Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The 'Peg's Little Africa

Central Park, Winnipeg
The African-Canadian Foundation today announced that it is purchasing a vacant lot on Hargrave Street, the former YMHA site across from the Malabar Building. On it will go an $18 million dollar cultural centre, resource centre and housing development.

Bravo !

Central Park, African Market
In a few years the African community has taken ownership of the Central Park area of Winnipeg. If you haven't around there this summer you'd hardly recognize it. The park now has a soccer pitch, a weekend African Market and a lot more life.

Africans have also opened a number of shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood. Investing there and, for many, want to live in the area, not use it as a stepping stone for elsewhere in the city

Central Park Area, Winnipeg
This is a win-win-win situation: for downtown development (they seriously want to put a new development on an almost block long surface parking lot ?!); for the province who have been strengthening their immigration programs in recent years; and for the African community who decided a few years ago that, rather than just complain about the area, they will take ownership of it.

I look forward to following this project.

Also, we're not the only city where the African community has come into its own. In Toronto, it appears that a Little Ethiopia will be popping up (there are 70,000 Ethiopians in the GTA). There's also a proposal for an AfriCana Village and Museum on the Waterfront.

Central Park, Winnipeg
A look at the new Central Park Winnipeg Downtown Places
A History of Central Park Winnipeg Downtown Places
My Flickr album of Central Park and area

African community plans $18m downtown complex CBC
A boost for the inner city Winnipeg Free Press
An African Savannah in Winnipeg Observations (et al)


John Dobbin said...

Think the fast this project goes through, the more positive in getting more students to our colleges and universities in terms of the housing offered and the merits of a strong cultural center for the 50+ African communities, the better integration with Winnipeg overall.

I think most immigrants look for connection to their new community. This will be a great way to see that happen.

The Rise and Sprawl said...

Hey Christian, do you know anything about the tiny neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood invariably called the "Black Belt" or "the Loop," which was a concentration of blacks who lived on either side of the CPR tracks in North and South Point Douglas (ie, along Higgins and Sutherland Avenues) in the 1920-1950s?

I've found this unknown piece of history so fascinating, but it's hard to find info on it. Pilgrim Baptist Church on the corner of Maple and Macdonald Ave. is a remaining legacy of this little community.

Christian Cassidy said...

A few days back I did a quick look through to see if I could easily put something together for Black History months but didn't find a lot, including any reference to the Loop.

I guess given the train porter - black connection it would make sense that there was a community near the CPR station.

I know in more modern times, Percy Haines (sp?), owner of the Chicken Shack just a few blocks up at Lulu and Logan was a respected black leader.

Christian Cassidy said...

One thing I did find in that search from a while back was that there was a local 'Negro publciation' called "The Appeal". There was one mention of it in the FreeP in 1914 as sponsoring a Black US author to come speak in the city.

I searched everywhere I could think of to see if I could find some further reference to it but couldn't.

That would be a gold mine for finding out about Black history in the city.