The Herald

2021: A year in sports

Sheldon Birnie 9 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021

When the calendar turned to 2021, organized sports in Manitoba were on hold. Hockey, basketball, and ringette leagues which had optimistically started up in the fall of 2020 were put on hold, eventually cancelled. But in time, organized sports returned, while individual athletes found ways to stay in top shape.Local archer hitting bull’s-eyeOne such athlete was Austin Taylor, a Kildonan-East Collegiate alumnus attending Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. In March, Taylor won the U.S. National Indoor Collegiate Championship.“My goal is to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Taylor told The Herald as he prepared for the U.S. National Outdoor Regional Championships in April.In October, Taylor won the 2021 U.S. Collegiate 3D Archery National Championship and was the top ranked collegiate archer in the United States.Dynasty in ElmwoodOn Aug. 16, the Elmwood Giants won their fourth consecutive Manitoba Junior Baseball League Championship, the club’s sixth title in the past eight years, after defeating the Pembina Valley Orioles 10-0 by mercy rule in five short innings at Koskie Field on Chalmers Avenue.“The whole thing happened so quickly,” said Giants manager Ed Kulyk. “It was a blur.”The championship was the icing on the cake of a nearly perfect season, where the Giants went 16-1-1, fielding almost the same roster as the 2020 championship squad.“It was so much fun, this year,” Kulyk said. “These kids are really special. To see them celebrate that and have some fun, to see them bond, it’s special.”High school sports returnSports and extracurricular activities returned to schools across northeast Winnipeg in the fall, albeit slowly and with restrictions in place to protect students against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.“It’s been a challenge, but it’s been super fun,” said Thomas Lange, head coach of Murdoch MacKay’s football team.Murdoch MacKay, Elmwood High School, and River East Collegiate took part in this year’s Winnipeg High School Football League, which played in a modified divisional format owing to COVID-19 restrictions. Miles Macdonell Collegiate fielded a nine-man team as well, while Kildonan-East Collegiate opted to take a developmental approach instead.Murdoch MacKay made it through the regular season with a 3-2 record to face Springfield in the Division 2 final, losing 34-21 in the final match.At press time, the Winnipeg High School Hockey League was approximately half-way through its regular season, with River East and Miles Macdonell competing in the Platinum Promotions Division, KEC in the Winnipeg Free Press Division East, and Transcona Collegiate, Murdoch MacKay and Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau battling it out in the Price Division.Meantime, the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League celebrates its 25th season this year. Miles Macdonell and River East are competing in the CTV Division 1, Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau in the Winnipeg Free Press Division 2, and Murdoch MacKay in the Hire Marketing Division 3.At press time, high school curling was going strong, with the basketball season just getting underway.East St. Paul Curling Club’s women’s teams enjoying success on iceEast St. Paul Curling Club’s Team Walter, skipped by East Kildonan’s Meghan Walter, won CurlManitoba’s world junior qualifier in November, earning the right to represent Manitoba at the world junior national qualifier.“Since we lost out on a year last year, this was our goal, to win provincials,” Walter said.Not to be outdone, East St. Paul Curling Club’s Team Link, made up of skip Kim Link, third Colleen Kilgallen, second Karen Fallis, lead Renee Fletcher and fifth Lynn Fallis-Kurz, won the CurlManitoba Senior Women’s Provincial Championship on Nov. 8.The title is Link’s third in the past eight years, after winning it in 2015 and 2018.“We’re very happy for all of us, but especially Colleen Kilgallen, who is going to her first national competition” Link noted.At the same time, East St. Paul’s Tracy Fleury, Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe and Kristin MacCuish competed in Olympic qualifiers, eventually losing in the final to Team Jennifer Jones.MBCI Hawks junior varsity boys provincial championsMennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute’s junior varsity boys volleyball team won the AAAA provincial championship on Nov. 28.“In the fall, (the team) looked like kids who hadn’t played in a year and a half,” admitted head coach Tanner Owens. “(But) we don’t quit for balls, we play to the end. We never accepted defeat.” The Hawks went undefeated in 10 Kilcona Peguis Athletic Conference games and entered the provincial tournament as the top ranked team in the province. “A lot of these guys didn’t think we’d be top 10 in the province,” Owens said. “But we found we could be one of the stronger teams if we worked hard and continued to be disciplined.”In the quarter-finals, MBCI beat Daniel McIntyre, Garden City in the semifinals, then beat St. Paul’s to win the provincial championship. MBCI’s Miles Guenther-Hoorman was named tournament MVP, while Hawks’ Travis Schroeder and Sam Ross were named to the tournament all-star team.

When the calendar turned to 2021, organized sports in Manitoba were on hold. 

Hockey, basketball, and ringette leagues which had optimistically started up in the fall of 2020 were put on hold, eventually cancelled. But in time, organized sports returned, while individual athletes found ways to stay in top shape.

Local archer hitting bull’s-eyeOne such athlete was Austin Taylor, a Kildonan-East Collegiate alumnus attending Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. 

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2021: Year in review

Sheldon Birnie 36 minute read Preview

2021: Year in review

Sheldon Birnie 36 minute read Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021

 

