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.
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
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.
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)