History

Historic Plaques / Walking Tour

The Spence Neighbourhood is the area between Portage and Notre Dame Avenues and Balmoral Street to Agnes Street. This 25 block area is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, and has a rich history to be shared. The area holds the stories of many of Winnipeg’s most famous people; athletes, artists, political leaders and activists. There are also locations where buildings that have played a significant part in Winnipeg’s History are located.

Spence Neighbourhood residents have spent countless hours unearthing some of the unwritten history of this area. A committee of community residents has sorted though this information and chosen the most significant landmarks in the community to be commemorated by plaques. All the sites with plaques as well as other landmarks will be included in a walking tour brochure, to be printed so that people can conduct self guided tours. Once the plaques and brochure are finished there will also be the opportunity to participate in a historical guided tour of the area.

Green Map of the Spence Area

The Spence Neighborhood Association, University of Manitoba, and the Manitoba Eco-Network have teamed up to create a Green Map of the Spence Area.

Please check: http://mbeconetwork.org/index.php/spence_neighbourhood_map/ for updates on this project and future site links.

This project comes out of the SNA 5-Year Green Plan by request from the community gardeners in the area.

As we worked on the project we realized that there were significant challenges to overcome. One huge hurdle was situating the greenhouse on one of our community garden lots and so we started to talk about moving the pilot to another site. We decided on a gravel lot that was donated to the Spence Neighbourhood Association for the purposes of greening on Maryland Street near Wellington.

In 2008 we began the process of cleaning the lot up by planning and strategizing with neighbours, and holding community events and workshops, and to raise the knowledge of gardening and greenhouses in residents of the community.

When faced with the complex problems of poverty, drug abuse, and other issues in the neighbourhood, some said that it could not be done at this site. But when the SNA polled the residents of the three big apartment blocks that ring the site in November and December, they told us that they supported a green space, they wanted to learn how to garden, and that they wanted positive change in the empty gravel parking lot next door to their home.

The intention for the early part of 2009 is to fence half the lot and to erect the small pilot greenhouse, along with securing hydro. We are working with the landlords to install motion lights, and to research the possibility of having water on site.

This project is not only about the greenhouse, but about exploring the potential of community building and development through community accessible green space and gardens. It’s about building partnerships with organizations, such as IRCOM, who support newcomers to Winnipeg.

Community Greenhouse Project

This project comes out of the SNA 5-Year Green Plan by request from the community gardeners in the area.

As we worked on the project we realized that there were significant challenges to overcome. One huge hurdle was situating the greenhouse on one of our community garden lots and so we started to talk about moving the pilot to another site. We decided on a gravel lot that was donated to the Spence Neighbourhood Association for the purposes of greening on Maryland Street near Wellington.

In 2008 we began the process of cleaning the lot up by planning and strategizing with neighbours, and holding community events and workshops, and to raise the knowledge of gardening and greenhouses in residents of the community.

When faced with the complex problems of poverty, drug abuse, and other issues in the neighbourhood, some said that it could not be done at this site. But when the SNA polled the residents of the three big apartment blocks that ring the site in November and December, they told us that they supported a green space, they wanted to learn how to garden, and that they wanted positive change in the empty gravel parking lot next door to their home.

The intention for the early part of 2009 is to fence half the lot and to erect the small pilot greenhouse, along with securing hydro. We are working with the landlords to install motion lights, and to research the possibility of having water on site.

This project is not only about the greenhouse, but about exploring the potential of community building and development through community accessible green space and gardens. It’s about building partnerships with organizations, such as IRCOM, who support newcomers to Winnipeg. We hope to see the development of a healing garden with an AIDS/HIV support group on site. And by hiring from the community, people like Millie Richard DaCosta, a registered Horticultural Therapist who can act as a connector and a healer using gardening and plants as tools.

We are proceeding with this difficult project and so wish to invite people to support us by visiting us in the spring and summer of 2009. You can also help by making donations of plants, tools, time and financial contributions.

Enviornment and Open Spaces History/Projects

EOSP Projects

Community Compass

The Spence Community Compass is a community art project that involved Spence Neighbourhood residents in making a permanent art piece (2006-2007) and installing it in Furby Park in the summer of 2008.The project is part of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s community public art program, WITH ART. The Spence Neighbourhood Association was one of three communities chosen to be part of WITH ART in its first year. SNA subsequently selected visual artist Leah Decter to work with the Spence community to create a permanent public art piece. The project was developed with ongoing input from the working group of interested community members and SNA staff to address goals and interests identified through community consultation.With the idea of HOME as its main theme, the art piece celebrates the stories and histories of the neighbourhood and its residents through plants, words, and images.Bringing together past, present, and future it is intended to convey the cultural diversity of the community and aspects of its history, the unique contributions of Aboriginal/First Nations peoples, and concepts of growth and regeneration. Incorporating the history of the area, individual histories, and images made by community members, the piece tells inter-related stories about this community. The artwork will be located in Furby Park, just north of Ellice Ave, a site that was strongly supported during community consultation. It will be situated mainly at ground level and is intended to be interactive and accessible. The piece takes the form of concentric circles with three major components; a planted grassy inner circle that reflects the pre-contact history of the area, a tile mosaic component made up of images derived from local children’s drawings about their community, and a text outer circle in the form of a compass that bears the names of the places outside this community that area residents call HOME.

Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA)

615 Ellice Avenue | 430 Langside Street | 641 St. Matthew’s Avenue | 583 Ellice Avenue | Winnipeg, Manitoba

204-783-5000 | liaison@spenceneighbourhood.org

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