Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Winnipeg's North End and the Community

Article by Rushika Khatkar, on behalf of Heritage Winnipeg Corp.
To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.
Though the North End is not an official neighborhood, residents of Winnipeg still know of it.The North End is  filled with stories of struggle and survival. Though a poverty stricken area, it is rich in culture. Every year since 1999, Picnic in the Park is held at St. Johns Park in hopes to bring neighbors in the North End together.

Performers at Picnic in the Park. Photo courtesy of The North End Community Renewal Corporation.

The North End community is significantly shaped by its past. The period after 1896 brought large numbers of eastern European immigrants arrived in Winnipeg and settled in the North End. It was a poor and overcrowded area. There was more than 20 people living in house at a time. The houses were not connected to the water supply and this combined with overcrowding made the area a perfect place for disease to spread.

Many people were employed, often working seasonal jobs on farms or on railway construction. The problem was that they had low wages. In fact, they were earning less than half of what was needed for a normal standard of living. Not only was the North End separated economically from the city, but also physically. It was was separated by the CPR yards. The inhabitants of the area faced antisemitism and were called names such as "dumb hunkies" and "bohunks."

Through their struggles, many immigrants started local businesses that contribute to the community today.  For example, Ted Baryluk's Grocery is a grocery store in the north end. Ted Baryluk's store was much more than a grocery, but a welcoming place for the people of the community. This is one of many stores that the people of the community love and feel comfortable in. A women will open a carton of milk to check if its fresh but said she wouldn't do that any where else. The North End has a great community.

I Heart North End Wall. Photo courtesy of The North End Community Renewal Corporation.

It's not just the people that make the North End so special, but also the buildings. It is easy to see the influence of the immigrants is  in the buildings. The Ukrainian Labour Temple is a hall and cultural centre. It is run by the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians. It is also the home to the Ivan Franko Museum. For more information on the museum, see our previous post, 10 Places to Visit in Addition to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights 

The Ukranian Labour Temple. Photo courtesy of Virtual Heritage Winnipeg.

Located at 115 McGregor, Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral (Ukrainian Catholic Church) is an old church that went through many changes. Originally built in the spring of 1900, the church was soon converted into a reading hall and Ukrainian Heritage School after the St. Nicholas Church was built in  1904 by the Basilian Fathers. Tensions arose between the parishers of the small church and Basilians. In 1907, the  Ss Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic parish was established at the small church. The church now accommodates more than 400 perishers. For more information on the
Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral, go to their website.

Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral

Ross House Museum was once the first post office in Western Canada. Its is the one of the last remaining examples of Red River frame architecture in Winnipeg and it gives a look into the 1850's lifestyle. The house was built by William and Jemima Ross. William Ross was appointed the first postmaster for the red river settlement and operated from his home. The house was used as an office for a construction company after the Roses were finished using it. To read more about the Ross House, go to our previous post, Ross House Museum at 140 Meade Street North .

Ross House. Photo Courtesy of Manitoba Historical Society.

There is one building that's hard to miss. The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral stands tall and can be seen on main street. Its past starts before it was even built when a
group of prominent individuals met up at St. Andrews College in 1945. The subject being the need for a new parish in Winnipeg's north end. The cathedral was officially opened  on July 8, 1962.

The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral.

Right beside the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral lies St. Johns Park. With facilities like a wading pool, a play structure, and lawn bowling, the park is a great place for people of all ages. Its also the site of Picnic in the Park. Picnic in the park  is an annual family fun day organized by The North End Community Renewal Corporation (NECRC). The NECRC aims to promote the social, cultural and economic renewal of Winnipeg's North End. NECRC works with residents and local businesses of the area to further their goals.

The petting zoo at Picnic in the Park. Photo courtesy of North End Community Renewal Corporation .

The NECRC has organized Picnic in the Park since 1999. The  aim of Picnic in the Park is to promote positive self- image and encouraging cultural diversity. This year's event will be held August 22, 2015 at St. John's park. People will be able to enjoy free food and beverages, entertainment, children's activities/games, prizes and displays put up by local agencies and artisans. This is a great opportunity for residents of the North End to meet each other.  Local acts include Leanne Goose, C-weed band and the Metis square dance group. Picnic in the Park is the perfect way to celebrate the North End community.

Sources & Links

Canadian Dimension- Winnipeg's North End
North End Community Renewal Corporation
Ross House Museum- Manitoba Historical Society
Sts. Vladimir & Olga Cathedral
The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan


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