Gone but clearly not forgotten
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/11/2022 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Garth Ashdown lived at the corner of Maplewood Avenue and Fisher Street in Riverview with his wife and two daughters.
A landscape architect by profession, he was also an artist, and taught a studio course for the University of Manitoba at Riding Mountain. He had a warm, gentle nature, and firmly believed that life has to have refinement; not just in particular objects, but in every detail, every action.
Garth brought this philosophy to his work and imparted it to his students. He also practised it in his everyday life. He loved to walk his dog along the trail that follows the Red River beside Churchill Drive, in the community where his daughters were raised.
It is on that same trail, down by the river at the far-eastern end of what is now called Don Gerrie Park, that his memorial can be found today.
On Sept. 10, 1995, Garth was on his way back from Riding Mountain when he was involved in a tragic accident. According to reportage from the time, his motorcycle “slammed broadside into a car about 10 kilometres east of Neepawa on the Yellowhead Route.” He died in Neepawa Hospital later that day.
Three years later, the stone memorial for Garth was built, inscribed with the philosophy that guided his life and work, recording it for posterity.
Designed by Delores Altin, a very close friend, it was completed in the first year of her own career as a landscape architect. She is still grateful to the City of Winnipeg for allowing her to place it on a piece of land so enjoyed by the man it commemorates.
I wrote about Garth’s memorial in this space last month. Knowing nothing about it or about him, I reached out to 311 to see what more I could find out.
More than a month later, and after being told some requests can take up to 30 days, I’ve been advised that my “inquiry has been assigned to a Technician at the location and there are no informational notes listed as of yet.”
I would have left it at that but for two readers who reached out to tell me more, and not only about Garth Ashdown. The bulk of what is written here came from them.
Garth Ashdown was a member of his community; just like “gentleman Jim,” the longtime resident of Fred Tipping Place and “staple of South Osborne” who made a name for himself as an entrepreneur; and Peggy (Margaret) Gardiner, a woman who also lived on Maplewood until just shy of her 106th birthday and was often seen around the neighbourhood “walking, laterally, with her walker.”
They too are gone; but even absent a monument to commemorate them, they have clearly not been forgotten.
South Osborne community correspondent
Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.