Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/1/2018 (599 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With a new year upon us, it’s time again to look back on the year that was.
In 2017, southwest Winnipeg marked a number of milestones, with new developments popping up in neighbourhoods, local hockey and football teams making history, and community members rallying together to advocate for change.
Here is a look back on some of the stories that made headlines in our pages this year.
January: A fresh start for community
École South Pointe School, new dual track kindergarten to Grade 8 facility in Waverley West, officially opened on Jan. 9.
The $30-million, 96,648-square-foot facility was scheduled to be complete at the end of January. The school had spots for approximately 800 students from the South Pointe, Richmond West and Waverley Heights area.
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Winnipeggers turned out by the hundreds to ask questions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall.
Introduced by Winnipeg South Centre MP Jim Carr, Trudeau held his 10th community town hall at the University of Winnipeg’s Duckworth Centre on Jan. 26.
Protestors challenged the prime minister, unfurling banners and shouting at Trudeau, saying "Keep it in the ground," and "Real climate leaders don’t build pipelines."
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On Jan. 30, hundreds of people gathered at the Manitoba Legislature for a vigil and the Winnipeg Grand Mosque (2445 Waverley St.) for a special prayer to mourn six people who died and 19 more injured when a shooter opened fire at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.
Sheikh Ismael Mukhtar told the hundreds assembled at the Winnipeg Grand Mosque to feel heartened by the thousands of people across Canada who were standing together with the Muslim community.
"This attack was not an attack on a mosque, it was not an attack on Muslims, it was an attack on every single Canadian. This was an attack on our core values," Mukhtar said. "The core values that make us a special nation, the core values that make us the envy of all nations in the world, the core values of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, understanding."
February: Local leaders recognized
Vincent Massey Collegiate principal Tony Carvey, 55, was named one of Canada’s 40 Outstanding Principals of 2017 by The Learning Partnership.
Carvey had been working in education for over 30 years and began his career in a school in California, eventually making his way to the Pembina Trails School Division where he remained for 16 years.
"I was very humbled and honoured," Carvey said. "I said to my staff this afternoon... that it really is not an award for me as a principal — it’s a team award, starting with all the teammates that I’ve had as vice-principal, and the mentors I’ve learned from as principals when I was a vice-principal."
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Sila Rogan, a former Grade 12 student at Kelvin High School, was selected as one of 2017’s 33 Loran Scholars. The prestigious scholarship is worth $100,000 over four years and includes summer study and travel opportunities and access to one-on-one mentorship programs.
Rogan, 17, was selected from a pool of 4,438 applicants based on evidence of character, commitment to serving their communities and long-term leadership potential, according to a release.
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Hundreds of students, staff, faculty, and dignitaries at the University of Manitoba celebrated the institution’s 140th birthday on Feb. 28 on the Fort Garry campus.
On the steps of the historic administration building, U of M president David Barnard kicked off a party that would have stunned the first university students in 1877.
Students joined an inflatable, life-size game of foosball in the Innovation Plaza and skated on a temporary ice rink in the quad. Meanwhile hot dogs, bannock, and cotton candy were handed out by the handful to hundreds of students waiting patiently in line for a free meal.
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Augustine United Church and 1JustCity began offering people experiencing homelessness another choice when it comes to escaping the cold of winter.
The two organizations partnered to create the Just A Warm Sleep initiative, which saw the Osborne Village church open its doors on nights when it is colder than -10C to people who have nowhere else to go.
"I saw the question, why aren’t churches opening their doors when it’s empty, and I’ve dealt with this question before," minister Bob Gilbert said. "It’s a question that’s always bothered me. Sometimes people do sneak in and we find them sleeping in the building."
March:Big successes at home
The community rallied around Samer Habib in March as the 23-year-old made a desperate asylum claim to stay in the country.
