Uptown or Downtown? – Our Communities

Uptown or Downtown? – Our Communities
Uptown or Downtown? – Our Communities

half moon wood

I grew up singing Petula Clark’s hit single CentreProbably because my friends and I took the bus on Friday and headed downtown for some valuable baton twirling lessons, followed by milkshakes in the basement cafeteria of The Bay.

On Saturdays we would gather at the Eaton Statue to shop or watch a movie. Those were the days, my friend, that we thought would never end. But they did end, as the economy caught up with the people and the carefree experience of Portage Avenue eroded. Clark’s lyric from the 1960s still rings true:

When you’re alone and life makes you lonely,

Photo provided by Michael Thiessen

On May 11, many community members gathered for the third annual Unity Walk through downtown Winnipeg.

You can always go to the city center.

The problems of the inner city seem to follow me everywhere I go. I literally had to climb over people lying all over the steps of the San Francisco Public Library to view the library’s calligraphy collection. It was announced by the handwriting on the wall, and it spelled out poverty. The collection I encountered outside the library was made up of people gathered in a makeshift community right across the street from San Francisco City Hall. The people I met were from a neighborhood called the Tenderloin. While the name alone is controversial, the people I encountered—the addicts, the homeless, the poor—were more than kind to this visitor. I was offered everything I could under the hot sun as we waited on unforgiving concrete for the library doors to open. I was also shown a way to explore an inner city once I got back home.

Words can have a subliminal impact. Are you a down(hill) or up(beat) person?

And maybe you’ll find someone who’s kind and can help you and understand you,

Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to guide him or her.

The list of generous, kind and gentle hands is legion in Winnipeg. I wish everyone could experience firsthand the kindness I have witnessed every day in our centre.

Attending a gathering of Winnipeg Indigenous Accord stakeholders at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on World Justice Day in January was a stepping stone for me to participate in the third annual Unity Walk through downtown on May 11, which brought together a large number of caring community members. We met at the Bear Clan Patrol center on Graham Avenue, where I had the opportunity to meet volunteers from Thunderbirdz, Community Helpers Unite, Urban Wagons, and RaY, to name a few of the many who are making a difference downtown and throughout the city.

Summer in the city, a fun time to get to know friends you don’t know yet, because there is “no better place, certainly not, the center. Everything is waiting for you”

Heather Emberley
Crescentwood Community Correspondent

Heather Emberley is a community correspondent for Crescentwood. Email her at [email protected] if you have a story suggestion.

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