...........................

Thursday, 7 April 2011

On Selkirk Avenue

Sidewalk Message
Yesterday's Winnipeg Internet Pundits was all about the North End !

We had in-studio guests A Day in the Hood, Love Me Love My Winnipeg and Heart of the Continent. Good conversations about our city within a city. Check out the podcast if you get a chance.


Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg

A topic that came up was Selkirk Avenue. I noticed over the weekend that there was some activity at the former Red Apple. I found out that it is being converted for a daycare. At least it's not a social agency which has filled up pretty much every large space on the street. Still, another former larger than a convenience store former retail space gone.

Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
I do a walk of Selkirk at least once a year with my camera. It is a street that fascinates me. The buildings, the 'small town, main street' feel of it. Though the urban landscape has many holes in it, you can still get a sense of the city within a city that it once was and imagine the bustle that once must have been there.

Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Holy Ghost Parish
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
When you walk the street you also get to see some of the neat architectural detail that still exists. Little gems of places that would be welcome in any neighbourhood in the city. Gems that are living on borrowed time.

Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
The sad part is that I save up my photos to look back and see what is missing since my previous walk. Since October 2010 there are a couple of burned out buildings gone. The residential part of the above building (an HVAC place, if I recall) and the residential buildings behind L.P. Grocery at the corner of Charles.

Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
Though some retailers still stick it out on the strip: Gunn's Bakery; Todaschuk's; The Windmill they are retailers that cater to the old Selkirk Avenue, not the one of the past 25 years. Where retailers should be to serve the people that live there today, are boarded up or taken up by pizza by the slice joints or, cheque cashing stores and a plethora of 'Mom and Pop' convenience stores.

It is for that reason that the former Red Apple's conversion to daycare is a bit of a sad note.

Selkirk Avenue, Winnipeg
I am honestly not sure what the answer is for Selkirk Avenue. (It certainly isn't a continuation of the injection of educational and social agencies that have been filling the streetscape for the past 20 years). A lot of cylinders need to firing at the same time to tackle the retail, housing, development and social needs of the area and to date the political will has not been there.

That's not been the case with other areas of the core like Chinatown, Downtown, Waterfront and the Exchange. Funny thing is, the issue that has stymied those other districts - the lack of residents - is not an issue for Selkirk Avenue.

Sorry to see you like this Selkirk Avenue. Maybe one day we will find the will.


Also See:
Changing for the better in the North End OMC
When Normal Becomes Abnormal Rise and Sprawl
The Age of Poverty on Selkirk Avenue The Uniter
BIZ wants to stop business exodus The Times
Selkirk Ave Struggling to rebound CJOB

Selkirk Avenue in 1914 MHS

July 2011 UPDATE: My latest pot on Selkirk Avenue

7 comments:

Winnipeg Girl said...

Thanks to all the bloggers who have been doing stories on the North End - I finally feel like we haven't been forgotten here, I can stop my blog now.

...just kidding. I am very curious as to the antique store on Selkirk Ave as mentioned in the Times article - I can usually sniff out an antique store a mile away and I have never seen it, and I am on Selkirk Ave. multiple times a week. Does anyone know which shop this guy owns? Perhaps his problem is signage more than anything?

mrchristian said...

You know the BIZ doesn't have a web page (I was looking for a link fro this story) and a lot of the better known businesses have no web pages either.

Maybe that's a good first step for improving business on the street - get the word out for ones that are already there.

It's not the sort of street that can rely 100% on foot traffic to make their customer base.

I guess your sniffer needs some fine tuning. Maybe it's the smell of bagels in the air (or the stale beer smell wafting from the merchants) that's throwing you off track !

Sophia said...

Great post.
Pleasure to meet everyone last Week.
I'm happy to know who in the city to consult now to help achieve my goal in connecting w/ the "lost soul of the city". I would be happy to offer design resources to make a spreadsheet of shweet restaurants and places all hip again.
It's a great thing you don't sniff out the industrial stench I have to walk past at U of M's Fort Garry campus everyday. :]

mrchristian said...

Selkirk should be full of aboriginal art shops, neat cafes and places like that.

Not sure who you would contact. Love me love my winnipeg might know.

Nice meeting you too !

Anonymous said...

Haven't lived in Winnipeg for many years, but that last photo struck a chord. My Grandparents moved to the North End (Flora) in 1969 from a farm in the Interlake, and I remember that distinctive onion-dome monument on Selkirk.

Please refresh my memory...isn't that a remnant from some past Selkirk Ave improvement project from the 70's?

mrchristian said...

Yes, this is it here !
http://www.flickr.com/photos/christiansphotos/5597402870/

That little bell and ampitheatre I think it was supposed to be is getting a makeover soon, apparently.

ROBCAN said...

Thought I'd repost a question that I put here last week (with an edition) maybe someone else might remember...thanks mrchristian for your reply though! :)

Does anyone know the history of the building that stood at the north west corner of Selkirk and Keewatin and when it was built & demolished?

In the Henderson directory of 1931 and 1935 it may have been listed as city well #5 with no fixed address on Selkirk Avenue (sometimes with the word "closed" sometimes not) but I'm not sure if that is the building either.

Stories or pictures would be great!

PS As for my memory, the building was brown and resembled a miniature grain elevator and perhaps 2 stories. Now, at that corner, is a metal fenced empty plot with green grass and a few shrubs and trees.

Thanks - ROB.