Donwood South celebrates 40th anniversary


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Home is where the heart is.

For the past 40 years, thousands of northeast Winnipeg seniors have called Donwood South home. On June 14, the independent seniors’ living centre celebrated its 40th anniversary. Over 30 residents attended, many of whom have called Donwood South home for over 20 years.

Donwood Manor board chair John Janzen spoke to residents at Donwood South (1245 Henderson Hwy.) on June 14 during a celebration of the building’s 40th anniversary.

“My grandma lived here,” Carlyle Petkau, operations manager of the building, told the crowd in his opening remarks. “I’m thankful for Donwood South for 40 years of affordable living.”

Donwood Manor board chair John Janzen spoke to the crowd of the work done by the board.

“Our ongoing vision remains the same,” Janzen said. “To provide a safe, comfortable, affordable place to live. A place called ‘home.’ A place where people can live together. That’s what we’ve got here.”

Janzen also spoke to the challenges the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and how the board continues to look to the future.

Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield also addressed the crowd, while remarks were sent by Kildonan-St. Paul MP Raquel Dancho, via a representative from her constituency office.

Donwood South chaplain Sherryl Koop, whose mother used to lead a prayer group at the home, concluded the program with a reflection on the role Donwood South has played in the community, before leading the crowd in a doxology.

“This seemed to be a place where people of faith could gather to experience community life,” Koop said of her early impression of the home.

Donwood South (1245 Henderson Hwy.) has been providing affordable housing for seniors in North Kildonan for 40 years.

Refreshments were provided, and a number of residents took part in games of ladder golf and ring toss afterwards.

“We all know aging in place is becoming more and more important,” Petkau said, noting his grandmother grew up on Helmsdale Avenue and spent her life in the area before moving into Donwood South. “The ability to live in a place where you grew up is important. There’s so much more need for affordable housing. Seniors have different kind of needs for someone much younger. They need a safe space to live where they can have those needs met. It’s vital to have that.”

Petkau added that with an aging building, there is always maintenance and upkeep to be done.

“As you can see, we’re going through a refresh,” he said. “We’re getting a new main floor refresh. We do constant refreshes on units when people move out, so that people are living in updated spaces. We’re installing a new AC unit to keep our residents nice and cool during these hot summer months. We put in some new boilers last year. It would be nice to build new buildings with more space for people. That all involves spending money.”

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at Call him at 204-697-7112

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