Cody Sellar

Cody Sellar

Community Journalist

Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, and lover of terse biographies.

Email him at cody.sellar@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7206.

Recent articles of Cody Sellar

City council candidates for Point Douglas

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

City council candidates for Point Douglas

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Three candidates are running for city councillor in the Point Douglas ward. The municipal election is Wed., Oct. 26.

Moe El Tassi

Moe El Tassi is president of Strata Supply, has been involved in numerous charitable and non-profit community organizations including Siloam Mission, and sits as a civilian on the Winnipeg Police Board at city hall, among other community boards. |

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Lukes to be challenged in Waverley West

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

Lukes to be challenged in Waverley West

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Janice Lukes and Pascal Scott have been nominated for city councillor in the Waverley West ward. The municipal election is Wed., Oct. 26.

Janice Lukes (incumbent)

Incumbent councillor Janice Lukes has served two terms as city councillor for Waverley West, after being elected in 2014 (when the ward was known as Winnipeg South–St. Norbert), and she is seeking re-election for a third term. |

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Swimming sisters strike gold, silver, bronze

BY Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

Swimming sisters strike gold, silver, bronze

BY Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

ST. JAMES-ASSINIBOIA

CHARLESWOOD

A pair of swimming sisters showed West is best at last month’s Canada Summer Games.

Mia West, 16, and her younger sister Halle, 14, returned from the Niagara region of Ontario with a combined six medals in various swimming events.

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Mia and Halle West came home from the Canada Summer Games adorned with all sorts of precious metals.

Writers festival kicks off new chapter

BY Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

Writers festival kicks off new chapter

BY Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Books are magic — if not literally, then literarily. They make worlds appear from thin air.

The Winnipeg International Writers Festival, also known as the Thin Air festival, kicked off its celebration of this magic on Sept. 20, and month-long festivities will end Oct. 18.

“We’ve got a really, really interesting lineup,” festival director Charlene Diehl said. “Every book that we’re featuring is really interesting to us for a variety of reasons.”

The festival will feature a range of both anglophone and francophone writers, including local poet Tanis Mitchell, Canadian author and host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks radio show Bob McDonald, and bestselling British author Ben Macintyre.

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Thin Air Festival director Charlene Diehl touted a lineup that included top writers from Manitoba and around the world.

A little hope can go a long way

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

A little hope can go a long way

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

POINT DOUGLAS

For Al Wiebe, hope is crucial. It is a buoy to which people grasp as the depths of despair tug at their feet.

Wiebe spent over two years living on the streets after losing a well-paying job in advertising. He struggled through his time without a home, and almost lost his life to it, but Wiebe made it through and now works as an advocate for people living experiences as he once lived.

For the past two years, Wiebe has been trying to get a small, narrow stretch of alley along Henry Avenue that connects Main Street to King Street renamed as Hope Alley.

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Photo by Cody Sellar

Five candidates on ballot for Mynarski ward councillor

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 5 minute read Preview

Five candidates on ballot for Mynarski ward councillor

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 5 minute read Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

MYNARSKI

Mynarski ward offers one of the more crowded races in the upcoming civic election, with five candidates running for the seat held by Coun. Ross Eadie. The municipal election is Wed., Oct. 26.

Ross Eadie (incumbent)

Ross Eadie has been Mynarski councillor since 2010.

Friday, Sep. 23, 2022

WSO rings in 75th season with a flourish

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

WSO rings in 75th season with a flourish

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

WINNIPEG

To Daniel Raiskin, music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra is an optimistic metaphor.

“It’s a fantastic example how many different things can really work in harmony. If you took a double bass and a piccolo, you couldn’t help but see the differences, and yet these two instruments play together in the greatest harmony and enjoy each other’s company,” he said. “In a diverse community such as ours, music is a wonderful example of how we can unite and connect people of all languages, races, backgrounds, gender or sexual orientation — it doesn’t matter. Music is for everyone.”

After cancelled seasons and one last year full of stops and starts and reduced capacities, Raiskin is looking forward to greater normalcy in 2022-23, and the restoration of the magic of the symphony, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary and kicked off the season with an opening concert featuring Brandon-born-and-raised violin star James Ehnes on Sept. 17.

