Thursday, June 18, 2009

How hard was that?

At some point yesterday, someone painted a long stripe of white paint on Princess Street from Logan Ave. to McDermot Ave. or thereabouts. It is a bicycle lane, painted on a downtown street that has plenty of room for bicycle lanes. Bike lanes are not going to be the things that turn this city around, and might not prevent errant cab drivers from sharply cutting me off on my morning commutes down Princess, but it will say something: that the City gave some thought to the people who ride bikes.

Remind me again, how bike lanes were created in Winnipeg during the tenure of Mr. Visionary Talker again?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Primary sources

This is really no big deal, but it was funny how, when commenting on Heritage Winnipeg seemingly not paying attention, both Average City and Policy Frog got the address of the Dennistoun house wrong.

So say it with me now, MSM, City Historical Buildings Committee, and bloggers: it is the Dennistoun House, at 166 Roslyn Road. And yes, Heritage Winnipeg, apparently it is even being taken off the municipal conservation list an so it can be demolished.

The more people refer to the website of the venerable old Manitoba Historical Society, the better off we'll be.

"I can't get no respect."

Monday, June 08, 2009

Pages from the past

Main Street is not a dangerous place, the story reporting this is not available online, and its reporter hit the pavement instead of the Rolodex. Just what decade did I wake up in on Sunday morning?

Anyway, Mr. Oleson's wholly enjoyable piece on the fabled Main Street Strip (at its most liberally defined span, 17 blocks from Portage up to Selkirk Avenue) touches on something that has been clear to keen downtown pedestrians for some time now: that Portage Avenue is in the same place Main Street was 25 or 30 years ago.

"It seems that Winnipeg's skid row has moved south, to Portage Avenue, where on any given day you will see more boarded-up buildings, panhandlers, public drinking and puking drunks than you will on the dreaded Main Street strip."

Indeed, who would have guessed that Portage and Edmonton would be more unsavory and dangerous than Main and Logan? Day or night, I know where I feel safer walking.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Why are strawmen such haters? pt.2

People who are doing things:

BIOS Architecture, which began as a two-man operation at the corner of Main and Alexander Ave. last year, and will now be hiring and expanding.

Paterson Foods and Parrish & Heimbecker, two venerable agriculture companies that continue to be based out of offices in downtown Winnipeg. Prior to his death in 1963, my Great-grandfather A.W. Cross, a man of incredible business acumen, was a partner at P&H; a great man that helped make an important Winnipeg compnany great.

My former neighbors, who purchased a sordid rooming house in the bad old late '90s, moved in, renovated and sold (at a great profit to them) last year to a couple that moved here from Wolseley. And my new neighbors, who are putting in still more work in the house and in the yard, and contribute to the safety and civility of this charming little unslummed street.

Every person that has started a retail business in the Exchange District in the last five years. Any person that has started a business of any kind in this city.

Wellington West Capital Inc., one of the best companies in the country, and are growing apace.

Greenseed Development Corp. who are actually building new housing downtown on vacant land (and have so far not raised the jealous ire of the Friends of Fort Douglas).

Aqua Books and Eat! Bistro who completely transformed their Garry St. building, and are the best used bookstore in the city (and one of the best new cafes,) and keep a literary scene extant downtown.

Friesen Tokar Architects. Not that it was hard, but they built the nicest looking condo development on Waterfront Drive to date. And they moved the entire firm there.

The Black Sheep Diner at Ellice and Langside St., their proprietress and wonderful staff, who serve the best breakfast in town.

Those crazy Scotia Street socialists who re-opened Pollock's Hardware on Main and Atlantic Ave.

Andrew Marquess and B&M Land, who develops good market rental property across the city, especially downtown lately. He builds with geo-thermal, as opposed to putting out publicly-funded propaganda saying he would build it, then not.

Every person from my generation who left Winnipeg to find success in other cities.

The woman from Point Douglas who started a coffee shop on Sutherland near Annabella St. last year. Another Point Douglas woman who opened the Tallest Poppy on Main and Logan Ave. The young hippies who just moved in down the street that want to open up a laundromat and coffee shop here.

My good friend who is venturing out to develop iPhone applications, renovate his West End house, run marathons, and raise a daughter with his wife. Winnipeg grew by virtue of a hundred men like him that arrived here in the 1880s; not by a tired pack of fading grafters.

The men and women that flee violence, opression and corruption to come to Canada, and work tirelessly in corner grocery stores and restaurants for the sake of their children. Who still believe that one's mind and abilities can take them places.

Why are strawmen such haters?