Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/11/2011 (2934 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
You’ve probably seen them as you leave downtown going north on Main Street — two multi-storey brick buildings just north of the underpass near Higgins Avenue.
Both played a huge role in Winnipeg’s manufacturing and retail sectors in this century. That is where the similarity ends. One is a centre of renewal, hope and life; the other of decay, despair and even death.
I’m talking about the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church and the Yellow Warehouse. WCV Church has had a presence in the North End since 1995 and finally found a permanent home in 2002 when it bought the International Harvester Co. building, where tractors used to be manufactured on its four floors. They began renovating the first floor for gathering and office space, and half of the second floor for children’s programming.
The church has always focused on meeting the needs of the poor and vulnerable in the neighbourhood.
Its vision to provide transitional housing and community for those at risk of homelessness came into being five years ago as the rest of the second floor and more recently, the third floor was developed.
Called the Flatlanders Inn, this space contains two kitchens, bathrooms, laundry facilities, shared living space, dorm rooms, family rooms and family suites in order to bring together a wide variety of people who can support and strengthen one another in times of need.
This fall saw the completion of the Flatlanders Artspace — an area dedicated to the creation, exhibition and performance of works of art. Once a week, it is open after the drop-in lunch for people to come and make art together with all supplies provided. The space had its grand opening in June and hosted its first exhibition last month.
As you can see, there is a lot of life in that brown brick building.
The yellow building next door has not nearly so bright a history or future. In fact, it has been the site of crime, assault, and murder. WCV purchased the building in 2007 in order to expand its parking and clean up the grounds. The church sought various partners in hopes of getting help to convert it into more housing. Nothing ever developed.
With a new civic bylaw in effect, which forces owners to bring vacant buildings up to code or tear them down, the most viable option has become demolition, at a cost of $40,000.
After the building is levelled, the church plans to join with the community and Bridgman Collaborative Architects just down the street to beautify the space through grass, trees, walkways, and new fencing.
Anyone who would like to support the transformation of this desolate area next to the railroad into a green space, can donate to the cause or buy a ticket to the Beautification Brunch being held at Fort Garry Hotel on Sun., Nov. 20 at 12 noon. Individual tickets are $100 while a table of 10 is available for $1,000.
You can contact the church at 582-2900 for more information.
Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North End community correspondent
Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for the North End.