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

Music director and Russian-born Daniel Raiskin said he’s excited for the upcoming season, which among other considerations, has included a number of Ukrainian composers as a show of support for the people of Ukraine.

Folklorama doles out scholarships

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 2 minute read Preview

Folklorama doles out scholarships

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 2 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

CHARLESWOOD

RICHMOND WEST

SOUTH POINTE

WESTWOOD

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

St. James city council candidate profiles

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 4 minute read Preview

St. James city council candidate profiles

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 4 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

The race to represent St. James at city council is sure to be one to watch, with five candidates registered at press time. The municipal election takes place Wed., Oct. 26.

 

 

Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood city council candidate profiles

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 4 minute read Preview

Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood city council candidate profiles

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 4 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

At press time, five candidates had registered to run for the city council vacated when incumbent Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor Kevin Klein threw his hat in the rang to run for mayor. The civic election is on Oct. 26.

 

 

Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2022

New documentary a work of resilience

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

New documentary a work of resilience

By Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Friday, Sep. 16, 2022

WOLSELEY

Finishing their documentary film took a whole lot of resilience from filmmaker and Wolseley resident Kevin Nikkel and the team at Reaching E-Quality Employment Services (REES), an organization that helps connect people with physical disabilities and health conditions with employment.

That’s not why the film about REES’s work is called Resilience, but it does sum up what it meant to begin planning a documentary just as a pandemic swept over the country.

But Nikkel and his subjects prevailed and will be premiering the film at an open house at the REES office, located at 305-1200 Portage Ave., on Sept. 21 between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to join, free of charge.

Friday, Sep. 16, 2022

Filmmaker Kevin Nikkel explores the work of non-profit Reaching E-Quality Employment Services in his new documentary Resilience.

What do city councillors do?

Cody Sellar 4 minute read Preview

What do city councillors do?

Cody Sellar 4 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

BY CODY SELLAR

STAFF REPORTER

WINNIPEG

On Oct. 26, Manitobans will head to the polls to vote in municipal government and school board elections.

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Photo by Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

Manitobans will elect their city councillors on Oct. 26.

Dance school legacy burns bright

Cody Sellar 4 minute read Preview

Dance school legacy burns bright

Cody Sellar 4 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

TYNDALL PARK

Janice Amborsky started teaching dance at the age of 13 at a dance school run by her aunt, Angela Lake. Lake had been a dancer and performer from the age of four in 1928, according to the Manitoba Historical Society, so when Lake retired and handed the keys to her school, the Ziegfeld School of Dance, to Amborsky, it was the passing on of an already long family legacy.

Now, 71, Amborsky has begun her 58th year teaching dance. It began with an open house, at which children could put a toe in the water of dance for free, to see if they wanted to continue. Elio Rodrigues, now nine years old, discovered the school at last year’s open house, and he returned this year to the school, which operates at Tyndall Park Community Centre, ready to explore new avenues of dance.

His mother, Aida Rodrigues, said it’s been a revelatory experience for the young boy.

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2022

Photo by Cody Sellar

Ziegfeld School of Dance owner Janice Amborsky says teaching dance is not a job for her, it’s her way of life.

RRC Polytech introduces rainbow walkways

By Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

RRC Polytech introduces rainbow walkways

By Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022

BY CODY SELLAR

STAFF REPORTER

THE EXCHANGE

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022

Supplied photo

RRC Polytech has painted the rainbow walkways outside of entrances at each of its three campuses.

St. James Civic Centre set to reopen

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

St. James Civic Centre set to reopen

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

ST. JAMES

After two years, the reigning Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League champions, St. James Jr. Canucks, are heading home.

“It means a lot. It’s really exciting to have a room back,” said club president Justin Steeves.

The team’s home arena, the St. James Civic Centre, closed on April 1, 2020 for a major renewal and renovation project. The centre serves more than the hockey team, however, as it provides a host of community services. The building includes the arena, a swimming pool, weight room, and various other spaces.

