Graham Mall, the next Corydon?


ver the years I’ve seen many streets come to life and Graham Mall in downtown Winni- peg is definitely in for changes that Winni-

peggers can look forward to. In my younger years, I remember walking up and

down Corydon Avenue frequently. At the time it was a mediocre street with only three or four great restau- rants surrounded by a deteriorating neighbourhood, with many dilapidated homes. Despite those things, it had the foundation for a potential pedestrian-friendly street with store fronts every 30 to 40 feet, although they were mostly vacant at the time. Fast forward to today and Corydon Avenue has become one of the most vibrant streets in our city and home to a great Italian district, Little Italy. At the age of 18, I was selling real-estate, sipping on espressos every day and bumping into my heroes like Bova, Mock, Con- satinni, Ring, Fletcher and

Rosonoski. To-

gether they had a vision to

transform Corydon

Avenue into something better for their commu- nity, championing

Stefano Grande Downtown

creation of the Corydon BIZ. Millions of dollars were invested in infra- structure and an inno- vative housing rehabili- tation

I remember the energy of young people wanting to

open up local shops, and seeing young families want- ing to live in the neighbourhood to be close to the excitement and contribute to the community. The vi- sion that my mentors once had for Corydon Avenue had finally come to life, and it was so bright and com- pelling. Today, Corydon is not only a place to hang out, but also a community that Winnipeggers want to live in. Graham Mall has the same essence that Corydon

did. It’s a unique street that has the potential to be just as big. City planners would describe the area as “walkable”, “scaled properly” or with “great bones” (we like creating our own language). The commercial storefronts from Vaughan to Hargrave are multiple, small and ripe for transformation. The walk is already enjoyable with a series of local and national coffee shops, sandwich and soup stores, and sprinkled with the Downtown Winnipeg Farmers’ Market and more! All the elements of a great street are now visible. Bol- stered by hundreds of buses which bring thousands of Winnipeggers downtown to this street daily, Graham Mall is coming alive. The energy behind this transformation has been a series of mega projects that are reversing the flow of people from the suburbs to back downtown. The ex- panded Millennium Library and the new RBC Con- vention Centre have all spurred the creation of Cen- trepoint, True North Square and, hopefully SkyCity Centre, in the near future. Located at the east side of the mall, Bell MTS Place and the emerging True North Square will be an anchor to be reckoned with in the emerging SHED district. In fact, in speaking with over one thousand down- towners recently, I found the name Graham Mall is no longer recognized by the public. Graham Avenue resonates more. Downtowners already recognize the shift and business people notice a different vibe, to the extent that many feel it’s time for the complete renewal of sidewalks, lights standards and more. The mall, after all, is 25 years old. It’s time for a makeover and our city departments agree. The timing is perfect as there is more development to be attracted. There are actually two great re-development chal-

lenges in the immediate area, which include the his- toric and majestic Hudson’s Bay, and the ill-conceived Portage Place Mall. Both have the potential to be transformed into mixed-use buildings with people living and working there. Authentic, local and unique: this is the direction

that Graham Avenue needs to go. It’s now up to the politicians to invest strategically in the next round of tax-increment financing and downtown infrastructure renewal to get there. Stefano Grande is executive director of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.

6 the

Is the city subsidizing the province?

Fred Morris

to complain about being short-changed by various provincial governments in many different ways. Mayor Bowman recently threatened to cut 22 tran- sit routes, and he increased fares by 25 cents. He blamed the province's transit funding freeze. The freeze cost the city $8.15 million. Does the city ever help out the province financially when there is no need to do so? Community incentive grants are meant to en- facilities. Each councillor controls

G hance public

some CIG funds. These funds should be spent in or near a councillor's ward. In 2017, 13 out of the 15 city councillors approved $127,500 of commu- nity incentive grants to fund the Lyle Street Habi- tat project. The city's administration report recom- mended denying these grants. The report points out that financial support for the building of homes does not meet the criteria. Housing is a provincial

len Murray's New Deal complained about the city getting only seven cents of every tax dollar. Successive mayors have continued

responsibility. In August 2017, the St. James-Brooklands-

Weston councillor expensed $810 for a community picnic with two area Conservative MLAs. Although the amount is small, why was city money spent pro- moting a provincial government that the city is con- tinually fighting with for more money? In November 2017, the city sold the Vimy Are- na to the province for $1 in order to facilitate the construction of the Bruce Oake addiction treatment facility. The appraised value of the property is $1.4 million. In effect the city provided a $1.4 million subsidy to the province. Addiction treatment is a part of the province's health care responsibility. The city cannot afford to get involved in the construc- tion of health care facilities. With these three examples, the city could have

saved slightly over $1.5 million by not helping the province pay its bills. If the city continues to publi- cally proclaim that they are being short-changed by the province, they should ensure that they do not subsidize any provincial responsibilities. Fred Morris describes himself as a political activist and sometime political candidate.

program, which

helped kick-start this in- credible neighborhood.

