Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winnipeg Love Letters -- N is for Neighbourhood

My dearest Winnipeg, boy oh boy did you get it right when you put my neighbourhood Wolseley together. Walking distance to downtown. Magnificent 100-year elm canopies. Fully intact heritage homes. Friendly little eco-friendly businesses that are fully embraced and supported by their neighbours. Annual community picnics and block parties. Streets closed to traffic for cycling on Sundays. Walking distance and several public access points to the river. Plenty of smiling people. Plenty of sour people. Plenty of young people, old people, wealthy people, gettin'-by people. Lots of dogs and lots of cats. 

I gotta tell ya, when I first visited this neighbourhood I couldn't shake the images I saw. They startled me. They were images of a bygone era: kids running freely up and down the streets. Shrieking. Laughing. Not an adult in sight. Using the sidewalks and the boulevards as their backyards. It was straight out of a...heads up: here's your cheesy alert...a Rockwell painting. I'm not lyin'. Honest. 

I love that this tiny neighbourhood is mocked for boycotting the mosquito sprays. I like that people think we're all eco-freaks (some of us are, some of us aren't). I like that people haul patio furniture across the alley into your yard for an impromptu BBQ that lasts much too long for the children, and not long enough for the grown-ups. It's all these little niblets of community that make up my neighbourhood. And I know Winnipeg's got plenty of other gems out there. 

Tell me about yours, will you?

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