The Skywalk Concerts and Lectures series is back at the Millennium Library. At noon on Wednesday, November 3rd Prof. David Burley will speak on Rooster Town: Winnipeg's Lost Suburb.
Winnipeg Free Press,December 20, 1951
"Rooster Town" was an informal community situated on Winnipeg's southern edge, near present-day Grant Park Shopping Centre, from about 1930 to 1959. it was home to around 200 mostly Metis and Aboriginal people, though its size and ethnic make up varied at times, who lived in homes built of scarp wood form the near by rail yards. it had no city services like water or electricity.
A Winnipeg Free Press story in December 1951 said that "It had its boom when everything else was in a slump - during the depression." Rooster Town was definitely off-the grid and infamous for bush parties complete with home brew and cock fighting, (the latter is believed to be how it got the moniker.)
As the city's boundaries grew, conflict with Rooster Town was inevitable. The post-war housing boom brought residential development right up the CPR tracks near Corydon. These children and those from Rooster Town attended Rockwood School, much to the chagrin of suburban parents afraid of disease and social maladies.
Winnipeg Free Press, December 10, 1961
Rooster Town's end began in 1957 when the railway sold off the land for development. The construction of Grant Park High School in 1958 - 1959 drove out the last fourteen families who were paid $75 each by the city welfare department to relocate. Construction began on Grant Park Plaza (now called Grant Park Shopping Centre) in 1962.
This should be an interesting talk on a very little known part of Winnipeg's history.
Rooster Town: A Métis Road Allowance Community
Remembering Rooster Town - Public Help Wanted