Habib, a gay Egyptian national had been living and working in Winnipeg for five years. The aspiring entrepreneur and University of Winnipeg graduate made a successful, though risky asylum claim, after learning his Canadian immigration papers would not be processed before his Egyptian passport expired. A GoFundMe campaign, supported by the community, reached its $3,000 goal to help Habib file the claim.
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The championship drought of the Vincent Massey Collegiate women’s hockey team came to an end in 2017. After 21 years in the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League, Vincent Massey won its first division title on March 14.
The 19-player team won the CTV A Division championship series against the Shaftesbury High School Titans.
The Trojans took the first of the three-game series 2-1 in overtime, then fell to the Titans in game two by a score of 2-1, but recovered to finish off the season with a 3-0 win in the deciding matchup.
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The momentum generated in 2017 by the St. Paul’s Crusaders hockey team couldn’t be contained as the team soared to a provincial championship title on March 13.
The Crusaders reaffirmed their position as the top high school team in Manitoba, beating the Vincent Massey Collegiate Trojans 8-4 in the final of the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association AAAA provincial tournament in Portage la Prairie.
The provincial championship win came just weeks after the Crusaders beat the Dakota Collegiate Lancers in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League championship in overtime.
April: Rallying together
Students at Kelvin High School exercised their right to protest at the legislature on April 5, calling on the provincial government to restore funding for a new gym facility.
Under the former provincial government, about $6.7 million had been promised to the school for the construction of a new active living facility. The community had raised over $1 million to support the project that would allow all students to access a gym facility during school hours.
The provincial government cancelled the funding for the gym expansion on March 3.
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The cracking of egg shells, heaping plates, and prayer marked the new year for Winnipeg’s growing Yazidi community.
The religious-ethnic minority celebrated the year 6767 on April 19 at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg with a large community dinner and display of traditional cultural practices.
Nafiya Naso said the annual event, known as Sere Sal, commemorates the day when the Yazidi deity Tawsi Melek first came to Earth, to offer blessings, restore calm, and spread colour throughout the world.
It was also the first opportunity in years for over 30 newcomer Yazidis refugees sponsored by Operation Ezra to celebrate the important holiday in relative safety.
May: Shoppers welcome outlet mall
Outlet Collection Winnipeg (555 Sterling Lyon Parkway) welcomed its first customers on May 3. The $200-million enclosed mall boasted up to 100 stores offering strictly factory outlet items and was anchored by new market arrivals Saks OFF 5th, F21 Red, Designer Shoe Warehouse, and the Nike Factory Store.
"The fact that it’s all together under one roof, the fact that it’s climate controlled is very unique, particularly to the outlet development game," John Scott, vice-president of development with Ivanhoé Cambridge, said.
"Certainly the offering will be here and we fully expect that people will be very happy to stay local as opposed to travelling six and a half hours south."
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Diversity, reconciliation, and sustainability were the focus of Pembina Trails School Division’s Canada 150 celebration on May 24.
More than 15,000 students assembled at Investors Group Field to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation and reflect on Canada’s heritage.
Ted Fransen, superintendent of Pembina Trails, said students embraced the year-long project which put an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, environment and sustainable development, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
June: Canada 150 kicks off
Elijah Dietrich, a Grade 12 student at Kelvin High School, and Loizza Aquino, a Vincent Massey Collegiate student, each received the $70,000 2017 TD Scholarship for Community Leadership, awarded to graduating students who demonstrate outstanding leadership in driving social change in their communities, according to a release.
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Over the past seven years, the parent advisory council at École St. Norbert Immersion (900 Avenue Ste. Therese) had been working to bring the natural riparian habitat of the La Salle River into the school’s backyard.
On June 19, the school celebrated the completion of a $280,000 playground rehabilitation and outdoor classroom project.
"(The kids) use the entire space and they all use it in their own unique way," Samantha Braun said. "There are places for kids to sit quietly and look at the frogs, there are places for kids to join together and move things around… there’s a place for all of the different styles of playing and learning."
