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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 3:05 AM
Northern Light Northern Light is offline
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North Side

Just a quick question, as an outsider looking for insights.....

In the last few months I've seen all sorts of stories on TV about Winnipeg's north side, which, well, weren't flattering.

I have only a vague of memory of visiting your fair city, probably 20 years ago; but I do remember going north out of downtown into an area that looked, much needier than I remember seeing on other travels in Canada.

But those memories don't offer any details, I was a child then.

So I'm curious to hear from resident Winnipeg residents....

What is the real story with the 'north side' ....

Why is it in distress? (if it is)

And is anything being done about it?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 3:22 AM
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what it is...

The north end of winnipeg bordered by main st. to the east The CN rail yards to the south Mcphillips to the west and Inkster to the North is a group of neighbourhoods that have in the last two decades been slowly deteriorating as a combination of; lack of funding for infrastructure, street and orginized gang growth/manipulation, weapons and drug trafficking, community dissolvement, fear or lack of concern from surrounding communities, and also gentrification from neighbouring communities lead to an area that if visited could be reminiscent of Canada's worst poverty stricken area's and could be considered one of the worst.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 4:48 AM
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north end has had a bad rep for a long time its not as bad as they say but we have the good chunk of bad apples that don't give a rats ass as a result of poor schooling and parents that sit and drink all day cause thats all they know and don't care and used the kids as free money from the gov.. and then no funding for after school programs to keep these kids outa trouble or anyone to look up to and then the schools not being able to do anything as their hands get tied and then ottowa changing the laws so the courts and law inforcements hands get tied it has been brewing for a long time... but the area had made major progress on fixing its self up but the west ends problems got cleaned up and alot of people moved and u get a shift and it got dumped on the north end compounding the problems already there again........ people are working together with the police and community centers and the city to try and make a change we can't shift the problem anymore we need to deal with it head on.. and compounding the problems we have no is the car theifs have lost the cars they steel and so they move onto other stuff though this year were still lower on the number of murders over this time last year but it still does not make up for my friend that got killed last week by the thugs on a muging spree that stabbed him RIP Joey
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 6:26 AM
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north end has had a bad rep for a long time its not as bad as they say
It is as bad as they say. In most areas you would be incredibly foolish to go for a walk after dark....
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but the area had made major progress on fixing its self up but the west ends problems got cleaned up and alot of people moved and u get a shift and it got dumped on the north end compounding the problems already there again.
Yes, the West End has made progress, but the North End has not. People in the North End are just either too lazy or afraid to take back their neighbourhoods from the gangs and criminals.
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and compounding the problems we have no is the car theifs have lost the cars they steel and so they move onto other stuff though this year were still lower on the number of murders over this time last year but it still does not make up for my friend that got killed last week by the thugs on a muging spree that stabbed him RIP Joey
I have seen no change in the North End. I would never live in the North End, even if I was offered a free home. It's the "inner city Detroit of Canada"
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 7:14 AM
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couple weeks back i went for a random walk through the north end had no problems camera gear and all gues its just luck of the draw and this was after 5 can't even remeber why i went for the walk all i know is i did

theres stuff being done in the north end its just all the cities problems get dumped on it all the time and it does not help that lazerenco is the city councler for a large portion of it
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 7:40 AM
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As home owners moved out of the North End because of the declining neighborhood, it created a downward spiral of decay. In moved slum landlords who did not maintain the properties to any degree what so ever.

Anyone familiar with the book "The Tiping point" is aware of the effect leaving graffiti on walls or having broken windows can make. This shows to the scum that this area is tollerant of this sort of behavior and then it continues from there.

These slum landlords particularly foreign investors from other cities notably Vancouver purchased cheap properties as part of their immigration process to Canada. Then they let deadbeat tenants ruin their properties even further. Turning them into crack houses and feces invested shitholes "litterally".

All of this while there are still a few good homeowners and an even fewer number of respectful and concerned landlords that tough it out because they don't want to turn their back on a neighborhood which was once good.

I speak of all this because I grew up on the 400 block of Manitoba Avenue, and had the pleasure of having our house broken into on numerous occasions, our neighbor murdered and the house next door turned into a repeat open and close crack house.

With all of this my parents still have held on to their diamond in the rough which was their first family home, and have made investments and maintained the property, and have been able to provide some truly great families with an amazing house to call their home. It's just a shame they have to put up with the rest of the neighborhood.

I truy believe that with the right investment and a small but critical mass of concerned individuals that this area can still be turned around. It was once an ethnically diverse community filled with new immigrants to this country who were willing to work hard and take pride in their neighborhood and community. But when these hardworking individuals acheived their success there were no options to expand into nicer and larger accomodation and thus they moved to other areas of the city, and the death spiral began.