Helping equalize the voices in politics

Pooh and James Bond. We are the birth place of pizza pops and we are proud to be the Polar Bear Capital. One of the greatest achievements of our province is that we were the first in Canada to grant most women the right to vote. It’s been 102 years since Nellie Mc-


Clung and her companions fought for the right to vote. As an MLA, I see how far we’ve come and, also, how far we have yet to go. In the first 100 years since becoming enfranchised, only 51 women have been elected to the Mani- toba legislature. That’s a far cry from what Nellie and her colleagues would like to have predicted. The work of Nellie McClung and her contemporaries has inspired me greatly throughout my career. As an MLA, I introduced the private member’s bill that allowed for the Famous Five monument on the grounds of the legislature. Prior to this, the only woman honoured by a monument on the grounds of the legislature was Queen Vic- toria. Contrast that to the many male statues and you’ll see how under- represented women have been both inside the legislature and on its grounds. Over the years I have been an ardent supporter of empowering women. I’ve shown my support through my participation on the Nellie McClung Foundation, speaking to women’s groups, and ad- vocating in the legislative assembly for women’s is- sues. Recently, I’ve been proud to support a newer

anitoba has a rich history of which to be proud. We are the inspiration for great creative

works, including Winnie-the

what the life of an elected member is like, and oth- er tools needed to run. Events run by Equal Voice aren’t just for women looking to be candidates, but also for women looking to run cam- paigns, become staffers, and work be- hind the scenes. All of these roles are important in politics. The day began with a panel discus-

Myrna Driedger Broadway Journal

sion featuring the four female Win- nipeg city councilors; Jenni Gerbasi, Cindy Gilroy, Janice Lukes, and Devi Sharma. Together they shared with guests their experiences entering poli- tics, notes on what campaigning is like, how to maintain a well-balanced life – or at the very least, how to at- tempt to maintain a well-balanced life, and importantly, the differences be- tween what women politicians versus men politicians will face. Their panel discussion highlighted the reality that

as far as we’ve come from the days when Nellie Mc- Clung and her colleagues were metaphorically beat- ing down the doors to the voting booths, we’ve still a long way to go. Following the city councilors was a nuts and bolts

group in Manitoba, Equal Voice. Equal Voice is a national, multi-partisan organization based out of Ottawa. Manitoba was the last province to create a volunteer-based chapter and since its inception in late 2016 I’ve supported their events. The mandate of this group is to see more women run and more women get elected. A worthy cause! They hold speakers’ nights, bootcamps and minglers. I was honoured to have been their first speaker at a casual coffee house event where I shared my story of be- coming involved in politics. Jan. 27, 2018, was the day before the 102nd an- niversary of Manitoba women gaining the right to vote. It was also the day I hosted Equal Voice Mani- toba’s campaign bootcamp at the legislature. This bootcamp was a daylong event in which women gained insight from former and sitting politicians, backroom politicians, and members of the media, learning about what the campaign trail has in store,

presentation by a seasoned campaigner, Rebecca Blaikie. Rebecca shared her candid and often hilari- ous insights about what it is to campaign. Rebecca herself has run as a candidate and worked on count- less campaigns. Guests appreciated her candor. Media plays a role in the campaign. It is important that candidates understand what to expect. Shan- non Sampert, former Winnipeg Free Press perspec- tives and politics editor and current contributor and political commentator, spoke with guests on what to expect from the media. The afternoon began with three breakout ses-

sions: campaign communications: run by Blake Robert and Dorothy Dobbie; campaign finances, and campaign management. Wrapping up the day was a session on public speaking. Public speaking is an incredibly impor- tant asset to anyone looking to promote themselves, and many studies have shown that self-promotion is something women struggle with much more than men do. Overall the day was a great success. With well over

80 participants, it is wonderful to think there were a few soon-to-be politicians in that room. It is so important to support women in politics. By hosting this campaign bootcamp I hope women have been inspired and encouraged to follow their passion and enter the political arena. Hon. Myrna Driedger is MLA for Charleswood and Speaker of the legislative assembly.

April 2018

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