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Justin Steeves, president of the St. James Jr. Canucks, stands outside of the the St. James Civic Centre.

Women’s volleyball team takes home gold at Games

By Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

Women’s volleyball team takes home gold at Games

By Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Manitoba women’s volleyball was bumping — and setting and spiking — all the way to a gold medal at the 2022 Canada Games.

“The journey, like any journey, had moments of awesomeness, moments of frustration, and just overall was probably summed up by a lot of growth,” said team coach Alix Krahn.

Krahn, who grew up bouncing around several parts of the province, spending the longest period in Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood, said the process of evaluations started way back in 2020. After the team was assembled from players across the province, Krahn knew she had something special on her hands.

“I just can’t say enough how there was no, absolutely no, doubt in my mind that this was a winning team and that we were going to win the Canada Games,” she said. The team also won the Canada Cup volleyball tournament in July.

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Jubilation overtakes the team as they capture gold.

Art from the Harte

Cody Sellar 4 minute read Preview

Art from the Harte

Cody Sellar 4 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Artists from Charleswood, Headingley and Tuxedo are gearing up to put on a two-day “studio tour” on Sept. 17 and 18, during which they’ll be inviting people into their studios to enjoy and purchase artwork.

The Harte Trail Studio Tour began in 2018 and has become an annual affair since — although, it was forced to put on a virtual event during the pandemic. Twenty-one artists will be participating this year, and events will run out of 18 different studios, said Donna Cuming, a founding member of the artists’ group.

Cuming said the first year they had about 100 people show up each day, but numbers have lowered slightly since due to either weather in the second year or the pandemic. Whatever the outcome may be this year, Cuming said she’s looking forward to the event.

“It is actually really quite exciting. It’s an awful lot of work. There’s an awful lot of computer work that has to be done with Instagram and the brochure is a lot of work … But the results are very good,” she said. “It’s a very professional group of artists that we have. It’s quite something, actually.”

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Stephen McLean is one of many artists exhibiting art during the studio tour.

Giancola brings home gold from Games

By Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

Giancola brings home gold from Games

By Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

ELMWOOD

Owen Salvatore Giancola was in his element, and his element is aggression. The 18-year-old wrestler from Elmwood flung opponents to the mat one after the other to win gold in individual wrestling for the 98 kilogram weight class at the 2022 Canada Games.

“It felt great. No one knew me going into that tournament. No one thought that I was going to win because I haven’t been on the radar for wrestling for a couple of years,” he said.

Giancola also plays football and is a linebacker, a position often focused on knocking people to the ground. It seems to be a trend for Giancola, whose third sport besides wrestling and football is rugby.

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

Owen Giancola (left) celebrates his gold medal in the individual men’s event at the Canada Games with coach Kris Stasiak.

Bike ride raises money to fight homelessness

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

Bike ride raises money to fight homelessness

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

On Aug. 27, Bridge to Nowhere will return for a second annual fundraising bike ride, after shattering all its financial expectations in year one.

“It was absolutely fabulous. We were blown away. We raised $53,000. We set our original mark for $12,000, and it just kept growing and growing and growing,” said Kerry LeBlanc, co-creator of the event alongside Mike Couture.

The pair combined passions for helping others and cycling to put together the event. Funds raised go to helping unhoused people through four organizations — Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY), Willow Place, Red Road Lodge and Bear Clan Patrol.

“We feel that if we split that money into those four charities, those organizations are going to be able to stretch those dollars, probably fourfold,” LeBlanc said.

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

Kerry LeBlanc rests at a pitstop during last year’s event.

All smiles and long faces

Cody Sellar 6 minute read Preview

All smiles and long faces

Cody Sellar 6 minute read Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

Just south of Assiniboine Forest, there’s a Goose that weighs 1,000 pounds. Goose clops and sways and, carelessly with his muscled flank, knocks 14-year-old Tess Bebchuk on his way to nibble grass and weeds, moving the teenager almost as easily as a horse (which is, you may have guessed, what Goose is) swats away flies with its tail.

