Dakota CC — a true gem in our midst

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/12/2020 (768 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There’s a relatively new, bustling venue in our block — the Jonathan Toews Sportsplex/Dakota Fieldhouse at the Dakota Community Centre.

Thinking that an article about it would make a great ending for my eight-year series of Lance columns in my next book, Musings, I arranged an interview with Dakota CEO, Michele Augert, to learn more about their services.

(COVID-19, however, has destroyed any plans to launch the book in January.)

Photo by Simon Fuller/Canstar Community News files The fieldhouse at Dakota Community Centre is hub of all kinds of community activity in south St. Vital.

I have made peace with myself over the electronic billboard that got me writing to The Lance in the first place. In short, I’ve learned to live with it. May the 40-plus-year-old kangaroo fern I set in my window to block the sight of that billboard flourish for a few more years, as I hope to do.  

Ms. Augert — Michele, if I may — could not have given me a warmer reception. Besides the coffee and three syllabuses detailing Dakota C.C. events, she gave me a running commentary on she came to the centre, its history, plans, and achievements thus far.

And then came the tour. We visited the area where I once played bridge with my friends. Down below I spied some arms and legs doing yoga motions on mats where hockey was played in winter. My chauffeur, Rita Leyden, could only look on longingly as an abstaining yoga member.

Downstairs, we entered the hall linking the old with new structures, with donors’ names prominently emblazoned on one wall. I saw nursery-aged children sitting primly at wee lunch tables, caring adults hovering; in another area, adults playing pickleball on several courts, and more courts with projectiles being bandied about— all signs of a usefully occupied fieldhouse.

The next stop truly touched my emotions — the Jumpstart community rink for sledgers’ hockey in winter and beach volleyball in summer. With Canadian Tire as sponsor and Jonathan Toews as ambassador, Canada’s first fully-accessible outdoor rink has ice at ground level for easy entry and sides that are transparent partway so that seated sledgers can see the surroundings much as the rest of us do. My eyes welled up at the implicit empathy.

The track level of the fieldhouse houses several running lanes as well as cardio equipment and weights, but one needs more energy than I had to go several laps.

To acknowledge the impact that three-time Stanley Cup winner Captain Jonathan Toews has made on this his home community, his Chicago Blackhawks hockey paraphernalia is proudly displayed behind glass at the entrance/exit of the centre,and his huge donation has made many recent improvements possible.

Now let me quote Michele:

“At DCC we remain grateful to all who continue to support … the outstanding programs and facilities we offer that enhances the health and wellness of so many.

“Dakota C.C. has really felt the financial impact of the multiple shutdowns and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are hopeful that our many friends in the community will think of making a gift to Dakota C.C .this holiday season.  This support will ensure we can… bring an even brighter future to our community!”  

Online donations can be made at www.dakotacc.com, with tax deductible receipts provided for gifts over $10.

The south St. Vital Community is incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing world-class facility in our backyard. It is a gem.”

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at acy@mymts.net

Anne Yanchyshyn

Anne Yanchyshyn
St. Vital community correspondent

Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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