This is why I am a firm believer in mixed communities with a balance of different income levels. Complete areas of wih, or those with total affluence both fail in that the people end up shut out from the world around them, either through fear of the neighborhood or through their own conceited self involvement. Successful neighborhoods are like wolsley with half million dollar homes and rental appartments. Like Osborne with young urban life next to million dollar high rise condos. This is also like some parts of our older suburbs that had both expensive private homes and townhouses and appartments near the edges allowing for the density necessary for the commercial services to thrive or at least survive.

.... end rant
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 11:16 AM
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Thanks

Thanks everyone for your quick input and responses.

I have to say, I'm surprised by how negatively most of you are describing the area, it makes the documentaries I've seen seem soft!

My condolences to the person whose friend was stabbed.

****

Having got the general sense that the area is indeed needy/distressed etc.

My first question is why?

I mean every City of any size (and many small towns) have poorer areas etc.

But in Canada, the only 2 I hear about on a large scale or the North Side in Winnipeg, and Downtown East Side in Vancouver.

I know other Cities have rough spots, but I gather its not usually so clear to the naked eye.

What I'm trying to figure out is what's unique about this area, or Winnipeg or Manitoba that this area when a little further wrong that most.

Is there inordinate pubic housing? A lack of police enforcement? are programs or services (ie schools, parks, recreation) absent?

***

I'd also like to hear from you all on whether anything can be/will be done about this; and if so what Should be done?

Thanks again for all the input; I'm finding this interesting.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 1:43 PM
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Nothings going to change in the North End until the community starts to band together against the gangs, drug houses, delinquent land lords etc. We have seen it happen here on a smaller scale with positive results in Point Douglas.

Obviously the police need to work closely together with the community, but it has to start at a grassroots level first. My only concern would be that there simply aren't enough "concerned" citizens in the North End to form a critical mass.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 3:22 PM
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The North End has always been the wrong side of the tracks..

This was the case even 100 years ago.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 5:58 PM
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why is it the wrong side well it was a nice area befor the railway came threw the money moved away as the industry moved in and u had a demographic shift alot f whats made a chunk a slumy slum is the scial housing complexs built like the ne way the hell up burows or the ones just off main on dufrin..
another factr that must be said is the large native population witch theres some good in that community but yea its going to take probly anther 100 yrs for them to get their heads ut of their ass's though i have herd a great rummer regarding nichi foods witch is on duffrin (i shop there) they have small meat counter a bacekery and a small selection of vegies and such its like the super center of corner stores lol
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  #11  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2009, 10:21 PM
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I have a strong, sentimental attachment to the North End. My family is from the area. Some of my family still remains in the area. I work near the fringe of the North End. I have friends from the North End, and friends, colleagues, peers, who still live in the North End.

The North End is however, every bit the enclave you read about. It is riddled with violence, drug and gang activity, poverty, and all noteworthy indicators of community malaise. It is not a safe place to walk after dark. I know a few businesses (smaller, community based) that make availability of a ride home a necessity for hire. It is not an unwritten policy meant to discriminate in any way. The owners/managers sincerely worry about their staff. You've been lucky Adrian. I have had a number of encounters at high noon in that part of town. Most recently involving to 'gentlemen' both with 9-irons and not a golf course for miles. Thankfully, a truck pulled down the street (semi-residential) I was on, while these guys were only 3 metres or so from me and enclosing quickly. I had on a t-shirt and jeans. And two slices of pizza. No camera gear necessary to invite attention to yourself in that neck of the woods. A lot of people in the area own big dogs. This isn't just a co-incidence.

I would love to see the day of a reclaimed North End, but that day is a long, long way away. It starts at the community level, and in spite of the valiant efforts of some, there isn't enough to combat the viral criminals and criminality that permeates this relatively large area.

Normally I'm not the world's biggest fan of Winnipeg Free-Press journalist Gordon Sinclair's pieces, or his palpable 'talking-down-his-nose' style. With that said, the pieces he wrote about that young girl, Kayley Vanderaa (sp?) was very acute and certainly representative of the strife exhibited by young people (and old alike) in that particular part of town.