“Woah, woah, woah!” Bebchuk laughs, as she hops aside for the ravenous horse, who begins tearing up tall dandelions sprouting from the edge of a long barn with peeling white paint. In this barn, Grand Oak Meadows Stables on McCreary Road houses its approximately 30 horses — some of which belong to the stables, while others are simply boarded there.

Bebchuk keeps a hand on the lead, and Goose stomps one hoof into the dirt, perhaps a touch annoyed at a stranger who has briefly stolen his rider’s attention. After all, that’s why Bebchuk bridled Goose — to share a moment together as she leads him around for fresh greens.

“Taking them for grass is really important,” Bebchuk says of Goose and the other horses she rides. “When you’re riding, that’s a good way to build a bond, but you need to do more. I lead them around, I give them lots of treats, and I just spend time with them, talk to them.”

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

Fourteen-year-old equestrian Tess Bebchuk leads Goose around to munch on grass and weeds. The teenager says she feels like herself when she’s flying over crossbeams on her horse’s back.

Festival celebrates Filipino culture

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

Festival celebrates Filipino culture

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

Everything was ready to go, and the Kultivation Festival, a festival aimed at celebrating Filipino/a/x culture in Winnipeg and promoting the creation of a cultural district, was revving up to get underway.

Then, COVID-19 hit. The festival managed to put on a makeshift event later in 2020, but it wasn’t the vision organizers had to begin with.

“We had so much traction. We had so many volunteers, and now we’re just working our way back up again,” said Allan Pineda, co-founder and festival executive director.

Two years later, the festival is getting ready for its first full-blown festival, which will take place over three days, Aug. 26-28, at several locations around the city.

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

The team of organizers has had to claw their way back after being shut down by COVID-19 in 2020.

Hygiene for Hope

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

Hygiene for Hope

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

NORTH END

A non-profit health-care centre in the North End is struggling to meet the demands of the neighbourhood and is asking for help.

Hope Centre Health Care takes a holistic approach to health care and offers physical, mental, and spiritual support to its clientele. It also supplies the necessities of life, doling out shoes through its “shoe closet” program, food via Manitoba Harvest, and personal-hygiene effects. Hygiene products, in particular, are in high demand, so the non-profit is calling on the community to support its hygiene drive running Sept. 12 to 16.

“We can’t keep up,” said Susanna Tasse, who works in the organization’s social work and outreach program. “We deal with emergency food on a daily basis, and we’ve seen about 20 emergency kits go out for random people who need it every day. We serve 40 families a month on top of that. When we do the emergency foods and the hampers and everything, they’re always asking for hygiene products.”

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

Supplied photo

Susanna Tasse (left) and Jaclyn Pierre are organizing the hygiene drive for Hope Centre Health Care

Employment charity hires new ED

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Preview

Employment charity hires new ED

Cody Sellar 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

A local charity dedicated to creating job opportunities in Winnipeg, particularly for those with employment barriers, has welcomed a new executive director.

LITE, which stands for Local Investment Toward Employment, hired Jewel Pierre-Roscelli to take over the role.

“I’m really excited to be in this role as executive director,” Pierre-Roscelli said.

Pierre-Roscelli, who is Indigenous, said she appreciated the organization’s hiring process, as it sought out candidates actively, and its commitment to improving representation in its workplace.

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

Jewel Pierre-Roscelli is the new executive director of LITE.

Osborne dance studio prepares to open

Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Preview

Osborne dance studio prepares to open

Cody Sellar STAFF REPORTER 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

OSBORNE VILLAGE

Nobody puts Bend Academy in a corner — unless it’s the corner of Scott Street and Gertrude Avenue in Osborne Village, which is exactly where the under-construction dance academy is preparing to make its grand debut.

“It’s exciting. A little bit nerve-wracking,” said Melanie Botelho-Urbanski, owner of the upstart dance academy. “But the response I’ve gotten from community members that I’ve spoken to so far is they’re really excited to have a studio in the neighbourhood.”

Botelho-Urbanski, a St. Vital resident, has been teaching dance since 2012, and soon after, she began dabbling in administrative work, learning the ins and outs of running a studio.

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022