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Councillor Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) was acclaimed 89th president of FCM on June 4 at the organization’s annual conference and trade show in Ottawa, Ont. The federation represents 2,000 member municipalities across Canada, covering 90 per cent of the country’s population.
"FCM is basically the voice of the local level of government in Canada," Gerbasi said. "The advocacy focuses on the federal government mostly, but we have provincial representation through the association."
July: Transit station opens; young bear dies; protest at Parker lands
A brand-new transit station expected to be a driving force in reducing traffic headaches for football fans and other stadium-goers opened on July 4.
Stakeholders celebrated the grand opening of Stadium Station at Investors Group Field and marked the launch of Bohémier Trail, a new road that connects to Pembina Highway and provides Winnipeg Transit buses with exclusive access to Stadium Station, at a press event.
The new additions were the first completed parts of the Southwest Rapid Transitway’s second stage, which extends Stage 1 to the University of Manitoba.
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Assiniboine Park Zoo announced the death of Eli, a nearly two-year-old polar bear that arrived at the zoo in October 2015 as an orphan, on July 16. Eli died on July 15 after being put under anesthesia for examination when zookeepers noticed the bear was behaving strangely.
Dr. Chris Enright, head of veterinary services at APZ, said zookeepers first noticed something was wrong with the young bear on July 14 and contacted the zoo’s veterinarians.
"On Thursday of last week Eli was quite normal for interactions with the keepers, and our keepers really do have a good relationship with the animal and have that good feel for when something is abnormal," Enright told The Sou’wester on July 18.
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An application for an urgent injunction to remove demonstrators blocking development on the Parker lands in Fort Garry was denied on July 26.
Court of Queen’s Bench justice Herbert Rempel decided against a request to fast track an injunction and damage claims against members of the Rooster Town Blockade and Parker Wetlands Conservation Committee brought forward by two numbered companies. Since July 14, about a dozen people occupied land behind the Winnipeg Humane Society, off of Parker Avenue, blocking machinery that had been used to clear cut about 15 acres of forest.
August: Canada Summer Games
One Winnipeg stargazer’s contributions to the field of amateur astronomy was immortalized in outer space.
A 3.4-kilometre wide asteroid was named after longtime amateur astronomer and treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Winnipeg Centre, Stanley Runge.
Runge, 60, had been a member with the national society and the Winnipeg Centre for about 35 years, serving on the local board in all positions except librarian.
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At the Canada Summer Games, with events being held across Fort Garry, Whyte Ridge’s Victoria Tachinski secured the province’s first gold medal in the 400-metre race on Aug. 3 at the University of Manitoba.
Tachinski, 18, ran the 400-metre final in a time of 54.04, beating Quebec’s Audrey Jackson to take gold. Ontario’s Katrina Innanen came in third place.
Athletes also competed in long jump, with William Nti jumping 7.01 metres and placing fourth after the first round at University Stadium. Team Manitoba’s Kearley and Josie Abbott defeated P.E.I. in straight sets on Aug. 1 in the beach volleyball tournament. The sister duo was knocked out of medal contention after losing to B.C.
Kyla Roy finished third in the female triathlon at Birds Hill Provincial Park on July 31 with a time of 1:05:22.80. Her sister Caitlyn, 15, finished seventh overall in the event with a time of 1:07:59.80.
September: Time to get active
Former University of Manitoba and Grant Park High School basketball star Keith Omoerah turned pro in 2017.
Omoerah, who played four seasons with the Herd, signed a contract with Bærum Basket, based in Norway, for the 2017-18 season.
The 25 year-old, 6-4, 200-pound guard spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with the Bisons before returning in 2015-16, when he earned a spot on the Canada West Second Team thanks to an average of 13.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Omoerah followed that up last season by grabbing 8.7 boards per contest, good for fifth in the conference, and helping the Bisons reach the Canadian championships.