SubheadBy Sheldon BirnieSTAFF REPORTERNortheastAs 2021 comes to a close, we look back on the year that was in stories from across northeast Winnipeg.January: Boom in backyard rinksWith uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and ongoing public health measures that closed arenas across the province and had yet to allow for community centres to flood outdoor skating rinks, many Winnipeggers turned their back (or front) yards into rinks last winter.The Shorrocks on Knowles Avenue were one such family. Complete with spotlights and LED lines beneath the ice, Chad Shorrock admitted that the rink is a lot of work.“They’re a second driveway to shovel,” Shorrock told The Herald. “(But) as long as they go out there and use it, I’ll build it every year.”Donwood School celebrates 50th anniversaryDespite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Donwood School (400 Donwood Dr.) began planning its 50th anniversary celebrations in January.“We’re really excited to celebrate Donwood’s 50th,” principal Darlene Martineau told The Herald at that time. “Our students are eager to learn about the history of the school and to celebrate that milestone with our school community, virtually.”A series of events, both in person and virtual, were planned throughout the remainder of the school year.“Students are in process of a school-wide writing project about the anniversary,” Martineau said. The project was presented to all classes via PowerPoint on Feb. 23, while a celebration for the wider school community, including alumni and former staff, was held virtually on May 13.February: Great North Kildonan Scavenger Hunt launchedA community wide scavenger hunt that launched in February in North Kildonan got residents outside and exploring their neighbourhoods.“We’re just trying to show people the great things in North Kildonan, so when summer comes maybe they know some new places to explore,” Tammy Harper, president of Gateway Recreation Centre and an organizer of the Great North Kildonan Scavenger Hunt, told The Herald.The brainchild of North Kildonan city councillor Jeff Browaty, the project came together as a result of funding from the federal Safe Restart Agreement providing each ward in Winnipeg with $40,000 in Wellness Grants.“This is just a small way to get people thinking about community, fun, and to distract from the long winter and the pandemic that hopefully we’re on our way out of,” Browaty said. In total, $7,500 in gift certificates to local restaurants in North Kildonan were purchased as prizes for winners and other participants in the hunt, which was well received by residents.Restaurants happy to welcome diners backOn Feb. 13, public health orders were changed to allow for restaurants to open at a maximum of 25 per cent capacity, provided diners arrived with other members of their households only.“This weekend was phenomenal,” Danny Van Lancker, co-owner of Rae’s Bistro & Lounge (9-925 Headmaster Row), told The Herald following the Louis Riel Day long weekend. “It was a like a greatest hits of all our favourite regulars.”Van Lancker added that even at 25 per cent capacity, the restaurant broke a sales record set on Feb. 14, 2020. Still, Van Lancker encouraged a cautious approach to reopening at the time.“Re-opening isn’t something we take lightly,” Van Lancker said. “I don’t want to close and re-open again. It costs too much. You spend so much time and money ramping up and redoing everything all over again. Let’s just take this slow.”March: Biking boom continues unabatedAs the COVID-19 pandemic passed the one year mark, demand for bicycles continued booming, according to local bike shop owner Philip Roadley.“Demand is high and supplies are really low,” Roadley, owner of Bikes & Beyond (227 Henderson Hwy.), told The Herald in mid-March. “It’s going full-steam. I’ve never seen demand so high.”With health restrictions in place to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people took to cycling in all seasons. The demand was not just local, either, but global.“The bike inventory will not correct itself until the end of 2023,” he said. “I’m already seeing ETAs of next year for certain bikes.”Interest in cycling and other active pursuits would lead the City of Winnipeg to re-introduce the popular Open Streets project from 2020 as Enhanced Summer Cycling Routes later in the spring of 2021, with 17 routes closed to all-but local vehicle traffic from May to November across the city.April: Transcona Museum raising money to build CN 2747 permanent enclosureOn April 19, the Transcona Museum launched a new capital campaign to build a permanent protective structure for the historic locomotive CN 2747. The campaign, which is being run by the museum and the Save 2747 Committee, aims to raise $493,000.The date also marked the 95th anniversary of the locomotive, which was not only the first steam locomotive built at the Transcona Shops, but also the first manufactured in western Canada.“It’s not just Transcona’s engine,” said Alanna Horejda, Transcona Museum curator and 2747 committee co-chair. “It was built here, it was donated here, but it worked in Alberta, it worked in The Pas, which just adds to its significance and value.”Over the years, the Save 2747 Committee has been working hard to preserve and protect the historic engine. Having a permanent home that shields 2747 from many of the elements won’t completely eliminate the need for regular upkeep and maintenance, but it will extend the engine’s life far into the future. “We know there will be costs, yearly, into the future,” Horejda added. “We want to be proactive, so people know that they’re donating for now, but also for perpetuity.”KEC student wins national poetry prizeOn April 22, Al Gilbert, a Grade 10 student at Kildonan-East Collegiate, won third prize in the English Poetry in Voice stream, taking home $1,000. The prize also includes an additional $250 for the purchase of poetry books by KEC’s library.“I’ve always been a performer and I like to read, so it seems like a gradual next step,” Gilbert said. The competition features students performing readings of poems, which are chosen from a master list selected by the Poetry in Voice organization. Owing to COVID-19, this year’s competition allowed for students to record their readings, and upload the videos to the central website.Along with Gilbert, this year’s KEC team was made up of Emily Adam, a Grade 10 student, and Emily Kruk, a Grade 11 student. While Gilbert qualified for the English finals, Kruk made it as far as the semifinal round in the bilingual stream. In the end, the KEC team also placed third nationally.“It was a good year,” Tannis Francis, a teacher at KEC who has been involved with Poetry in Voice for the past six years, said. “The three of them are very brave and very expressive and patient with me, in terms of getting advice.”May: Schools go back to remote learning in face of rising COVID third waveOn May 9, the provincial government gave educators less than three days notice classes would go online starting May 12 in light of rising COVID cases that eventually overwhelmed the health care system.The Mother’s Day announcement not only had educators and administrators scrambling, but also had parents and caregivers rushing to rearrange their lives.A letter home from River East Transcona School Division administration acknowledged as much, stating the shift to remote learning “can cause additional stress and means families need to make extra accommodations. Your ongoing support, patience and understanding is much appreciated.”Brittany Karbonik, a mother of two whose oldest child attends Wayoata School, runs a home business.“Honestly, I have no idea how I will be able to care for my daughter, home school my son and continue to run my home business,” Karbonik said. “Not only do I have to figure out how to teach Grade 1, I need to figure out how to do that and figure out how to keep my business from going under.”“The government should have given more of a notice and not made an announcement on a weekend, especially on Mother’s Day,” said Crystal Anderson, a single mother of two young boys who are in Grade 3 and 4 at Bernie Wolfe Community School. “That was rude.”Initially, the school closure was set to last until May 30, but was eventually extended through the end of the school year.Community lab closures cause concernFollowing the opening of two blood collection and urinalysis services supersites in northeast Winnipeg in the fall of 2020, Dynacare quietly closed a number of community labs in the area.“More and more people are coming and saying the same thing,” said Claudette Wills, a resident of Transcona who noticed her local lab was at 701 Regent Ave. W had closed. “Why are these labs closed? We were told it was to be left open.”When the supersites at #3-1581 Regent Ave. W and the other at 1455 Henderson Hwy. were first opened, Dr. Janisa Nadoo, medical director for Dynacare Manitoba, told The Herald that the supersites would reduce wait times for patients at nearby Dynacare collection centres.“Now, patients will have options,” she said.However, by May 2021, three community labs and one “pop-up” lab in northeast Winnipeg had closed.“There’s been no public notice about this, and that’s what I think is so wrong,” Wills added. “It’s inconvenient, and a stressful situation for seniors because it has been taken out of our community.”June: Schools react to discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schoolsIn June, the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School shocked and saddened many across the country.In response, students at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate installed 215 stylized orange Ms on orange posts at the school, one for each child in Kamloops.The initial idea, teacher Kim Dudek explained, was for students to write something on each of the posts, but social distancing made that difficult. Instead, a QR code was attached to each one so passersby could scan it and enter their thoughts on a website linked to that code.“It gives people something to do, an outlet,” Dudek said. “People have a need to show support and to express themselves. They may be very lost.”Dudek noted that in her class each year, students come in more knowledgeable and aware about Canada’s history and the need for reconciliation all the time. They’re prepared to work and that commitment is needed.“Enacting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, every human here has to do that if you want to truly make reconciliation work,” Dudek said. “You have to do it.July: Wetland pilot project in ESP making waves internationallyIn early July, researchers from the International Institute for Sustainable Development built and planted a total of 10 floating wetlands in two retention ponds in East St. Paul. The project, run by IISD’s bioeconomy and water policy lead Richard Grosshans, will test how effective the wetlands are at removing harmful pollutants from freshwater lakes over time.“We are interested to see the performance of these floating wetlands and how they impact our water quality within these stormwater retentions,” Kurtis Johnson, assistant operations manager for the RM of East St. Paul, told The Herald. “What we’re hoping is that the floating wetlands will take up some of the excess nutrient loading that’s going on in these areas. Hopefully, that will result in better looking ponds.”“These are the first stormwater pond islands in Manitoba,” Grosshans said of the project, which he described as a pilot scale demonstration featuring one established pond, and one newer pond.The project builds on years of research the IISD has done at the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, as well as research Grosshans was involved in when he was working with Ducks Unlimited. The data collected in East St. Paul could have impacts internationally.“This is connected to a much larger research program,” Grosshans said. “We have a bunch of islands out at the Experimental Lakes where we look at treatment of oil. Plants are amazing tools for treating contaminants.”August: ReImagine Elmwood project makes most of small spacesThis summer, the ReImagine Elmwood group installed a temporary patio/mini-park in the northbound curbside lane of Watt Street next to Kool Deelites.The project came out of the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation’s recent five-year plan. “What came out of that was getting around the neighbourhood is difficult and unsafe, especially for seniors and youth,” said Michel Durand-Wood, co-chair of the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association, one of nine groups involved in the ReImagine Elmwood coalition. “We want to hear what works, what doesn’t, to show that Elmwood is a place that’s pleasant and happy and good to live and work in. It’s by and for the neighbourhood.”The project, which had the support of City of Winnipeg staff and area Coun. Jason Schreyer, could spark more parklets in the neighbourhood in 2022.“This will allow us to test to see how this can work and whether or not we can build on this and do more of these in the neighbourhood,” Durand-Wood said. “We’re trying to show that we don’t have to take how things are for granted; we can change anything that we want and see if it’s better.”September: Local man donates classic car to charityOn Sept. 15, Bob Beach, an 86-year-old member of the Henderson Legion, donated his 1946 Lincoln Continental convertible to the Masonic Foundation of Manitoba. “My wife decided that I had to get rid of some of my toys or whatever,” Beach chuckled. “We have to look at the possibility of going into some type of senior residence. Anyone we’ve looked at only allows one car. We had three.”The car, valued at $135,000, was the largest in-kind donation the Masonic Foundation of Manitoba had received at the time.“It’s a huge and generous gift,” said Doug Webster, vice-president of the Masonic Foundation of Manitoba, which funds charitable projects throughout the province on behalf of the Freemasons of Manitoba. “A gift of this magnitude will surely allow us to keep supporting those projects.”Familiar faces return to represent northeast riding in OttawaLocal incumbents were re-elected as members of parliament following the Sept. 20 federal election.Elmwood-Transcona’s Daniel Blaikie (NDP) and Kildonan-St. Paul’s Raquel Dancho (CPC) both won their respective re-election bids. Blaikie earned 20,791 votes, or 49 per cent of the vote, once all 188 polls reported. Meanwhile, Dancho  earned 42 per cent of the vote in her riding with 18,375 votes. “I feel gratitude for the folks of Elmwood-Transcona giving me a shot at representing the riding in a third parliament,” Blaikie said. “And I’m thankful to all the people who worked on the campaign.”“I feel very honoured,” Dancho said. “I love my community that I represent and I worked really hard over the last two years to represent them through a very difficult time in Canadian history.”October: Grandfather, grandson build 17-foot cedar canoe by handAmong the many things Transcona’s James Neufeld has learned from his grandfather, John, patience might be the most important.“If there’s anything my grandpa has, it’s patience,” Neufeld said in October, as he was completing work on the hull of a 17.5-foot cedar canoe, an exact replica of one his grandfather completed 20 years ago.“It’s one of the ultimate tasks as a woodworker,” Neufeld said. “Grandpa’s not going to be here forever, and I’m going to wish that when I built a canoe, it was with him. So I better just do it.”The two have spent countless hours in John Neufeld’s garage in Transcona over the years. They’ll spend a few more, at least, before the new canoe is ready to launch.“The canoe he built was probably one of his greatest projects, and the fact that he’s sharing that with me is very big for me,” Neufeld said. “Very special. It’s something that can be in my family for hopefully 100 years.”Local trainer attempts setting new world fitness recordOn Oct. 23, Nolan De Leon, a coach with Fukumoto Fitness, made an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for heaviest weight lifted by Turkish get-up in one hour by a male. De Leon, who is completing his master’s degree at the University of Manitoba’s department of physiology and pathophysiology, lifted 5,897.2 kilograms, which is equal the weight of a large African elephant. In doing so, he also collected pledges from clients and community members, raising over $3,500 for Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba.“With mental health, it’s kind of a hidden thing that people struggle with,” De Leon said. “I thought, why not lift the elephant in the room high enough for everyone to see.”The world record attempt on Oct. 23 was successful, De Leon said, though it will take some time for the evidence to be reviewed by the Guinness Book of World Records before the feat can be officially recognized. The current record of 4,868.20 kilograms is held by Chris Cox, of Elora, Ont., who achieved the record on May 16.ESP recognized for naturalization work at Swistun Family Heritage Park.The RM of East St. Paul was honoured with a Communities in Bloom award for the renaturalization work that is being undertaken at Swistun Family Heritage Park.In the spring, 130 new trees and shrubs were planted in Swistun Family Heritage Park. New species of note are Black Hills spruce, tamarack, paper birch, viburnum, Scots pine, saskatoon, Japanese tree lilac, black lace elder, northern gold forsythia, honey locust, Ohio buckeye, and Manitoba maple. Revegetation of a number of other areas in the park, which began in fall 2020, has now been completed, as well.“We’ve had a lot of positive comments from residents and park users so far on the upgrades,” Johnson said. “We should start seeing some new plant material emerge soon (with) turf transitioning into native species.”Four new areas have also been prepped for transition to native species, which will be completed in spring 2022. November: New memorial to fallen soldiers unveiled in Transcona CemeteryTwo new plaques stand sentinel in the cemetery’s Field of Honour, which list the 123 soldiers from Transcona who died in the First and Second World Wars. Those soldiers are buried in cemeteries across Europe, except for nine whose bodies were never identified. “It’s history,” said Lawrence Toet, former MP for Elmwood-Transcona, who spearheaded the project with Peter Martin. “We can’t forget. Playing a small part in keeping that alive is awesome. It’s a heartwarming feeling that’s hard to explain. But it feels good.”“If you’re passionate about an idea, you have to do it yourself,” Martin added. “We were passionate about this project, and we didn’t want to wait for the government or whoever to do it. It needed to be done.”Both Toet and Martin hope it will be a place for community reflection for years to come.“We just want people to get out here and read,” Martin said. “We want the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the ancestors of these people, to come and see them honoured.”December: Major facelift for Hi Neighbour SamOn Dec. 5, crews from John Henry Creations set about removing Hi Neighbour Sam from his post just west of Plessis Road. Over the course of the winter, the iconic statue will be undergoing significant restoration work.“He’s getting a complete overhaul,” said Ray Ulasy, chair of the Hi Neighbour Festival. “There’s some structural stuff, which is the main concern, as well as some aesthetic needs, paint, everything. His whole surface is in rough shape, there’s some rust coming through which has probably weakened the metal. If there’s things that need replacing, they’ll be replacing it.”The cost of Hi Neighbour Sam’s makeover comes to $23,000. The Hi Neighbour Festival is footing the bill, using funds raised over the years, with help from a $6,000 Community Incentive Grant.— with files from Tony ZeruchaAs 2021 comes to a close, we look back on the year that was in stories from across northeast Winnipeg.

January: Boom in backyard rinksWith uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and ongoing public health measures that closed arenas across the province and had yet to allow for community centres to flood outdoor skating rinks, many Winnipeggers turned their back (or front) yards into rinks last winter.

The Shorrocks on Knowles Avenue were one such family. Complete with spotlights and LED lines beneath the ice, Chad Shorrock admitted that the rink is a lot of work.

Read
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021

Photo by Tony Zerucha
Students at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate asked teachers and administration to place a statement on the school’s sign in June.

