Examining Elmwood’s population decline
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/07/2016 (2509 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Elmwood is a fairly central neighbourhood, across the Red River from the inner city community of North Point Douglas and the only area east of the Red to be part of Winnipeg before 1971.
Like many central areas, population is shrinking in Elmwood.
The City of Winnipeg’s online Neighbourhoods of Winnipeg portal (winnipeg.ca/now) lists the city’s officially defined neighbourhoods. Five of these more or less cover the historic Elmwood area: Glenelm, Chalmers, Talbot-Grey, East Elmwood and Tyne-Tees.
There is not much population data for the small Tyne-Tees area, sandwiched between Nairn Avenue and the CN Redditt line. For the other neighbourhoods, though, the figures present a detailed picture of less and less people over time.
Between 1971 and 2006 the riverside neighbourhood of Glenelm shrunk by a third, from 3,320 to 2,195 people. The sizeable neighbourhood of Chalmers went down by over 15 per cent, from 11,360 people in 1971 to 9,475 in 2006. The Talbot-Grey neighbourhood also contracted by a third, having 1,065 less people in 2006 than it did in 1971. Twenty per cent fewer people live in the newer neighbourhood of East Elmwood (built after the Second World War) in 2006 than did in 1971.
These Elmwood neighbourhoods were affected by trends visible in Winnipeg and other North American cities. Widespread car use after the Second World War made it cheaper and easier to travel longer distances between home and work. Over time, more people bought larger houses further from the downtown areas of many cities. In Winnipeg, inner city neighbourhoods from the old North End to traditionally richer central neighbourhoods such as Riverview shrunk over this period.
With cheaper land further from the city core, more customers living near the edge of the city, as well as pipes and roads serving the newer suburban areas, shopping malls sprung up on the edges of the city.
Manufacturing has also become less and less a part of the Elmwood neighbourhood over the last 40 years. With less manufacturing jobs, workers have one less reason to live in the neighbourhood. This has changed Elmwood into a very residential neighbourhood, with less retail services than other mature communities.
But here are signs that Elmwood is starting to grow again. Within the last six years the former Sir Sam Steele school site has been redeveloped by Habitat for Humanity into affordable housing. Private landlords have also built duplexes in the area.
The challenge now is to give people reasons to stay in Elmwood.
West Broadway community correspondent
Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.