Niakwa Park — a neighbourhood gem
I grew up in Niakwa Park. Located north of Fermor Avenue, south of Windsor Park Golf Course and adjacent to the Seine River, this ’50s style neighbourhood thrives with annual community events organized by designated ‘bay captains’ each of the area’s five major bays: Cherokee, Chippawa, Mohawk, Pawnee, and Iroquois.
What was formerly known as Papoose Park was recently renamed 100 Comanche Road, after the main connecting street, but it is still a place for residents to play, skate and enjoy the walking path leading to the Seine River. As a group, the Niakwa Park Residents Association has raised money to enhance the park, updating it with new play structures for their children.
Designed by Yugoslavian-born Nicola Zunic, a graduate of the University of
Manitoba’s architectural school of design, the subdivision’s name came from an
Indigenous term for “the winding river” which had previously been used for the nearby Niakwa Country Club, south of Fermor.
Zunic decided to study architecture after being discharged from the Royal Canadian Armed Forces in 1945. In designing Niakwa Park, he wanted to embrace the park-like terrain by building around the existing greenery. This neighborhood of 160 homes boasts modern California- and ranch-style bungalows with foliage that bloomed in full over the decades.
Backing Niakwa Park is the Windsor Park Golf Course. When I was young, kids would wait for the misfortune of a golfer whose ball made it over the fence of someone’s back yard. A highlight of my formative years was skating on the rink where hockey sticks and the sound of sharp blades resonated, especially on weekends. The rink was recently resurfaced, allowing a new generation to enjoy it.
Remember Neighborhood Watch? It still exists; so much so that residents involved gather to picnic or barbecue. In the winter they organize sleigh rides.
Long-time residents, Larry and Eleanor Chornoboy have lived in Niakwa Park since 1992 and continue to embrace this friendly community.
“It’s quiet, well maintained and I find the homes stay within the family. Once the kids grow up, they often update their parents’ home causing an upsurge in value,” Chornoboy said. It is difficult to find a home for sale here, and when does go up for sale, it is scooped up in a matter of days, if not hours.
In 2007, there was a contest to name and choose the colors for the entrance sign. The winning name was “Maqua” which means bear in Ojibwe. An 11-year-old resident won that contest. In 2016, when Maqua went missing, the City of Winnipeg quickly replaced it as it stands now.
Niakwa Park, according to many, is “our home and native land.”
St. Vital community correspondent
Laurie Gydé is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org