Monday, January 17, 2011

A Sunday Afternoon Walk

I went for my regular backlane walk on Sunday afternoon. It was not as bitterly cold as it had been on Saturday. There was a light snow falling, and a bit of a breeze, but for the most part it was a nice winter day if you dress for it.
The snow plows had been down the back lanes earlier in the morning, so everyone was out in the lanes shovelling out their driveways. So, along with our garbage walk, my husband and I were able to stop and talk to the neighbours as we walked down the lanes. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, getting a bit of a workout as they cleared snow. They were all aware of the murder that took place just a few streets over. In fact, as we walked down the lanes, a police car was slowly making its way down the lane following a constable, who seemed to be looking for something. They went along with their business, and we went along with ours.
One of the back lane shovellers was a landlord, who was out clearing slow. He expressed his concern for the neighbourhood, saying only in Canada can it get this bad, where there is no punishment for crimes, especially youth crimes. He also commented on one of the boarded houses. He said it was a negative image for the neighbourhood, as well as lost revenue for the owner.
As our walk started, my husband found a knife in the lane. He was wondering if it would be an item of interest to the Police. While we were out walking, we took the opportunity to walk over to the crime scene on Redwood, as there were still police cars parked in the area protecting the investigation. The knife was mentioned to the Police, and we were informed that they were not looking for a knife in relation to the murder. At that time, it was not publicized that the person was beated to death. We thanked the officers for their time, and went on our way. Sometimes a kitchen knife is just a kitchen knife, but you don't know unless you ask.
I was thinking about the way I approach police when I go toward their car, or how I react when they drive by. I remove my hood, and lower my scarf. I want to make sure I do not appear to be concealing anything. If I have sun glasses on, they come off. When police drive by, I make a point of looking at them and waving, with a friendly smile, ensuring my face is showing. All too often, in this neighbourhood especially, people go down the street with hoods up and faces concealed. Even in the summer, it is often hard to tell who is passing you on the road. But for me, I try to stay friendly, and let people know who I am as I pass them. This is all part of making my part of the world a neighbourhood, and not a 'hood'.
We have some good neighbours, people who care about their property, and the area. These good neighbours are home owners and landlords alike. And we are all just doing our little bit in making this part of the world a good place.


  1. I spent my youth growing up in the streets of a safe suburb of Winnipeg, then moved to the North End to work on an income property. I have become fed up with the safey in the area and was on the fence about moving when I heard about this a few doors down from me:

    I am officially moving to the south end of the city, away from the feeling of always having to look over my shoulder when I come home after dark. My personal saftety is worth much more to me than making a few bucks on a property sale.

    Good luck North End in 2011.

  2. Bravenewworld, sorry to hear you're jumping ship rather than standing your ground. We have a right, and a responsibility, to fight for change.

    I hope you enjoy the suburbs and all the anonymity they provide; if all goes well you may never have to talk to your neighbours ever again - well except to bitch about just how high your property taxes are.

    Tongue and cheek aside, I bet if you take the time to talk to the neighbours surrounding your income property, maybe even join your local residents association you will find you are not alone. Join the peaceful army of people working for change - meet a neighbour like raespace or myself, who, when you eventually rent out your property, will help keep an eye on it for you - my favourite landlords are the ones I know and can (and do) call if I notice something out of the ordinary going on at their rental.

    The North End doesn't need your wishes of good luck, it needs you to help WORK to make it a better place. Luck is winning the lottery, good things take effort.

  3. You said it perfectly, Winnipeg Girl!

  4. BraveNewWorld, I am sorry to hear that this last incident has pushed you over the edge. I know how that feels. My push over the edge caused me to start this blog, and fight for my neighbourhood. But to be honest, money no object, I would be out of here in a heartbeat. We all make life choices based on our own needs.
    It is our City who has ultimately let us down, and our Province, and our Country. Make and enforce the proper laws to protect the citizens. Take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of all citizens. Do your jobs that you were elected to do, and none of us would feel we have to flee our homes to protect our safety.

  5. this problem wont go away with a blog, this is good for socializing and support, but seriously if your just trying to run people out of the neighborhood that your not please with than you need to try a different strategy, housing is cheap and affordable, landlords dont care as long as someone pays the rent, and all neighbors do is gossip and make things worse. you think these people are unaware of their chaos and how it affects the community? they're aware. but how does one want to care when the neighbors rally and gather to talk about "what happened last night" or the party down the block, although you may think that because their business is spilled out into the streets that it becomes your business, it really isnt. you have to do more than gossip and blog. i seen your picture, police dont care about you, your a white woman. they do racial profiling,on aboriginal people. you say you live a day in the hood? live a real day in the hood, as an aboriginal person cause believe me we (aboriginals) would like to know what it feels like to be a white person. your given the benefit of the doubt, if you walk into a Zellers or liquor mart you arent a part of their "policy" which states that if an aboriginal person enters that they must be monitored. i understand how people who live in a nice respectable manner could be annoyed and disturbed by the happenings of crime, partying, addiction and all that comes with it, but there has got to be a better way. your blog is good for people like you, who believe that words can change the world, and that ranting is a good outlet, it's fine. but you have to do more than want these people out of your neighborhood cause you cant displace these issues, you have to deal with them. a good example is Reverand Harry Lehotsky, he would scold people for their ways of being, but bless them all in the same sentence. people need to feel worth, even when they make awful mistakes, people are people, and regardless or their actions there is/was obviously something that brought them to think that their actions are okay... i'm not one of them "hug a thug" people i just believe that although there are people out there who are scary and careless, maybe it's hope, maybe they have given up any type of hope because hope has given up on them. offer kind words, dont let people take advantage of your kindness, but be polite smile and make people feel a apart of the conversation of cleaning up the neighborhood instead of the topic of the conversation. sorry if i went off on a tangent, but you have to do more than smile and wave at a few officers, you should be smiling and waving at the criminals. my grandmother always told me that when someone is acting in such a way that is disruptive to others you should "kill them with kindness". so this is my advice to you...kill them with kindness.

  6. Anonymous, thankyou for your comment. You sound very passionate about the issues that Aboriginal Peoples face on a daily basis. You may want to get involved with your Residential Association. If you are in the St Johns neighbourhood, I would suggest contacting me at The residents associations are actively involved in making their neighbourhoods better places. We need more Aboriginal members who are passionate about their neighbourhoods to give their input on how to make the area a better and safer area

  7. thanks for your blog. I read about it in Gordon Sinclair's recent column. I think you're doing a great thing. I'll visit again!
    (I live in the North End and love it too!)