On Monday, March 13, the City of Winnipeg made important progress in its pledge to rename Bishop Grandin Boulevard.
Abinojii Mikanah is the proposed name for Bishop Grandin Boulevard. It is an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) phrase that translates to "Children's Roadway," representing the journey of all children, including residential school survivors, towards reconciliation.
Awasisak Mēskanow is the proposed name for the Bishop Grandin Trail. It is an Ininimowin (Cree) phrase, also meaning "Children's Roadway." The names for these parallel paths were chosen to represent the unity between Ojibwe and Cree Nations.
On Monday, March 13, the City of Winnipeg's Executive Policy Committee voted 5-1 in favour of the proposed renaming.
The proposed names would contribute to the renewal of Indigenous languages targeted by residential schools. Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin was an architect of this school system on the Canadian prairies. According to the City of Winnipeg's Indigenous Relations Division, the names are intended to "honour Indigenous experience, culture, and history."
"What we are wanting to do is honour all the children, survivors that came before us, the children that never made it home."
On March 23, the city council will vote on the motion to rename the trail, to endorse the renaming of boulevard, and to prepare an estimate of the associated costs. The estimated costs would later be presented to the next budget review process for consideration. The Bishop Grandin Greenway is a charity distinct from the Bishop Grandin Trail. We continue to support the city's renaming process. As it advances, we are engaging with city officials to inform how we proceed.
rocks on the greenway 2022
Rocks on the Greenway is back and bigger than ever!
Friends and volunteers have painted rocks and hidden them away on the Greenway between the Seine River and the Red River.
Explore the Greenway and keep an eye out for a flash of colour. It might be one of the rocks!
If you find one, let us know! Email us, Tweet us @BishopGrandin, or let know on Facebook at "Friends of Bishop Grandin Greenway"
2022 spring clean-up
As a long cold snowy winter dragged into a long cold rainy spring, the volunteer board at Bishop Grandin Greenway began planning for our annual spring clean-up on May 14th. Weather is always uncertain, but this year it seemed particularly so. Unsurprisingly, as clean-up day approached, temperatures were down, winds were up, and rain was in the forecast.
Regardless of the forecast, we knew the community would come through. About three dozen volunteers showed up to help on a cool breezy morning. The rain was kind enough to hold off until after the clean-up, and the event ended up being one of our most productive yet.
We hauled two full trailers of garbage to the landfill, and the City of Winnipeg picked up some additional garbage bags filled by a dedicated volunteer working overtime. Approximately 130 bags were filled!
The usual assortment of items were collected -- fast food packaging, car parts and so on. Masks and hand sanitizer packets are now a frequently found items, and needles ("sharps" as they're sometimes known) have been found as well.
Included among the volunteers that Saturday were local elected representatives including Jamie Moses, MLA for St. Vital, Rochelle Squires, MLA for Riel, and Brian Mayes, Councillor for St. Vital ward.
We give a big thanks to everyone who helped make this year's clean-up another success. It is always inspiring to see people come together to make the community a better place!
**NOTE: a pair of gloves was left behind. If they're yours, let us know. We still have them!
Food forest visualization
Our volunteer Master Gardener created an awesome video walkthrough of what the Bittersweet Way food forest and berm might look like when complete. Click on the graphic below and have a look!
Phase 1 was planted last fall, and we hope to work on Phase 2 later this year!
You can support our project with a tax deductible donation through our DONATE page or by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOD FOREST - PART 1
We were happy to get our Food Forest project kicked off this past October with the first phase of planting.
Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust defines a food forest, or a forest garden, as a "three-dimensional garden with useful plants." The plants are chosen so that they interact with one another in a beneficial and sustainable way. Some may produce food that people can eat, or berries and seeds for birds. Some may include traditional medicines, or flowers to support pollinators.
The unique project that our Greenway is planning includes three separate zones -- an area adjacent to the Commemoratives Circle at Bittersweet Way that features plants native to the area that Indigenous communities would have known and used; a second area that includes native plants as well as trees or shrubs that settlers may have brought over when they established their homesteads, like the one on this exact spot; and a third section with a mix of plants representative of current biodiversity in Manitoba.
Our planting this fall was in the second of the three zones, and included edible fruits like saskatoon, cranberry and raspberry, among other larger trees and smaller shrubs that will form the basis of this layered forest garden.