On a positive note, the North End is home to some of the best little ethnic restaurants and grocers anywhere. The housing stock is gorgeous. The neighbourhoods are well built. The highschools have amazing programs that engage the community, although work is still needed - for example, St.John's I believe still has issues regarding Grade 12 sciences...I could be wrong, as my memory on the subject is vague at best. R.B. Russell is a very hard school, with perhaps Winnipeg's best known educator (Mr. MacKinnon now retired though, I believe). Children of the Earth school was a great initiative. There is green space, and available recreation facilities, although, it's certainly fair to argue more is always needed. Corner stores still exist, which is pleasurable for an urbanist - and neighbourhood residents alike. It has potential, but I personally believe that the North End is a fair ways away from undergoing the renaissance the West End has recently seen and continues to see.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 7:31 AM
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the north end has become the dumpig ground for many social problems in this city and province and some cases the country... theres some sweet stuff hiden away in its corners we need to deal with the youth give them the tools to be sucessfull and stay out of trouble.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2009, 6:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Light View Post
My first question is why?


Is there inordinate pubic housing? A lack of police enforcement? are programs or services (ie schools, parks, recreation) absent?

***

I'd also like to hear from you all on whether anything can be/will be done about this; and if so what Should be done?

Thanks again for all the input; I'm finding this interesting.
Contrary to popular opinion , the North End has always been Winnipeg's little slice of crap.

Basically the city spreads out radially from Portage and Main. The north end of the city was doing just fine until the railways put their shops in what (at the time) were the northern outskirts of the city. In the days before cars , this was a big deal and it made anything on the other side (to the north of the mainline) less attractive to potential buyers. Consequently , immigrants to Canada who decided to call Winnipeg home were more or less forced for economic reasons to build a shack in what would become the North End. They'd pack 10 or twenty people in there and voila ! ... it doesn't take long for a shack to become a hovel. Now multiply homes like this and what you've got is a brand new ghetto.

Now , with this said , the North End isn't all bad at all. Actually , most of it is pretty good and doesn't look any different from most other areas of any middle-class neighbourhood in any city. The closer you get to the mainline though...well , you'll notice the bars on the windows and the "Beware of dog armed with M16 !" signs. It's basically a vicious circle though because people with no money have to live in places that require less of it to survive.

An outsider has to understand that by "North End" Winnipeggers aren't really referring to all of it. For the most part , we're really referring to the part that runs parallel to the mainline about five or six blocks north and maybe ten or fifteen blocks west of Main St. After that it tends to be fairly smooth sailing.

As for fixing it....probably never going to happen. The public housing isn't there to attract the poor , it's there to house the ones already living in the area. The provincial government tries to spread it around the city but since that eats up otherwise valuable land (and decreases the value of any adjacent land) they concentrate it where it'll do the least damage. Nobody wants to live next to a ready-made ghetto even if it looks nice for the first few years.

If the area is ever going to rise above the level of "Stay the F*CK OUT !" it'll have to be by slowly redeveloping parcels from the suburbs to the core.

Besides , it's not all bad as I say. In fact , in many ways it's the "spiritual" heart of this city and is commonly recognized as such among Winnipeggers. It ain't all bad ....it's just that the bad apple spoils the bunch.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 4:03 AM
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There are many a great things that seperate the "poverty stricken" area of winnipeg's north -Which like Spocket said is really crumbling between main and salter, and in certain areas to arlington. One of which is geographical location.
If you look at Winnipeg from a satelite view you will notice the north ends complete isolation from the rest of the city. To the south the CPR hump yards seperate the north end from what would be an economic driving force for the community (albeit downtown's infrastructure has never been great, but is getting better. To the East the river isolates the north end from North Kildonan which would allow more passage through the north end and increased desirability (obviously not possible). And to the west is nothing but industrial yards (Inkster Industrial Park), which offer little if any desirability to the area. If you were to look you would notice that this geographic location is very similar to many US cities that are considered concerns; such as baltimore, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago.
Also like many have stated; the surrounding areas including North Kildonan, Point Douglas, Shaugnessy Park, and other neighbourhoods have gone through a process known as gentrification. Which is described as increasing a property value as people find the area desirable, and the displacement of people in the area to less desirable (more affordable) location; The NORTH END.
This process brings about a large majority of ethnic groups all moving in to specific isolated locations within the neighbourhood - which is why there are high percentages of Natives, Phillipinoes (sorry about the spelling) and immigrants in the north end.
Over time these areas fall into a cycle of the poor become poorer, as jobs become hard to find. This leads to many things that turned the neighbourhood into what it is today. Gangs become commonplace as they offer opportunities that part time jobs at seven eleven cannot. people become involved and cannot detur from their lifestyle, and this (though in many more broad and more complicated ways) spreads throughout the community.
I myself grew up in many different households in this neighbourhood and befriended many people who fell victim to these ways.
These reasons and many more are why the North End Can Be a viscious place to live, compared to Toronto's Scarborough, Edmonton's McCauly, Montreals North East and others. As many factors combine to make a bad area.
That being said there are many friendly and well to do people in the North End and they are not hard to find. A person will generally be safe as long as they use their heads.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 2:10 PM
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Why the Acceptance?