Life lease an option for 55+ residents

Sheldon Birnie 5 minute read Preview

Life lease an option for 55+ residents

Sheldon Birnie 5 minute read Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

When it comes time to downsize, whether preparing for or in retirement, many northeast Winnipeggers are choosing to sign a life lease rather than buy a condo or rent a traditional apartment.In Manitoba, life leases are a type of rental agreement usually aimed at those 55 years old or older, where tenants pay an entrance fee for a rental unit, as well as rent each month to cover maintenance and other expenses. The model, which was originally designed by the provincial government, provides quality and affordable options for tenants in their golden years.A number of life lease options are available in northeast Winnipeg, including the Cornerstone Life Lease Estates (1845 and 1865 Gateway Rd.). Cornerstone, which was developed by the Association of Reformed Christians in Action, has 103 units in two buildings, in both one- and two-bedroom options, and a number of amenities, including heated grade-level parking, utilities, property taxes, building insurance, maintenance services, snow removal, landscaping maintenance, and more.Henrietta Hielema, a retired educator who sits on the board of directors at Cornerstone, believes the life lease model has a lot to offer.“The rent (is) similar to market rent, but had the added amenities, for the same price.” Hielema said, who has lived in a number of rentals in two different provinces.“Getting out of the housing market was a huge financial relief,” she added. “As a comparison, owning a condo is a distant second. Many older condos have not increased in value at the same rate as single family houses.”One difference with life leases is that residents pay a refundable “entrance fee,” which helps cover costs associated with upkeep and repairs. At Cornerstone, for example, the fees range between $114,000 and $190,000.“For most people selling their lifelong home, that is not onerous,” Hielema said. “Entrance fees usually are set at about half the initial built cost of a unit in a building. The newer the building, the higher the entrance fee.”While a provincial spokesperson noted the province does not collect or track the number of life lease buildings or units, a number of property management companies operate life lease buildings in the area. Murdoch Management, for example, runs Grassie Villa (1395 Molson Ave.), while Donwood Manor’s Valhalla Cove (15 Valhalla Dr.) also has life lease suites for rent. “There are very few market value life leases in Manitoba, as most are non-profit,” Hielema noted. “Applied to 55 + market, housing costs are set to provide adequate housing for seniors as their income decreases. The only change in costs are in the monthly rent set annually. Well governed buildings have set aside a reserve fund to take care of major expenses, such as roof replacement, appliance replacement, updating of units, maintenance of common area costs.”

When it comes time to downsize, whether preparing for or in retirement, many northeast Winnipeggers are choosing to sign a life lease rather than buy a condo or rent a traditional apartment.

In Manitoba, life leases are a type of rental agreement usually aimed at those 55 years old or older, where tenants pay an entrance fee for a rental unit, as well as rent each month to cover maintenance and other expenses. The model, which was originally designed by the provincial government, provides quality and affordable options for tenants in their golden years.

A number of life lease options are available in northeast Winnipeg, including the Cornerstone Life Lease Estates (1845 and 1865 Gateway Rd.). Cornerstone, which was developed by the Association of Reformed Christians in Action, has 103 units in two buildings, in both one- and two-bedroom options, and a number of amenities, including heated grade-level parking, utilities, property taxes, building insurance, maintenance services, snow removal, landscaping maintenance, and more.

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Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

Supplied photo
The Cornerstone, located at 1845 and 1865 Gateway Rd., is among a few life lease options available for 55+ residents of northeast Winnipeg.

Twin brothers commit to Bisons football

Sheldon Birnie 10 minute read Preview

Twin brothers commit to Bisons football

Sheldon Birnie 10 minute read Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

For twin brothers Jordin and Drew Boucher, football is more than a pastime. It’s a passion.On Dec. 15, the Boucher brothers committed to continue their gridiron journey with the University of Manitoba Bisons in the fall of 2022. The ceremony was held in the Murdoch MacKay library with their mother and father, Greg and Tammy, and grandparents Gilbert and Lenora, as well as staff and fellow members of the school’s football team, present.“I’m happy we’re staying home and doing it together,” Drew Boucher said following the signing. “We’ve always done everything together, so this will be another great four or five years. It’s gonna be great doing it together.”“We were actually going to wait until January to make this decision,” Jordin added. “But we did it now because our grandma just got put into palliative care, so we wanted to let her know before she sadly passes away.”As members of Murdoch’s offensive line, the Bouchers helped propel the team into the Winnipeg High School Football League’s Division 2 final this fall. The team, which featured many players new to tackle football, went 3-2 in five regular season starts, scoring 81 points for on the year, with 65 against before beating Sisler 30-14 in the semifinal before falling 34-21 to Springfield in the final match.“I think it’s important to note that signing letters of intent don’t just happen. It’s rare,” Brian Dobie, head coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons, said. “These guys outworked pretty much everyone in the province. Being 6-foot-4, 225 pounds or whatever certainly helped their cause. But there are others who are out there in the same boat who aren’t achieving what they have.”Dobie noted that both boys have put in the time with Manitoba’s U16 program, while continuing to train regularly throughout the pandemic.“They have drive and passion,” Andrew Westwood, an assistant coach and teacher at Murdoch MacKay, said. “We had a whole year off last year, which turned a lot of kids off. But not them. Not for a second.”“Through COVID, we were doing anything we could to get back on the field or in the gym, because they were all closed,” Drew added. “We put in a lot of hard work, training with Recruit Ready in the off season, getting in the gym, COVID was tough but we persevered through that and came back this year, made it to the finals.”“We’re thrilled when kids can use football as a means to get to the next level, or get their education,” added coach and teacher Andrew Mauthe. “Having taught both of them, they’re great academic kids as well as huge personalities on the football field. Seeing them tie this together and move on to the next level is awesome. We’re immensely proud of these guys.”Drew and Jordin’s parents and grandparents are about as proud of their boys as one would imagine.“They’ve worked hard to get here and we’ll support them on all their future endeavours,” Tammy Boucher said of her sons. “This is their passion.”“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Greg Boucher said “The effort, the time, the work they’ve put in doing this to get where they are, they deserve all the credit. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning to get them to 6:15 a.m. Recruit Read workouts at the GolfDome? I would do it in a heartbeat, I don’t regret it one bit whatsoever.”Still, the path the boys have chosen came as some surprise to their father.“Honestly, I never wanted them to play football,” he admitted. “We are a hockey family, we’ve always been. So when they decided to play football, I hummed and hawed and eventually said, ‘OK, let’s see if this is what they wanted to do.’ Seven years later, this is where they ended up.”“Growing up, it was always driven into our heads that we were hockey players, but we were so big out there and all we wanted to do was hit,” Drew recalled. “But that wasn’t in hockey at the time. Thanks to Kevin Bailey and Krista Ducharme at the Nationals, they pursued us to play football. If it wasn’t for them, we would have never started playing.”“Those first few years, we didn’t know what we were doing out there,” Jordin added with a chuckle. “We’d just go out and hit the guy in front of you.”“Through off season work and studying the game we got to where we are today,” Drew noted.“I’m very, very proud of them,” added grandpa Gilbert. “It’s something you don’t expect and it happened. I’ll probably be watching football for a while now.”Both Boucher boys will be studying business at the University of Manitoba. And while playing professionally in the Canadian Football League remains the dream, but finishing university in good standing is the priority.“Playing football is the dream, but if we walk out of there with an education that will help us get good jobs down the road, that’s the goal,” Jordin said.

For twin brothers Jordin and Drew Boucher, football is more than a pastime. It’s a passion.

On Dec. 15, the Boucher brothers committed to continue their gridiron journey with the University of Manitoba Bisons in the fall of 2022. The ceremony was held in the Murdoch MacKay library with their mother and father, Greg and Tammy, and grandparents Gilbert and Lenora, as well as staff and fellow members of the school’s football team, present.

“I’m happy we’re staying home and doing it together,” Drew Boucher said following the signing. “We’ve always done everything together, so this will be another great four or five years. It’s gonna be great doing it together.”

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Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

Sheldon Birnie
Drew and Jordin Boucher, Grade 12 students at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate, committed to play with the University of Manitoba Bisons on Dec. 15. Pictured, back row from left: Lenora Boucher, Bisons coach Brian Dobie, Gilbert Boucher. Front row: Tammy, Drew, Jordin, and Greg Boucher. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

REC student, alumnus honoured

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

REC student, alumnus honoured

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

 

Two students from River East Collegiate are being recognized internationally for their work towards nuclear disarmament. Grade 12 student Rooj Ali and Avinash Singh, a 2021 graduate now attending the University of Manitoba, have been nominated for 2021 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year by the Washington, D.C.-based Arms Control Association.“In a field that is often focused on grave threats and negative developments, our Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest aims to highlight several positive initiatives — some large, some small — designed to advance international peace, security, and justice,” noted Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, in a statement.“It is empowering to be nominated alongside diplomats, ministers, scientists, and policy makers in the disarmament movement,” Singh said. “It demonstrates that youth are more than capable of making a change and are now being officially recognized for the work that they do.”Singh added he hopes that the nomination helps recognize the work that all youth who are in the disarmament movement are putting in to the cause. “What this movement needs now, more than ever, is more youth to take the lead and make an impact,” he said.Ali and Singh are recognized for their successful advocating for Winnipeg city council’s unanimous support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “After finding out the result, we were thrilled and elated,” Ali told The Herald in June. “It took several months of hard work, from an idea to when the Cities Appeal reached council, so having a quick and unanimous final vote felt fantastic.”In 2019, the pair were invited to attend the Nuclear Peace Summit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. “What we’ve learned through this is that Canada, although we don’t possess nuclear weapons of our own, we do contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and we do have nuclear power plants here,” Ali said.Ali and Singh decided to try to build off the momentum the Nuclear Peace Summit had built. Working with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, they launched Reverse the Trend, an initiative to engage youth on the front lines of the fight for nuclear disarmament, which led to their proposal at city council.Regardless of how the final voting pans out, Ali and Singh are not ready to rest on their laurels.“We want to continue teaching others about the Cities Appeal and will continue helping everyone who is thinking about or are currently working on their own ICAN Cities Appeal campaigns,” Singh said. “More than anything, we want to see more Canadian municipalities endorse the appeal — to continue the tide of change, one city at a time.”Other nonimees for the award include ministers, US senators, scientists and scholars. Voting for the awards can be done online until Wed., Jan. 12, 2022.For more information, or to vote for Ali and Singh, visit www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2021-12/2021-arms-control-persons-year-nominees-announced 

Two students from River East Collegiate are being recognized internationally for their work towards nuclear disarmament. 

Grade 12 student Rooj Ali and Avinash Singh, a 2021 graduate now attending the University of Manitoba, have been nominated for 2021 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year by the Washington, D.C.-based Arms Control Association.

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Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

Supplied photo
River East Collegiate alumnus Avinash Singh (left) and Grade 12 student Rooj Ali, pictured here at a Lanterns of Peace event last summer, have been nominated for an international award for their advocacy for nuclear disarmament.

‘She meant a lot of things to a lot of people’

Simon Fuller 4 minute read Preview

‘She meant a lot of things to a lot of people’

Simon Fuller 4 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021

Tributes have been coming in for Bev Morton, a local gallery owner and arts patron who died recently.

