Meet the neighbourhoods: On the Move in northwest Winnipeg

It’s a rapidly changing part of Winnipeg that’s home to some of the city’s oldest areas and some of its newest developments.

This week, CBC Manitoba is taking a closer look at the neighbourhoods of northwest Winnipeg.

That includes neighbourhoods like The Maples, Inkster Gardens, Amber Trails and Garden City.

It’s part of a community journalism project we’re calling On the Move. We kicked things off in April with a virtual town hall, where we heard from residents about what they think people should know about their neighbourhoods and what stories often get missed in the daily news cycle.

Then we went back to them with a poll to see which of the ideas that we were given were the most important to them.

On the Move will include a community reporter who will help us tell the stories of people living in northwest Winnipeg.

In their own words

Starting Monday, Patrick Eulalia will join our local broadcasts on CBC Winnipeg News at 6. Then on Friday, he’ll step in as a community co-host alongside Marcy Markusa on Information Radio from 6 to 8:30 a.m. Throughout the week, he’ll dip into CBC Manitoba’s Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at community reporting in action.

Eulalia, who grew up in The Maples and now lives in Amber Trails, said he’s excited to show people why he loves his community — and to learn more about it himself.

While he moved from the Philippines when he was just a toddler, the 23-year-old always felt connected to his culture living in northwest Winnipeg, which has a flourishing newcomer population.

For him, growing up there was defined by things like stopping for Filipino desserts at a local ice cream shop and hearing people speak Tagalog and Punjabi at neighbourhood barbecues.

“As a kid, I didn’t know it at the time, but it left a very positive impact on me,” Eulalia said.

Some of the stories residents highlighted for us are about places, like the community centres that have been waiting on funding for much-needed upgrades for years.

Derek Dabee, president of the Maples Community Centre, says much-needed improvements to the nearly 50-year-old space have been stalled for years, leaving people in the area wondering if they’ll ever happen. (Sam Samson/CBC)

Derek Dabee, president of the Maples Community Centre, said the space has become a home to everything from basketball camps to seniors’ groups to taekwondo classes. 

Recreation space per resident in the area is low compared to many other Winnipeg neighbourhoods. With blueprints for a bigger centre still sitting on a shelf, Dabee’s wondering if it will ever happen.

“We promised the community that we would have had this built. It’s sort of very deflating that after five years, we still don’t have it,” he said.

Other stories in the community are about culture, like bilingual education classes and after-school programs that help students in the Seven Oaks School Division celebrate their heritage.

But some educators in the division are worried that Manitoba’s proposed education overhaul — under legislation known as Bill 64 — could mean the end of such programs.

Michelle Jean-Paul is the principal of École Templeton. She says cultural programs in her school division are hugely important — and she’s worried about how Manitoba’s proposed education overhaul could affect them. (Sam Samson/CBC)

Michelle Jean-Paul, principal of École Templeton, said she’s especially concerned about how changes might affect Indigenous students and students of colour.

“How do we engage students who don’t see themselves reflected in their schools, who don’t see themselves reflected in the curriculum and the activities and the learning that happens on a day-to-day basis?” she said.

We also heard about some of the issues people are trying to fix in their neighbourhoods in northwest Winnipeg — like the growing sense among some residents that crime is on the rise.

In neighbourhoods like Amber Trails, some residents say they feel crime has been on the rise in recent years. (Justin Deeley/CBC)

In Amber Trails, Grip Singh said his home has been broken into three times in the last decade and his son was nearly kidnapped last fall.

He’s joined his community’s neighbourhood watch group, but they can only do so much without police patrolling the area more often.

“It’s very frustrating for all the residents,” he said.

The area is home to old neighbourhoods, like Garden City, and newer ones, like Amber Trails.

And while their histories are different, the stories that come out of them all have one thing in common: they’re about the people who live there, and the things they do every day to make their neighbourhood what it is.

“Neighbourhoods aren’t created by architects and city planners,” said Jino Distasio, a professor of urban geography at the University of Winnipeg, whose family immigrated to the area in the 1970s.

“They play a great role, but it’s really the residents that shape neighbourhoods, create culture, identity, sense of being, sense of place.”

This story is part of CBC Manitoba’s On the Move community journalism project, which invites residents to shine a light on the stories we should tell about their communities. The first communities we’re featuring are three Winnipeg suburbs: northwest Winnipeg, Bridgwater Forest and Valley Gardens.