I don't mean to offend anyone in asking, but I notice a certain 'acceptance' of the North End and its problems in the replies, and I infer this is commonly the case in Winnipeg.

I find that curious, and perhaps a tad disconcerting.

To be clear, Cities thoughout Canada, and the the world, have various degrees of less desirable neighbourhoods where greater poverty can be found.

But most work at eliminating the worst excesses of said areas, albeit with varying degrees of success.

In Toronto, the area just east of downtown was seen to be less than desirable for a long time. Dominated by 2 large scale public housing projects (Regent Park and Moss Park) and home to a number of nicer homes that had fallen into various states of disrepair, its was not 'The' place to be.

But first in fits and starts, by loosening zoning laws and by passively encouraging redevelopment, then by building a new palace of a police station, and by small efforts at beautification the area began to recover.

Now, as Toronto tears down Regent Park, the area is getting luxury condos, and is becoming a highly desirable area.

Other cities are trying to do the same. I would wonder that Winnipeg can't join that party.

***

On a purely superficial note, since my personal memories of your City are from 20 years ago....I looked at the sat. photos/maps.

Some dumb questions/thoughts/suggestions, which I'm sure to get corrected on.....

Integration: Why can't Redwood be plowed through to the west; and how about taking Inkster over the river?

Parks: On the north side of Redwood, west of the River, there seems to be a really un-attractive industrial parcel that looks like it would make a great waterfront park......

Transportation: This one is important, and particularly useful if you might want to attract University students to the area or young people.....

How about an LRT down Main to and then then down St. Mary?

Those are my sort of infrastructure type thoughts, not really knowing the area, I freely admit.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 2:49 PM
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sorry if i offend anybody here but the problem with the north end is a aboriginal problem in that a large segement of native men just don't want to get an education. If you think this is just a racist rant i am putting out there your wrong because last month former grand chief ovide mercredi said himself that native men are not being real men they have to go to school and find work, but they just seem to have no ambition. I am not saying all natives are like this but I would sadly have to say just by what I see that the majority of natives are not using common sense. It makes no sense for young native girls having 7 kids by age 23 and living in housing projects. It makes no sense on some reserves having only 1-2 sometimes no high school graduates at all. Combined with aboriginals trying to leave their reserves for a better life in the city only to find the north end as a home where you know nobody and all of a sudden a gang doesn't look so bad. There are plenty of programs already out there for aboriginals especially regarding education but the native population has to have the ambition to want to go to school!
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 4:10 PM
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  #18  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 5:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Light View Post
I don't mean to offend anyone in asking, but I notice a certain 'acceptance' of the North End and its problems in the replies, and I infer this is commonly the case in Winnipeg.
Well , I guess you could call it acceptance . Actually , sure , that about sums it up.

Then again , why not ? The North End isn't really the problem. I mean , in a perfect world , there wouldn't be any North End. But we don't live in a perfect world so until we do, there are going to be North Ends everywhere.

As I said earlier , this is not some hidden gem that just needs a little sandblasting and a fresh coat of paint. No , this was practically purpose-built to house the miserable and disenfranchised. To fix the North End is far more complicated than a coat of paint. Really , fixing the North End requires fixing everything that is wrong with human nature. To be completely frank , I would just as well that the North End stayed exactly where it was rather than being razed and re-developed. Why ? Because I'd rather the North End stayed right where it was rather than moving in beside me.

Sure , the politically correct crowd would call that every "ism" in the book but then again , people motivated to think in politically correct terms never seem to live anywhere near their pet causes.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 5:34 PM
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the problem with the north end is a aboriginal problem
It is a poverty problem, and poverty just happens to affect a disproportionately large segment of the aboriginal population than the white one. My neighbourhood is just like the North End (same demographics) and I see white people who are in the same boat all the time, living in poverty or on the streets with no ambition.

Until the government gets the balls to properly fund native-run education systems (or let them raise the money to do it themselves) we're going to continue to see a disproportionate number of aboriginal people with poor educations.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2009, 5:43 PM
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the government already spends $13 billion a year on indian affairs what really nedds to happen is the aboriginal leadership needs to be frank with their people and make sure they go to school you can spend all you want on native education but if the kids don't show up for class what's the point?
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