As reported in the Dec. 8 edition of The Lance, the 71-year-old owner of the Provencher Boulevard-based Wayne Arthur Gallery died in November after a long battle with cancer.

“Bev’s gallery was well-known, and she was a fixture in St. Boniface,” Morton’s sister, Sandra Morton Weizman, said recently. “She was renowned in Manitoba and had a huge following among artists. Her gallery was a cultural hub and a place for artists to come to and meet up. She was a big mentor for emerging artists and also a draw for artists from remote areas of the province.”

Artist Ruth Kamenev, who knew Morton well, had a number of exhibits at her friend’s gallery through the years.

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Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021

File photo by Simon Fuller
Bev Morton is pictured at her gallery in this file photo.

At the heart of the community

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

At the heart of the community

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

Big things are in the works at the east end of Larsen Avenue.Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, a non-profit that provides a range of community supports for children and families from an Indigenous perspective, is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Winnipeg Foundation to support its new “family care centre” in the heart of Elmwood.That had been the plan in 2019 when Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, which also operates several locations in the North and West Ends, moved into 575 Larsen Ave. “We had started a bit of programming and training here, but then COVID happened and we had to close our doors,” Rosalyn Boucha, communications manager for Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, told The Herald. Shortly after public access to its sites was discontinued in March 2020, in light of COVID-19 health measures, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata began assembling and delivering emergency food and care packages to clients across the city. “We do about 1,000 hampers per week,” Boucha said, noting upwards of 230,000 food kits and hampers had been distributed over the course of the pandemic to date. “When it scaled up with the Home Nutrition and Learning Program, we needed this space, because it’s the biggest space we have right now.”The organization plans to continue with the emergency hamper program until at least March 31, 2022, if not longer.“We’re still having conversations with the province, the city, with Harvest, for a long-term plan, because the need is not going away,” Boucha noted.While the emergency hamper program currently makes up the bulk of the activity at 575 Larsen Ave., that is about to change. The $500,000 grant from the Winnipeg Foundation will allow Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata to begin delivering the family and youth based programming it had intended to offer at the site all along.“Not that other care sites aren’t family focused,” Boucha noted. “But this will be the family care centre. That’s what the Winnipeg Foundation grant is helping facilitate, to start doing that programming and being able to offer it to the Elmwood community.”The space itself provides ample opportunity for the organization to meet the needs of the community.“We already work with a lot of families and individuals who live in this area, but we didn’t have an accessible location (before)” Boucha said. “This is the perfect location. It’s at the end of a street, it’s super quiet, the greenspace outside is amazing, there’s a splash pad, a park, and the building is huge. It’s a super accessible area, so we’re really happy to be here.”The nearby green space, in particular, is unique for the organization.“We’re looking forward to some cultural programming, land-based programming, things like that we can do outside with families and kids outside who don’t have access to green space either,” Boucha said. “That’s really exciting.”But with uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and new variants of concern, Boucha said no firm timeline is in place for when those programs will open to the community. “There are a lot of things in motion right now,” Boucha said. “When we have a good plan in place to open our doors in safe way for both our staff and community, then we’ll move ahead with opening up this space.”

Big things are in the works at the east end of Larsen Avenue.

Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, a non-profit that provides a range of community supports for children and families from an Indigenous perspective, is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Winnipeg Foundation to support its new “family care centre” in the heart of Elmwood.

That had been the plan in 2019 when Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, which also operates several locations in the North and West Ends, moved into 575 Larsen Ave. 

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Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

Rosalyn Boucha, communications director of Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, is excited to start developing family oriented cultural programming the organization’s location at 575 Larsen Ave. Currently, the location is used as a distribution centre for the organization’s emergency food hamper program. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Fresh look for a familiar face

Sheldon Birnie 4 minute read Preview

Fresh look for a familiar face

Sheldon Birnie 4 minute read Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

A familiar face is missing from Regent Avenue. But he should be back, and better than ever, before long.On Dec. 5, crews from John Henry Creations set about removing Hi Neighbour Sam from his post just west of Plessis Road. Over the course of the winter, the iconic statue will be undergoing significant restoration work.“He’s getting a complete overhaul,” said Ray Ulasy, chair of the Hi Neighbour Festival. “There’s some structural stuff, which is the main concern, as well as some aesthetic needs, paint, everything. His whole surface is in rough shape, there’s some rust coming through which has probably weakened the metal. If there’s things that need replacing, they’ll be replacing it.”Created as the symbol of the Hi Neighbour Festival, the statue of Hi Neighbour Sam was erected in August 1968 in the parking lot at Crossroads Shopping Centre, on the southeast corner of Regent Avenue and Lagimodiere Boulevard. Nearly 20 years later, he moved east to the parking lot of Canadian Tire, where his look was switched up to match Canadian Tire’s black and red corporate colour scheme. In 2009, Sam got a fresh paint job, with green vest, white shirt and yellow slacks, and was moved to his current home, just west of Plessis Road on Regent Avenue West.The Hi Neighbour Festival budgeted up to $23,000 for Sam’s makeover, using funds raised over the years, along with some help from a $6,000 community incentive grant.“This is long overdue,” Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) said. “As you come into Older Transcona it’s something that guides you. Some of my best memories are Hi Neighbour Festival. People enjoy the festival and it brings people to Transcona.”After his makeover, Sam is expected to be back in his old spot, welcoming visitors to the Park City by May 1, 2022, barring any unexpected developments.“Just in time for the festival,” Ulasy said, adding he’s hopeful the Hi Neighbour Festival can return to Regent Avenue in 2022, after being cancelled owing to COVID-19 the past two Junes.

A familiar face is missing from Regent Avenue. But he should be back, and better than ever, before long.

On Dec. 5, crews from John Henry Creations set about removing Hi Neighbour Sam from his post just west of Plessis Road. Over the course of the winter, the iconic statue will be undergoing significant restoration work.

“He’s getting a complete overhaul,” said Ray Ulasy, chair of the Hi Neighbour Festival. “There’s some structural stuff, which is the main concern, as well as some aesthetic needs, paint, everything. His whole surface is in rough shape, there’s some rust coming through which has probably weakened the metal. If there’s things that need replacing, they’ll be replacing it.”

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Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

Supplied photo
Hi Neighbour Sam is off for a complete refurbishment this winter. Residents and visitors to Transcona can expect to see him back in his usual spot on Regent Avenue West in the spring of 2022.

Endowment fund launched by L’Arche

Sheldon Birnie 5 minute read Preview

Endowment fund launched by L’Arche

Sheldon Birnie 5 minute read Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

L’Arche Winnipeg’s work in the community will continue, thanks in part to a new endowment fund.On Dec. 8, L’Arche Winnipeg announced the creation of the fund, which is named after long-term advocate Jim Lapp.“I’m grateful and humbled by such an honour,” Lapp said. “I truly believe that we can create a more inclusive society for persons with intellectual disabilities when we work together.”Dozens of people joined the Zoom broadcast to honour Lapp, who recently retired after working for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities for over 47 years. For the past 12 years, Lapp has been L’Arche’s executive director. “I’m kind of speechless,” Lapp said following the presentations, which included many videos and messages from well-wishers and those thanking him for his years of service. “L’Arche Winnipeg has been really important to me.”L’Arche Winnipeg’s new executive director, Dominic Opaka, was also introduced at the event.Founded in 1973, L’Arche Winnipeg is a not-for-profit, community-based organization providing homes and social opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. Among its programs, the organization operates L’Arche Tova Cafe in downtown Transcona, which provides employment opportunities for their members. L’Arche itself was founded in France in 1964.Lapp began started with L’Arche Winnipeg as an assistant in the organization’s first home in Transcona in 1974, eventually moving on to a career in teaching. But he remained volunteer supporter and board president of L’Arche Winnipeg, before spending the last 12 years as executive director.Lapp was also joined by Tova and Larry Vickar of Vickar Automotive to launch the endowment fund. “Jim is a capable, dedicated, unassuming and hard-working individual who has been a friend and advocate for people with developmental disability since the seventies,” Larry Vickar, a long-term supporter of L’Arche who is matching donations to the new fund up to a total of $50,000, said. “Naturally, in his retirement, Jim wants to continue his friendship with members of L’Arche,” Vickar added. “Jim, may you enjoy a happy, healthy, and productive retirement ... knowing you have made a world of difference for so many.”To kick things off, Tova and Larry Vickar made a $25,000 contribution to the fund, which is hosted by the Winnipeg Foundation, which will also contribute based on their gift matching rates. “It’s a tremendous honour,” Lapp said. “I’m very touched by it. Thank you to everyone, and thank you for your love.”Dividends from the fund will “allow L’Arche Winnipeg to create projects focused on equal opportunities and social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, aiming to end social isolation.”

L’Arche Winnipeg’s work in the community will continue, thanks in part to a new endowment fund.

On Dec. 8, L’Arche Winnipeg announced the creation of the fund, which is named after long-term advocate Jim Lapp.

“I’m grateful and humbled by such an honour,” Lapp said. “I truly believe that we can create a more inclusive society for persons with intellectual disabilities when we work together.”

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Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

Supplied photo
L’Arche Winnipeg’s long-serving executive director Jim Lapp retired on Dec. 8. To honour his years of service and advocacy, an endowment fund for the organization has been launched in his name.

More cash for trees, please

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Preview

More cash for trees, please

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

With plans to funnel more cash towards maintaining the city’s tree canopy proposed in the 2022 preliminary budget, green advocates say it isn’t enough.According to a news release, the 2022 preliminary budget proposes increasing the operating fund for tree preservation and maintenance by over $4 million, to a total of $31 million over the next two years. Additionally, city’s six-year capital investment plan also proposes $28.6 million investment in the protection and enhancement of the city’s tree canopy.“While the City of Winnipeg continues to prioritize investments into the preservation, maintenance, protection, and enhancement of our tree canopy, Winnipeggers can get involved by joining the One Million Tree Challenge,” mayor Brian Bowman said in a statement. “I hope as many Winnipeggers as possible will join us as we work together to plant a million new trees before our population reaches a million people.”However, the Trees Please Winnipeg coalition, which includes members from neighbourhood groups and associations from across the city, is requesting $6 million more for the city’s capital budget for trees over three years. The request, explained member Lisa Forbes, is required “in order to reduce the fluctuation of capital budgets, so long-term, multi-year planting and removal projects and partnerships can be planned.”Forbes, who is also a member of the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association’s tree committee, said she is tired of hearing politicians wax poetic about the value of trees, then stopping short of providing enough funding to take care of them.“We’ve known for sometime how people are emotional about our trees, how much we love our trees, and we hear our politicians say what we’re telling them, they’re feeding that back to us,” Forbes said. “And yet, they’re not putting our money where their mouths are.”Rather than focusing on an emotional appeal, Trees Please Winnipeg is making the argument that investing in trees as infrastructure makes sound economic and environmental sense. One example from a special report from TD Economics in 2014 found that for every dollar spent on maintaining a residential tree canopy saves residents between $1.88 to $12.80 in erosion prevention, air quality improvement, energy savings and carbon sequestration annually.“If you look at the real value of trees in terms of being a part of our urban environment, we need them to cool our city, to hold water run off, to sequester carbon, and that has a value,” Forbes said. “The same way you value infrastructure like roads, trees have a value, too. You pay for capital expenses, and then you maintain with operating budgets.”Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) sits on the standing policy committee on protection, community services, and parks, which heard a delegation from Trees Please Winnipeg, along with Trees Winnipeg and others concerned about the city’s trees, on Dec. 7 when discussing the city’s preliminary 2022 budget.“I have issues with what we’re doing,” Nason said of the current situation with regard to trees. “We’re getting very aggressive on our tree removal, but we only planted a fraction of what we took down. That won’t keep our canopy in place.”Following a lengthy meeting, the standing policy committee on protection, community services recommended approval of the operating budget as presented, and recommended the capital budget be adopted with some amendments regarding specific park projects. Executive policy committee will consider the matter on Dec. 14, while city council will have a final discussion at its Dec. 16 meeting.