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The dedicated efforts of a team of volunteers will come to fruition next spring when the Kelvin Active Living Centre will tentatively open on the grounds of Kelvin High School.
Principal Maria Silva and parent council representative Andrea Firth made the announcement Sept. 19.
"We have received confirmation we are able to build this active living centre," Silva said.
The project came together quickly, even though a facility redesign was required following the 2016 provincial election and a funding cancellation. In two years, the committee raised $1.2 million of the estimated $2.4 million overall cost. The provincial government approved $1 million for an access elevator.
October: New opportunity in southwest
FortWhyte Alive flipped the switch on solar power. The nature conservation centre officially turned on its new 60-kilowatt solar "garden," along Sam Fabro Way, just east of the main entrance, on Oct. 12.
The $180,000 power installation is projected to save the centre’s farm about $15,000 in electrical costs each year during the photo voltaic cells’ 30 year lifespan. The solar plant is currently the largest within the city of Winnipeg’s limits.
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Fort Garry was chosen as the base for a new milk processing and production plant by two national companies.
MDI Holdings Corporation opened its new dairy processing facility at 70 Irene St. on Oct. 25. The plant has the capacity to process 180 million litres of milk into milk protein concentrates, butter, and buttermilk powders, according to officials with MDI Holdings, a joint venture between B.C. based Vitalus Nutrition Inc. and Ontario’s Gay Lea Foods.
The former egg processing plant went through a $100-million renovation to accommodate the facility’s specially fabricated production lines and equipment.
November: Crescentwood sees success and change
In landmark wins for the Corydon Community Centre, two of the club’s minor football teams took home provincial championship titles in 2017.
On Oct. 29, the Comets won the Manitoba Minor Football Association peewee A division, defeating the Wesmen Wolverines, 40-31. The community centre followed up the win with a second championship title the same day as the Comets defeated St. Vital Mustangs Black 40-32 in the atom AA division at Investors Group Field.
The provincial titles are the first for the Comets since the amalgamation of River Heights, Crescentwood and Sir John Franklin community clubs in 2011.
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The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority confirmed the Corydon Primary Care Clinic (1001 Corydon Ave.) will close on Jan. 12, 2018 as part of the health authority’s effort to cut costs, and all the clinic’s services will be relocated to Access Fort Garry, near Pembina Highway and Bishop Grandin Boulevard.
Letters were mailed to patients the week of Nov. 13 to notify them of the official move date.
"Pembina Highway scares the hell out of me. I don’t like to drive fast — I’m one of those 40-kilometre-an-hour old ladies who drives in the right lane all the time," patient Jocelyn McGuire said. "To have to drag my daughter out to take me to appointments would be very hard on her."
December: Advocacy in action
Members of southwest Winnipeg community groups were successful in appealing to the city’s executive policy committee on Dec. 5 to commit capital funds for a new recreation campus in the 2018 budget.
On Dec. 8, EPC voted in favour of creating a new capital project called New Recreation Facility – South Winnipeg, and authorized $1.75 million from the $3.5 million in the 2019 capital forecast to be dedicated to the project.
The vote followed an extended budget hearing meeting that saw dozens of community members stop by city hall to make their case for funding a new recreation campus in Waverley West.
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The City of Winnipeg’s Ward Boundaries Commission submitted its final report on Dec. 7 and approved the creation of a new ward called Waverley West and the realignment of other wards in southwest Winnipeg.
The new Waverley West ward will be comprised of the following neighbourhoods:
Whyte Ridge (from the previous Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge Ward); Linden Ridge, and West Fort Garry Industrial (from the River Heights-Fort Garry Ward); and Agassiz, Bridgwater Centre, Bridgwater Forest, Bridgwater Lakes, Bridgwater Trails, Fairfield Park, Montcalm, Richmond West, South Pointe, South Pointe West, Waverley Heights, and Waverley West B (from the previous South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Ward).
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at email@example.com