fot the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

As he does every Monday, Aaron Epp wrote a wonderful piece about volunteers that really lifts your spirits and restores your faith in humanity. This week: the Animal Food Bank delivers meals when owners can’t.

Sara Anema volunteers as manager of the Winnipeg branch of Animal Food Bank. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press)


I had the honour of writing about the WASAC Follow Your Dreams Weekend… All I can say is WOW. The team at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre worked tirelessly to make sure this past weekend was a successful and fun-filled weekend for Indigenous youth (many from remote First Nation Communities). Well done True North and WASAC! 

Alec Whitford, 11, and Marlena Parenteau, 17, model the new WASAC Follow Your Dreams jerseys. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)




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