With plans to funnel more cash towards maintaining the city’s tree canopy proposed in the 2022 preliminary budget, green advocates say it isn’t enough.

According to a news release, the 2022 preliminary budget proposes increasing the operating fund for tree preservation and maintenance by over $4 million, to a total of $31 million over the next two years. Additionally, city’s six-year capital investment plan also proposes $28.6 million investment in the protection and enhancement of the city’s tree canopy.

“While the City of Winnipeg continues to prioritize investments into the preservation, maintenance, protection, and enhancement of our tree canopy, Winnipeggers can get involved by joining the One Million Tree Challenge,” mayor Brian Bowman said in a statement. “I hope as many Winnipeggers as possible will join us as we work together to plant a million new trees before our population reaches a million people.”

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Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

Sheldon Birnie
Lisa Forbes, pictured here in 2019, is a member of the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association’s tree committee and the Trees Please Winnipeg Coalition. The coalition is calling for an increase to the city’s urban forestry budget, and pushing city planners and politicians to consider trees as infrastructure and invest accordingly. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD

Canstar Community News Weekly Video Update for Dec.8, 2021

John Kendle 1 minute read Preview

Canstar Community News Weekly Video Update for Dec.8, 2021

John Kendle 1 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021

Sheldon Birnie of The Herald chats with Canstar managing editor John Kendle about what's in the Dec. 8 issue of the paper and what the holiday season has in store for folks in northeast Winnipeg.

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Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021

New look, new titles for Canstar papers in 2022

John Kendle 2 minute read Preview

New look, new titles for Canstar papers in 2022

John Kendle 2 minute read Monday, Dec. 6, 2021

Your community newspapers are going to look and feel a little different in 2022.

Beginning with the issues of Jan. 5, the six titles published by Canstar Community News will be combined to become two larger community newspapers – the Free Press Community Review East edition and the Free Press Community Review West edition.

The Free Press Community Review, both East and West, will be full of local news, sports and feature articles written by our staff reporters, as well as the community correspondents who write about the issues that matter to their neighbourhoods.

The coverage areas of the two new publications are defined by a line that runs roughly parallel to the path of the Red River.

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Monday, Dec. 6, 2021

Canstar photo illustration
On Jan. 5, 2022, Canstar Community News will unveil the Free Press Community Review East edition and Free Press Community Review West edition.

‘Tis the season to lace ‘em up

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

‘Tis the season to lace ‘em up

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Monday, Dec. 6, 2021

The snow is here to stay, winter is officially just around the corner and local community centres are embracing the season.On Sat., Dec. 18, Valley Gardens Community Centre (218 Antrim Rd.) will host its first ever Skate with Santa event.“We normally have a breakfast with Santa, but we weren’t comfortable for it this year,” said general manager Cher Hebert. “It’s our first year, we’re trying it out, and if it’s a success, we’ll continue.”After only icing two of the club’s four rinks last year, owing to uncertainty around COVID-19, Valley Gardens plans to have all four rinks operational this winter. “Spongee will be back again this year,” Hebert said. “We’ll have them going in one door and out the other. We have all our dressing rooms repainted and fixed up.”To kick off the season, they’re inviting the community out for a skate from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 18.“We’re keeping it pretty simple,” Hebert said. “We’re hoping to have a vendor who will have hot chocolate, and if we can’t find a vendor, we’ll do it ourselves. Santa will be walking around, he won’t be skating. We don’t want him falling and breaking his hip before Christmas!”Caregivers who wish to take a photo of their children with Santa will be able to do so, but in a socially distanced manner outdoors.The club will also be open to use the washrooms, or warm up. Those inside will need to wear masks, Hebert noted, and follow all public health protocols.“There will be music, and we have lots of volunteers, which is exciting,” Hebert noted.Funding for the event was provided by a per capita grant via the East Kildonan-Transcona community committee of $1,200 — $400 each from Transcona, North Kildonan, and Elmwood-East Kildonan wards.East St. Paul Arena (266 Hoddinott Rd.) is also hosting its annual Skate with Santa on Dec. 18, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.Participants must bring their own skates, helmet, and equipment, and no sticks or pucks will be allowed.“Proof of vaccination is required, and masks are required in the arena but, once participating in activity on the ice, masks can be removed,” noted a Facebook event post.While Gateway Recreation Centre (1717 Gateway Rd.) won’t be hosting its annual Skate with Santa this year, the outdoor rinks will be open as soon as weather allows, president Tammy Harper confirmed.“Unfortunately, we are short-staffed and won’t be able to put the skating trail in this year,” Harper added.Likewise, South Transcona Community Centre (124 Borden Ave.) is forgoing holiday events this year, but will have the ice maintained on its outdoor rink for those who want to skate.“We are (still) deciding if we should open canteen and washrooms or leave it like last year with benches outside for skate changing,” noted club president Louise Hedman.

The snow is here to stay, winter is officially just around the corner and local community centres are embracing the season.

On Sat., Dec. 18, Valley Gardens Community Centre (218 Antrim Rd.) will host its first ever Skate with Santa event.

“We normally have a breakfast with Santa, but we weren’t comfortable for it this year,” said general manager Cher Hebert. “It’s our first year, we’re trying it out, and if it’s a success, we’ll continue.”

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Monday, Dec. 6, 2021

File photo
Gateway Recreation Centre (pictured in this file photo) will not be hosting its annual Skate with Santa this year. Valley Gardens Community Centre (218 Antrim Rd.) and East St. Paul Arena (266 Hoddinott Rd.) are planning to host Skate with Santa events on Sat., Dec. 18.

Hawks soar to provincial title

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

Hawks soar to provincial title

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute is home to another provincial championship banner, thanks to the junior varsity boys volleyball team.“This group is special,” said Tanner Owens, who was in his first year as head coach of the team. “We weren’t doing this because we wanted to win. We did this to honour the legacy that Brian Plett has created at MBCI.”Undefeated in 10 league games in the Kilcona Peguis Athletic Conference, MBCI’s junior varsity boys squad beat Miles Macdonell Collegiate in the KPAC semifinal, then beat Garden City in three straight sets to win the division title and head into the AAAA provincial as the top ranked junior varsity team.“In the fall, (the team) looked like kids who hadn’t played in a year and a half,” Owens admitted. “These kids had very basic volleyball knowledge, some had no experience. I had a few kids who’d never played before who actually contributed in the end.”What the team lacked in experience it made up for in determination.“We always had the attitude to play for each and support one another, and alternately keep ourselves in check,” Owens said. “A lot of these guys didn’t think we’d be top 10 in the province. But ... we found we could be one of the stronger teams if we worked hard and continued to be disciplined.”An early game against divisional rival Garden City set the bar for Owens on what the team could achieve if they put their collective minds to it.“We were down 24-17 and we came back and won 26-24,” Owens recalled. “That clicked to me that we could be a competitive team because of that morale. We don’t quit for balls, we play to the end. We never accepted defeat.” Northeast Winnipeg was well represented at the boys AAAA JV provincial tourney this year. Eighth ranked Miles Macdonell Collegiate joined the top ranked MBCI Hawks and No. 2 ranked River East Collegiate in the tournament. However, Daniel McIntyre beat Miles Mac 25-21, 14-25, 25-12, 25-22 in the preliminary round to end the Buckeyes’ championship dreams.In the quarter-finals, MBCI beat Daniel McIntyre, while REC beat seventh ranked Steinbach on Nov. 26. In the semifinals, MBCI took on old foe Garden City, beating the Fighting Gophers in five sets, while REC lost to St. Paul’s to set up the championship match.MBCI beat St. Paul’s 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-21, 28-26) to win the provincial championship. “In the final, we were up 24-20 and they crawled back, and they even had two set points, but we fought back and got those points back,” Owens said. “We competed for every point, no matter the deficit.”MBCI’s Miles Guenther-Hoorman was named tournament MVP, while Hawks’ Travis Schroeder and Sam Ross were named to the tournament all-star team, along with River East’s Yeb Kuentsler.

Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute is home to another provincial championship banner, thanks to the junior varsity boys volleyball team.

“This group is special,” said Tanner Owens, who was in his first year as head coach of the team. “We weren’t doing this because we wanted to win. We did this to honour the legacy that Brian Plett has created at MBCI.”

Undefeated in 10 league games in the Kilcona Peguis Athletic Conference, MBCI’s junior varsity boys squad beat Miles Macdonell Collegiate in the KPAC semifinal, then beat Garden City in three straight sets to win the division title and head into the AAAA provincial as the top ranked junior varsity team.

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Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

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The Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute’s junior varsity boys volleyball team are the 2021 AAAA provincial champions.

From a lark to a launch pad

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

From a lark to a launch pad

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

 

An East Kildonan resident is making waves on social media.Star Anderson is among 30 Indigenous creators from across Canada selected for the first TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators. Presented by the National Screen Institute, the six-week program provides participants with technical training, media career building and sessions on social responsibility and digital wellness, under the guidance of some of TikTok’s leading Indigenous creators.“We have so many untold stories that are waiting to be shared,” said program advisor Sherry Mckay in a statement. “Because there are teachings in each story, my hopes are that these creators will gain the technical skills and knowledge to not only tell their stories, but inspire others to do so as well.”“I had a few of my followers tag me a post about it, saying I should apply,” Anderson, who is Anishinaabe, said. “I honestly didn’t think I’d get accepted.”Anderson, a 31-year-old mother of two boys, said she first got into TikTok in March 2020 during the first lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.“I downloaded it to basically embarrass my kids and make videos,” Anderson laughed. “It really took off after that.”Today, Anderson, who posts to TikTok @staranderson1, has over 43,700 thousand followers on the social media site, which is the world’s leading site for short-form mobile video. Her videos, which often offer glimpses of her life and lots of humour, have garnered over 348,400 likes.“I really like the Native TikTok, the issues and the humour of it,” she said. “So I’ve been really liking that.”The NSI’s TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators program started with a sharing circle led by Elder Allen Sutherland on Nov. 8. Anderson is joined by fellow Winnipeggers Sebastian Gaskin, Zachary Mann, and Matthew Brian Shorting, and 26 others from across the country.“It’s super informative. There’s 30 of us, and we’re all connected now. We have a group chat going,” Anderson said. “We’re learning about lighting and video editing, how to create on different social platforms and really expand your platform.”While Anderson’s posts continue in the cheeky vein in which she started posting, she has also started posting about issues like missing and murdered Indigenous women, and giving her followers more insight into her life as an Anishinaabe woman.“With the program, I find that they are teaching us to go a little out of our comfort zone,” she said. “So I want to focus more on that. To raise awareness. To let people see me for me.”As she continues with the Accelerator program, Anderson said she hopes to one day for her account to be verified TikTok.“That’s the ultimate goal,” she said. “But now I want to focus on creating content and putting my time and energy into this.” 

An East Kildonan resident is making waves on social media.

Star Anderson is among 30 Indigenous creators from across Canada selected for the first TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators. Presented by the National Screen Institute, the six-week program provides participants with technical training, media career building and sessions on social responsibility and digital wellness, under the guidance of some of TikTok’s leading Indigenous creators.

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Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Supplied photo
East Kildonan’s Star Anderson is one of 30 Indigenous creators from across Canada taking part in the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, a program presented by the National Screen Institute.

A lifetime of giving back

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Preview

A lifetime of giving back

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021

Volunteering is often a selfless act. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to be recognized.On Nov. 28, family, friends, and neighbours surprised Robert Fabbri, a longtime Bronx Park Community Centre volunteer, with a celebration in light of his receiving an Honour 150 medal from the province. “It was quite the event,” said Fabbri, whose wife Donna organized the surprise celebration. “I was absolutely stunned.”Fabbri, who will celebrate his birthday this week, got an inkling that something was up on Sunday morning, as he was preparing to go make ice at Bronx Park.“She said, ‘Do you have something more suitable to wear?’” Fabbri said. “Now my head is spinning. I’m thinking, I have a birthday coming up nine days … I thought she was being sneaky, planning a surprise birthday or something.”It wasn’t until he walked into the gym that bears his name at Bronx Park, recognizing the countless hours he’s put into helping run the club, that Fabbri understood the gravity of the situation.“It was just overwhelming,” he admitted. “There’s no question you feel honoured. It shows other people not only recognize what you’re doing, but appreciate it. It’s unexpected, but very much appreciated.”In 2020, the provincial government announced the winners of the Honour 150 awards, recognizing exceptional volunteers throughout the province “who give back to the community and enrich the places in which we live, work, play and come together in unity.”But, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gala event that had been planned was unable to take place. Instead, individual events, such as the one that took place at Bronx Park on Nov. 28, have been organized by those who nominated or are close to the recipients. Fabbri, whose volunteer work over the years also includes work with the Winnipeg Foundation and S.P.I.K.E. Inc., was nominated by his sister, Gayle Boychuk.“The reason this is such a great province, a part of it, is because we’re very fortunate that we have good, caring, sharing people,” Fabbri said. “Part of that is such a strong commitment to volunteerism in this province.”A longtime Bronx Park resident, Fabbri first got involved with the nearby community centre when his son started playing mini-soccer and under-six hockey. His daughter also played community centre sports as a youth.“When you’re involved like that, you realize if there’s not volunteerism, these programs aren’t going to last,” Fabbri said.From volunteer soccer coach to hockey convener to vice-president of the club, Fabbri has acted as director of buildings and grounds at Bronx Park since 1992, a time that has seen many changes to the facility, not least of which was the creation of Clara Hughes Recreation Park at 281 Henderson Hwy., which was created to fill the void left when Kelvin Community Centre in Elmwood closed. As part of its agreement with the City of Winnipeg following Bronx Park’s major renovation in 2009, the club was tasked with maintaining the Clara Hughes site.And while it’s a lot of work, Fabbri has been happy to keep doing it.“I’ve always said with Bronx Park, if there’s others who want to come in and do this stuff, I’ll certainly take a step back, and help train and assist,” he said. “But at this point, I have support of family and good health that I can do it. That motivates me.”

Volunteering is often a selfless act. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t nice to be recognized.

On Nov. 28, family, friends, and neighbours surprised Robert Fabbri, a longtime Bronx Park Community Centre volunteer, with a celebration in light of his receiving an Honour 150 medal from the province. 

“It was quite the event,” said Fabbri, whose wife Donna organized the surprise celebration. “I was absolutely stunned.”

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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021

Supplied photo
Robert Fabbri (right) was presented with his Honour 150 medal by old friend and fellow volunteer Olga Boychuk at a ceremony in Bronx Park Community Centre’s Robert R. Fabbri Gymnasium on Nov. 28.

News in brief

7 minute read Preview

News in brief

7 minute read Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Caution urged near waterWith temperatures dropping, residents are reminded to use extreme caution around all waterways, including drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds, and rivers and to keep dogs and other pets at a safe distance, as well.“We are starting to see thin layers of ice forming on the river and ponds,” said assistant chief Mark Reshaur, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.“Staying away from the riverbanks, and off of any thin ice, is the only way to prevent the dire consequences of falling through,” added patrol sergeant Jason English, River Patrol Supervisor for the Winnipeg Police Service. “The WPS considers all frozen bodies of water within the city of Winnipeg to be unsafe for recreational use with the exception of areas that are monitored in accordance with the City’s Frozen Waterways By-Law, such as the Forks Centennial River Trail.”According to a City of Winnipeg release, the WFPS responds to approximately 200 water and ice safety calls for service. The public is reminded that while “Danger - Thin Ice” signage is posted at specific locations including outfalls, retention ponds and other potentially dangerous areas, all ice should be considered unsafe even if warning signage is not present.Meanwhile, the province also issued a warning regarding thin ice on Manitoba’s lakes and rivers.The Hydrologic Forecast Centre of Manitoba Infrastructure cautioned recreational users of waterways, such as snowmobilers, skiers, icefishers not to head out on the hard water just yet, as ice conditions in southern and central Manitoba are likely dangerous until at least mid-December.“Thin ice is often covered by snow, which produces weak spots due to its insulating effect,” the news release noted. “(And) areas of fast-flowing water tend to have thinner ice at this time of the year, which may not be visible.”City seeking input on enhanced summer bike routesThe City of Winnipeg is seeking feedback on the Enhanced Summer Bike Route Program via an online survey.The program was first piloted in 2020 as a response to COVID-19. In 2021, the City of Winnipeg created 17 routes dedicated to active transportation on shared roadways throughout Winnipeg, limiting motor vehicle traffic to one block, either daily or on Sundays and holidays only (depending on route), between May and November.City planners are now seeking info on the routes, so as to decide whether “to continue any or all of the routes in some capacity beyond 2021 or until full studies can be conducted in each route’s respective area.”For more information, visit winnipeg.ca/summerbikesKeeping cool for a causeA group of outdoor enthusiasts want to make Winnipeg the snowman capital of the world. The Last Snowman Contest is back with a slate of cash prizes to be won. Former Winnipegger Maria den Oudsten founded the contest in 2003 to raise awareness about climate change.“The snowman is an icon and warning that if we do not do something about global warming, we may not see another snowman,” den Oudsten said, in a Nov. 24 press release. Last year, den Oudsten awarded $5,000 to the best creations and plans to do the same this time. The first place builder earns $2,000, second place brings in $500, and the next top ten designs win $200. The snowmen are judged on height, sturdiness, decoration, presence, charm and likes on social media. For each post, $1 will be donated to an environmental charity. Photos can be posted to the Facebook page @lastsnowmanwinnipeg or on Twitter @SnowmanLast. Entries may also be submitted by email to lastsnowmanwinnipeg@gmail.comFor more information, contact local ambassador Sandra Hasenack at 204-797-6022. 

Caution urged near water

With temperatures dropping, residents are reminded to use extreme caution around all waterways, including drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds, and rivers and to keep dogs and other pets at a safe distance, as well.

“We are starting to see thin layers of ice forming on the river and ponds,” said assistant chief Mark Reshaur, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

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Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press
With temperatures dropping, first responders are urging all residents to be cautious near waterways. (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and the Winnipeg Police Service urge caution due to thin ice conditions in drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds, and rivers. The public is reminded that while the WPS River Patrol Unit places “Danger - Thin Ice” signage at specific locations potentially dangerous areas like here along the Red River near The Forks, all ice should be considered unsafe even if warning signage is not present. The WFPS responds to an average of 200 water and ice safety calls each year. see release. Nov. 21 2017

Murdoch squad working hard to win it all

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

Murdoch squad working hard to win it all

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

There is some unfinished business for Murdoch MacKay’s women’s hockey team to take care of this season.In 2019, the girls from Murdoch took home the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League Hire Marketing Division championship following the program’s first season. In March 2020, the team was looking to repeat after going 19-1-2 in the regular season. A showdown against neighbouring Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau was slated for the division final, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut sports down across Canada.“There’s some pressure to go back into finals, because we didn’t get to do that,” said team captain Rebecca Heintz, a Grade 12 player who was with the team in 2020 as a Grade 10 blueliner. “We really want to be in the finals again, so we can redeem ourselves from the year we didn’t get,” added Grade 12 assistant captain and forward Sarah Edwards, who was also with the championship team in Grade 9. Brienna Street, team manager, said that while the team hopes to go the distance, there’s a lot of hockey left to play in the meantime.“We’d be grateful to be in that spot again, but there are challenges, so I don’t think anyone is assuming we’ll be there,” Street said. Murdoch MacKay is off to a solid start, though, with a 6-3-0 record ahead of a Nov. 29 game vs. Glenlawn (result not available at press time). The team also held first place, and a division best 28 goals for, while surrendering only 16.“We have a lot of speed, we’re good at skating, we can all pass well, but we need to communicate more,” Edwards admitted.With the WWHSHL cancelling the 2020-21 season, it has been a challenge getting everyone up to speed.“Last year, we could have had a good team again,” Edwards, who had a goal and an assist in eight games played, said. “It was really weird to not play. This is a lot of fun this year. We’re trying to make the best of it, but it’s definitely different.”“We’re just trying to work on playing as a team better,” Heintz said. “We have so few players, we don’t have set lines yet. So we’re trying to work on getting used to each other, those kind of. As time goes on, it will be easier.”Because this year’s roster features an abundance of natural defenders, Heintz, who typically plays defence, has been taking shifts at centre when needed.“It’s been a big switch,” said Heintz, who had notched two goals and an assist at press time. “But there are some similarities, especially in our own zone. You get a different perspective. It makes it a lot difference (playing defence) now that I know what forwards are having to do.”While the younger squad has taken some time to find their feet, Street said it will pay dividends for the program in the long run.“Last year was challenging, trying to rebuild that. But I think we did well with that this year,” she said. “It’s a different feel and mix, but also great for team succession as well.”

There is some unfinished business for Murdoch MacKay’s women’s hockey team to take care of this season.

In 2019, the girls from Murdoch took home the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League Hire Marketing Division championship following the program’s first season. In March 2020, the team was looking to repeat after going 19-1-2 in the regular season. A showdown against neighbouring Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau was slated for the division final, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut sports down across Canada.

“There’s some pressure to go back into finals, because we didn’t get to do that,” said team captain Rebecca Heintz, a Grade 12 player who was with the team in 2020 as a Grade 10 blueliner. 

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Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Supplied photo
The 2021-22 Murdoch MacKay women’s hockey team is competing in the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League’s Hire Marketing Division this year. Pictured, back row from left: Assistant coach Trent Heintz, assistant coach Laurissa Kostiw, Alyssa Jefkins, Kaleigh Fontaine, Torian Cobbett, Caitlyn Sawatzky, Kaitlyn Davy, Kylie Loder, assistant coach Jessica Emms, manager Brienna Street, head coach Stuart Emms. Front row, from left: Alexandra Tracy, Eve Kubesh, Sarah Edwards, Rebecca Heintz, Sara Taylor, Brooklyn Ferjan, Hailey Davy, Emily Emms. Missing: Addison Naruse, assistant coach Samantha Robert.

Residents raise safety concerns at public hearing

Sheldon Birnie 8 minute read Preview

Residents raise safety concerns at public hearing

Sheldon Birnie 8 minute read Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee dealt with number of proposed developments in northeast Winnipeg during a marathon meeting and public hearing that lasted nearly eight hours on Nov. 22.The committee heard from a number of area residents opposed to a proposed 72-unit multifamily dwelling during a rezoning, subdivision, and variance hearing for the properties at 307 and 311 Grassie Blvd.“Do we really need another 72-unit development here?” asked longtime resident and area business owner Amerjit Dhillon, citing a number of multifamily developments in the area.Initially, the developers had proposed a 120-unit, six-storey development on the site. However, following open houses, the developers reduced the density from a multifamily large to multi-family medium. Former Transcona city councillor Russ Wyatt, who was speaking on behalf of the owners, presented findings of an independent traffic study that found the development would have a negligible impact on traffic volumes.“Our development is not going to have a big impact (on traffic),” Wyatt said. However, chief among the concerns raised during the hearing by residents were safety concerns, particularly regarding traffic along Grassie Boulevard. Increased density, privacy issues, and a negative impact on the community were also raised.“Could this not be accomplished in a more thoughtful manner that respects the existing community?” Elaine Murdoch said in opposition. “This is a big change, no doubt about it,” city planner Glen Doney said, noting there were similar multifamily housing to the west at Grassie and Molson as well as duplexes on Grassie to the east. “(But) we consider it to be workable.”“There is a need to accommodate more residents, with a healthy mix of densification,” Wyatt noted. “There is room to allow for that transformation here, and I think that is a healthy thing.”If the residential development were not approved, Wyatt suggested, the owner of the property would likely look at building a 24-hour commercial enterprise, such as a gas bar or fast food restaurant, at the location instead.“If we can’t build something like this here, where can we build it?” Wyatt said. “It all has the essence of a good infill project.”In the end, public presentations on the matter were adjourned, with a final decision on the matter to be made at a special meeting of the committee on Fri., Dec. 17.A subdivision, rezoning, and variance application was also heard for a property south of Ravelston Avenue West, at 1396 Plessis Rd., which is owned by Abundant Life Baptist Church. The proposal would subdivide the land into two lots, one of which would remain home to Abundant Life Baptist Church, while the westerly portion would be rezoned for a multifamily development of medium density featuring 76 units with 117 parking spaces.The application, which had only one submission in opposition to the project, was approved by the committee.“This is a well developed area,” Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) noted.The committee also approved an application to close a section of the Ravelston Avenue West adjacent to 1555 Lagimodiere Blvd.“Our intention is to fold this land into our current property, fence it very similar to how it is currently fenced, with some trees along the back of it,” Brian Lowes said in support of the application. “Long term, this is a good thing for our business and the area.”A combined subdivision, rezoning, and variance application for a number of properties along Bonner Avenue south of Cindy Klassen Way was approved.The proposal would create 21 R1M properties for development of single-family homes, while rezoning seven existing properties with homes on them as R1L . According to city planner Glen Doney, the new lots would be “very similar” to other lots on Cindy Klassen way. Earlier, during the committee’s regular meeting, $1,200 in per capita grants were approved for the Valley Gardens Community Centre’s family skate, $400 each from Transcona, North Kildonan, and Elmwood-East Kildonan wards. Additionally, a per capita grant of $1,000 from the Elmwood-East Kildonan ward was approved for meals for seniors, organized by the Kiwanis Home Senior’s Social Committee over the holidays, while grants of - $239.33 each was also approved towards operating costs for the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation and the Elmwood Community Resource Centre.

The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee dealt with number of proposed developments in northeast Winnipeg during a marathon meeting and public hearing that lasted nearly eight hours on Nov. 22.

The committee heard from a number of area residents opposed to a proposed 72-unit multifamily dwelling during a rezoning, subdivision, and variance hearing for the properties at 307 and 311 Grassie Blvd.

“Do we really need another 72-unit development here?” asked longtime resident and area business owner Amerjit Dhillon, citing a number of multifamily developments in the area.

Read
Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Supplied photo
A public hearing was held for a subdivision, rezoning, and variance application for a proposed 72-unit multifamily development at 307 and 311 Grassie Blvd. on Nov. 22. While the public hearing on the matter was concluded, a final decision has been delayed until a special meeting on Dec. 17.

Happy Valleys open for business

Sheldon Birnie 5 minute read Preview

Happy Valleys open for business

Sheldon Birnie 5 minute read Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Heads up, North Kildonan. There’s a new pot shop in town.On Nov. 22, Happy Valleys Cannabis quietly opened the doors at 2-1115 Gateway Rd. “This is Happy Valleys’ first store, with plans to open more around the city and outside the city,” said marketing manager Ian Gibb. “This is the flagship store, and we’re going to open up others.”“There is a ‘Happy Valley’ chain in the States,” added general manager Lindsey Pfiefer. “But no, we’re local.”Owners Dave and George Asprey and Mike Kalic are hoping to position Happy Valleys Cannabis as a ‘made in Manitoba’ option for recreational cannabis with friendly, knowledgeable staff.“A lot of people come into cannabis stores with no idea what they’re looking at,” Pfiefer said. “It can be overwhelming.”Currently, Happy Valleys has a staff of 14. “Our staff is exceptionally knowledgeable on the retail side, as well as the production, growing and cultivation side,” Gibb said.“There’s a nice balance of knowledge,” Pfiefer added. “And for us, customer service is key. I had a hair salon for 25 years. Transitioning from that kind of customer service is beneficial, because we’re all focused on how we can help people. If they don’t need help, cool, go ahead and browse.”While Happy Valleys’ selection of indica, sativa, and hybrid products is comparable to other cannabis retailers, Pfiefer said where they hope to distinguish themselves is their selection of CBD, or cannabidiol, products.“We have the widest selection of CBD in the city,” Gibb said. “I’m claiming that now!”“Most retailers I’ve gone into will have a couple, but a lot of people are seeking it out for health and wellness,” Pfiefer said. “My mom, my aunties, women who have not used cannabis their entire lives have heard of the benefits of CBD, things that will give you those relaxation benefits without the high.”Happy Valleys Cannabis is also hoping its long hours of operation will provide customers with ample opportunity to stop by. “We’re up early, we’re open late,” Gibb said.Currently, the store is open 8 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.“Our sellable hours are longer than most retailers,” Pfiefer noted. “We’ll keep these hours at least until Christmas, and see how it goes.”For more information, visit happyalleys.ca

Heads up, North Kildonan. There’s a new pot shop in town.

On Nov. 22, Happy Valleys Cannabis quietly opened the doors at 2-1115 Gateway Rd. 

“This is Happy Valleys’ first store, with plans to open more around the city and outside the city,” said marketing manager Ian Gibb. “This is the flagship store, and we’re going to open up others.”

Read
Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Sheldon Birnie
General manager Lindsey Pfiefer (left) and marketing manager Ian Gibb hope to make Happy Valleys Cannabis among the top 20 of local cannabis retailers. The flagship shop opened on Nov. 22 at 2-1115 Gateway Rd. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Looking back, in verse

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

Looking back, in verse

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021

You never know where inspiration will strike.That’s something that North Kildonan-based writer and producer Laurie Fischer has come to learn.“There’s so much to write about, the inspiration comes from all over,” said Fischer, whose book of poetry Musings on a Life Well Lived is now available. “It’s all around us. It comes at the strangest of times.”Musings is the second collection of poetry from Fischer to be released via Friesen Press in as many years. When the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Fischer, who has long been active as a producer of the North Kildonan Community Players drama group, took to writing poetry to cope with the isolation brought on by public health measures. In 2020, he published the collection Poetry of the Pandemic.“My poetry is still aimed to help motivate and uplift the spirits of people, to look with hope to the future,” Fischer said.Fischer added that the reaction to his first collection encouraged him to keep writing. Musings is the second book in a planned trilogy of poetry collections, organized thematically on the past, the present, and the future.“Poetry of the Pandemic was the present, we were living it,” Fischer explained. “Musings on a Life Well Lived is me writing about the past. I’m in the process of continuing to write, and hopefully in a year or two I’ll have the final volume.”Without being able to put on the big stage shows he was used to producing, directing, and often acting in with the North Kildonan Community Players, Fischer threw himself into writing with gusto.“It keeps me sane,” he said. “I write a lot about the world around us.”While his first collection focused a lot on how people were dealing with the pandemic in its early days, Musings also finds Fischer looking back on his life and many historic and cultural events that came to define his generation. “It’s about reliving the past, and not just my past, but everyone’s past,” he said.He also writes about his twin passions of music and sports, as well as his two dogs.“I love writing about my two puppies,” he said. “I’ve had lots of fun with that.”An avid cyclist ever since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, Fischer said the seeds of many of his poems are planted on his rides, then fleshed out in the early hours of the morning when he writes.“It became easy to write, because here we are moving into the future, and people are much more positive than they were just under two years ago,” Fischer said.As with Poetry of the Pandemic, Fischer also plans to donate some proceeds from sales to the Never Alone Cancer Foundation. Those looking to purchase a copy of Musings on a Life Well Lived, which retails for $25, can contact Fischer at 204-890-8999.

You never know where inspiration will strike.

That’s something that North Kildonan-based writer and producer Laurie Fischer has come to learn.

“There’s so much to write about, the inspiration comes from all over,” said Fischer, whose book of poetry Musings on a Life Well Lived is now available. “It’s all around us. It comes at the strangest of times.”

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Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021

Supplied photo
North Kildonan’s Laurie Fischer recently celebrated the release of his second book of poetry, Musings on a Life Well Lived.

Residential school survivor pleas for postcards

Kelsey James 3 minute read Preview

Residential school survivor pleas for postcards

Kelsey James 3 minute read Monday, Nov. 22, 2021

Vivian Ketchum grasps messages of love in a hand that was damaged with hate.

Ketchum, a second-generation residential school survivor, had her hand smashed with a shoe by a teacher after she failed to attend a dentist appointment, causing her finger to break and become permanently misshapen.

“I shut down to protect myself. I didn’t feel anything,” Ketchum, who attended Cecilia Jeffrey residential school in Kenora, Ont., said.

Shortly after Canada observed the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Ketchum went on the radio to put out a call for postcards in the hope of continuing the conversation.

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Monday, Nov. 22, 2021

Photo by Kelsey James
Vivian Ketchum has received approximately 40 postcards since issuing her request in mid-October.

Celebration fit for the season

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Preview

Celebration fit for the season

Sheldon Birnie 6 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Christmastime has come again and a local musician has created some seasonal content for music lovers to enjoy this Advent.Dorothy Penner, who performs as Sister Dorothy, has recorded four classical guitar arrangements of traditional Christmas songs. Beginning on Sun., Nov. 28, Penner will release one each on the four Sundays of Advent. “When I started my solo career in 1995, my first album was a Christmas album, which I optimistically titled Volume 1, and I’m titling this one Volume 2: Advent,” said Penner.While Volume 2 in the Christmas album run has been a long time coming, the project is just the latest in a long string of creative endeavours Penner has released over the years. A member of the all-female rock band Welfare $tarlets in the ’90s, Penner has been performing as Sister Dorothy since 1995, releasing 10 CDs and over 30 music videos. “I wanted to go with traditional ones, familiar ones,” Penner said. “I thought I have done a lot in the past, I’ve done so many already over the years, that I wanted it to be different.”First up is Silent Night, which also appeared on the Sister Dorothy Christmas Volume 1 CD, albeit with a much different arrangement.Next up is Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming, a song that dates back to the 16th century, with Penner’s arrangements based on Michael Praetorius’s harmony from 1609.“I just love the music for that one,” Penner said. “It’s always been a favourite of mine.”God Rest Ye Merry Gentlefolk provides a bit of a sonic change for the third selection.“I like it quick, in a minor key, it moves along nicely and provides a nice contrast,” Penner said.Good King Wenceslas rounds out Volume 2: Advent. All the videos will be posted to YouTube and Sister Dorothy’s website and can be viewed for free.To kick Advent off, Sister Dorothy will be performing at Assiniboine Zoo for Zoo Lights on Sun., Nov. 28.But the holiday spirit doesn’t stop there. Penner has been working with a recorder group out of the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre (720 Henderson Hwy.), preparing for a Christmas concert the morning of Fri., Dec. 17. Among other holiday classics, the group will perform a new arrangement of George Michael’s Last Christmas.“I just love it because I’m doing arrangements for nine recorders; soprano, alto, tenor,” Penner said. “We’re also including a lot of body percussion.”Penner will also be returning to Sagkeen First Nation to help high school students prepare their virtual holiday concert.“I’m really excited to be back, because it’s been a couple of years since I’m able to go back out there,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I loved working with those folks up there. It’s just a pleasure.”For more information, visit www.sisterdorothy.com

Christmastime has come again and a local musician has created some seasonal content for music lovers to enjoy this Advent.

Dorothy Penner, who performs as Sister Dorothy, has recorded four classical guitar arrangements of traditional Christmas songs. Beginning on Sun., Nov. 28, Penner will release one each on the four Sundays of Advent. 

“When I started my solo career in 1995, my first album was a Christmas album, which I optimistically titled Volume 1, and I’m titling this one Volume 2: Advent,” said Penner.

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Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

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Dorothy Penner, a.k.a. Sister Dorothy, will release a series of classical guitar arrangements of traditional Christmas songs on each Sunday of Advent this year.

Remembering Transcona’s fallen soldiers

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Preview

Remembering Transcona’s fallen soldiers

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

 

A new memorial to fallen soldiers was unveiled recently in Transcona Cemetery.Two new plaques stand sentinel in the cemetery’s Field of Honour, which list the 123 soldiers from Transcona who died in the First and Second World Wars. Those soldiers are buried in cemeteries across Europe, except for nine whose bodies were never identified. The project was spearheaded by Peter Martin and Lawrence Toet, both of whom were committed to honouring those fallen soldiers in such a manner that the community could engage and learn about those who made the ultimate sacrifice.“It’s history,” Toet, former MP for Elmwood-Transcona, told The Herald. “We can’t forget. Playing a small part in keeping that alive is awesome. It’s a heartwarming feeling that’s hard to explain. But it feels good.”“If you’re passionate about an idea, you have to do it yourself,” Martin added. “We were passionate about this project, and we didn’t want to wait for the government or whoever to do it. It needed to be done.”In July 2019, Martin represented Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Legions on a Pilgrimage of Remembrance through the battlefields and cemeteries where Canadian soldiers are buried in Europe. After visiting the headstone of Transcona’s Roger Firman, who was executed as a prisoner of war after he was captured on D-Day, Martin got to thinking. “It really hit me that I was able to honour this fallen soldier by standing in front of his gravestone,” he said. “I wondered if any of his family were ever able to do that?”While Transcona’s cenotaph includes the names of the fallen, there was no memorial for them at the cemetery’s Field of Honour. Upon his return, Martin got in touch with Toet, to discuss ways they could honour those from the community who never made it home from war. For Toet, the project is also a personal one.“When Peter approached me about this project, it was absolutely important to me,” Toet said. “It’s my family’s history. My parents and their whole families were liberated by Canadian forces that liberated the Netherlands. Would I be here today if it wasn’t for the efforts of Canadian soldiers?”The pair worked closely with the Winnipeg Cemetery management’s Brett Shenback and Janzen O’Donnell to come up with an appropriate memorial. “(They) mentioned that they would like to construct a small bridge over the ditch, connecting the current Field of Honour with the expansion area,” Martin said. “We thought that perhaps honouring our fallen soldiers near that bridge would be a good place.”The final result comes from real community buy-in, Martin and Toet agreed. “Peter and I may have spearheaded it, but there were a pile of people who jumped on board,” Toet said. “We needed a few dollars, and community members stepped up. This is a community project.”Transcona Legion President Dave Roy applied for and was approved for a grant from Princess Auto, who built and paid for the Bridge of Remembrance for Transcona’s Fallen Soldiers. Brett Enns of Transcona built the railing. Transcona Museum and Transcona BIZ donated the stands that the plaques stand on, while Phase 2 Autobody worked with WISH cleaned up the bases and powdered coated them. Q-Power Communications designed the plaques, while Ambassador Laser in Winkler provided the finished product. Now that the memorial is up, Toet and Martin hope it will be a place for community reflection for years to come.“We just want people to get out here and read,” Martin said. “We want the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the ancestors of these people, to come and see them honoured.” 

A new memorial to fallen soldiers was unveiled recently in Transcona Cemetery.

Two new plaques stand sentinel in the cemetery’s Field of Honour, which list the 123 soldiers from Transcona who died in the First and Second World Wars. Those soldiers are buried in cemeteries across Europe, except for nine whose bodies were never identified. 

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Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Lawrence Toet and Peter Martin have spearheaded a project to install plaques honouring the 123 soldiers from Transcona who died and were buried in Europe during the First and Second World Wars. The plaques are now standing in Transcona Cemetery's Field of Honour. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Buckeyes hoping to make a splash in top division

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Preview

Buckeyes hoping to make a splash in top division

Sheldon Birnie 7 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

The Miles Macdonell Buckeyes boys hockey team is off to a hot start this season.The club had 14 points in its first 10 games of the season at press time, good for fourth place in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League’s top Platinum Promotions Division. But with four regulation wins, a shootout win, and five losses, the Bucks aren’t taking anything for granted.“In all the years of the programs, this is probably one of the best teams on paper we’ve had,” said Gordon Fritzsche, the team’s longtime head coach who is now acting as assistant coach and manager. “But we can’t be happy with where we’re at. If we’re not getting better, other teams will pass us.”After missing last season owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone around the team was happy to get back on the ice.“The boys were so excited to be back,” said Fritzsche, who took a step back this season so that Joel Schreyer could take over head coaching duties for the Buckeyes. “There was that collective excitement around the rink and the school around the hockey season,” said Schreyer, who had helped coach the Buckeyes as a student teacher three years ago. “In tryouts we had over 45 kids come out.”After notching only one win in its first four games of the season, Miles Mac racked up four straight Ws starting with a 2-1 victory over Steinbach on Oct. 27, followed by 4-3 and 3-2 results vs. Lord Selkirk on Nov. 1 and 5, and a 5-1 result versus Steinbach again on Nov. 10. The Bucks dropped the next pair of games, and were looking to get back in the win column on Nov. 19 versus Westwood.“Initially, we were looking to find our confidence in the top tier,” Schreyer said. “But after we were able to get a couple wins, the guys were starting to buy in to the systems a bit more.”This year’s Buckeyes team is a speedy one.“When we play with speed, we’re tough to beat,” Fritzsche said. “We put a lot of pressure on other teams. Even our defence is very fast. If we fly around, we’re successful.”Forward Kyle Chapko’s team leading eight goals and five assists had him in the top five for points in the division, and in second in scoring at press time.But even the highest flying teams need help on the back end. To date, the Buckeyes have enjoyed solid play from the netminding tandem of Reece Overby and Lee Malchuk. At press time, Overby, a Grade 12 tender who has been with the team since his Grade 9 year, had gone 2-4 in six starts, with 20 goals against for a 3.73 average. Meanwhile, Malchuk had a 3-1 record with 11 goals against and a 2.40 average.“For any team with success, goaltending is key,” Fritzsche noted.Following matches on Nov 19 and 23 (results were not available at press time), the Buckeyes will be at the halfway mark of the 2021-22 season. For the Bucks to go the distance, the boys will need to keep the pedal to the metal.“We’re still trying to stress defensive play and solid play away from the puck, and letting the skill take over after that,” Schreyer said. “We’ve been more of a third period or second half team, so we’re looking to get that complete 50 minutes out of our guys is the main goal.” “There are no easy games,” Fritzsche said. “We’ll go through a slide here and there and how we respond to some losses will be important. Everybody’s right there in this division.”For complete results and schedule, visit www.whshl.com

The Miles Macdonell Buckeyes boys hockey team is off to a hot start this season.

The club had 14 points in its first 10 games of the season at press time, good for fourth place in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League’s top Platinum Promotions Division. But with four regulation wins, a shootout win, and five losses, the Bucks aren’t taking anything for granted.

“In all the years of the programs, this is probably one of the best teams on paper we’ve had,” said Gordon Fritzsche, the team’s longtime head coach who is now acting as assistant coach and manager. “But we can’t be happy with where we’re at. If we’re not getting better, other teams will pass us.”

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Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

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(From left) Grade 12 defencemen Jayden Belza and Dylan Goldsworthy celebrate a recent win for the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes boys hockey team, who are competing this year in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League’s top Platinum Promotions Division.

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