The Master Gardeners who helped plan this project were also instrumental in executing it, with a small team of helpers to spread 18 cubic yards of mulch and soak down the plants to help them get established. The small mountain of mulch, generously donated by Tommy's Natural Mulch, was needed to retain moisture and suppress weeds and grasses so that the plantings could thrive.
We are seeking donations to help us continue this project. Funds are needed to purchase plants for the other two phases of the food forest as well as bringing in soil and a water truck as needed. If you are interested in helping out please visit our Donation page. You can also contact us if you would like to get involved.
Thank you to all who helped with this fall planting. We are looking forward to doing more next year!
What's in a name
When the founders of Bishop Grandin Greenway started a non-profit organization to build a greenspace for the community, it seemed like the obvious choice: name it after the road that runs along its entire length. At the time, there was not a lot of thought given to who Bishop Grandin was.
We now know so much more. in 2009, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission started a 6 year journey travelling the country, hearing personal experiences of the Indian Residential School survivors and documenting the impacts.
It has become known since then that Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin was one of the architects of the Residential School system. The recent discovery of unmarked graves at former schools across Canada has prompted calls for the removal of his name from various landmarks -- a call that we support. On June 3 we made the following statement:
The volunteer board of Bishop Grandin Greenway Inc. acknowledges the harms of residential schools and the role Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin had in their establishment. We strongly support the City of Winnipeg's efforts to explore the removal of Bishop Grandin from Winnipeg landmarks, in the spirit of reconciliation.
The City of Winnipeg has initiated consultations with respect to the renaming of the Boulevard. Those consultations will likely lead to a new name for our Greenway as well -- perhaps the same as the Boulevard or perhaps something else, but we want to respect the consultation process and allow that to unfold.
There is no firm timeline around the selection of a new name, but we expect a report to council with a recommendation this fall. We anticipate working with the City during the renaming process, and will report back to you when more information is available.
2021 SPRING CLEAN-UP
We had nice weather and a great turn-out for our annual spring clean-up event May 8.
All told, about 50 volunteers showed up to help clean up the greenway including families with young kids, elected office holders, long-time time supporters and new. Together we collected over 250 kgs of garbage from the greenway plus a large metal pole that was recycled.
This was our second clean-up of the pandemic. After having a socially-distanced "clean-up week" last year we went back to a single day event this year. We found that people look forward to the event. It's a great way to engage with the community in a safe way and be a part of something positive.
We know that others have gone out to clean up parts of the Greenway on their own as well. All these efforts combined will make Bishop Grandin Greenway a beautiful place to spend a bit of time this summer!
The weather was ideal on Saturday, September 19 for the official opening of Bittersweet Way, our initiative to enhance the Greenway with a commemorative circle, signage and landscaping. Seeds of the project began growing 5 years ago, shovels hit the ground in 2019, and finally this fall we had an opportunity to show off our work and thank all of those who helped make it happen.
To wrap up the event, bittersweet vine, the namesake of the project, was planted near the commemorative circle. If you have not had a chance yet, you should visit the circle to read the plaques to take in the rich history of St.Vital and the former Lot 47 on which you stand.
Read more about the event in the Winnipeg Sun or watch CTV's coverage.
Thank you to Jamie Moses for being at the grand opening and recognizing Bishop Grandin Greenway's 20th anniversary!
PLANTING ON BITTERSWEET WAY
We here at Bishop Grandin Greenway are anticipating the official opening of Bittersweet Way the morning of September 19. It will be a small and safe ceremony allowing for plenty of physical distancing, but it will be an important milestone for us. A great deal of thought and planning went into the project including the commemorative circle, which tells important stories about the history of St.Vital.
The more visible part of the project is the retaining wall signage, right at the intersection of St.Mary's Rd. The berm, in behind the retaining wall, is in the process of being transformed into a naturalized area with native plants, wildflowers and grasses. We just finished our first phase of planting 100 native plants and grasses, and will continue next spring with many more! It will take a few years to get established, but we're off to a good start thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers and the donations of generous supporters.
There is much work yet to do, but with the assistance of the Manitoba Master Gardeners, Winnipeg Wildflower Project and Prairie Originals, the end result should be terrific. Visit our Donation page to help contribute to this project, or let us know if you're interested in getting directly involved!
Working from home got you down? Spending to much time inside, sitting?
As we grapple with social distancing and our active options are limited, don’t undervalue the power of walking. Medical professionals have proven that it has substantial health benefits -- physical as well as mental. We know that it helps improve mood, remedy mild depression and reduce physiological stress indicators; not to mention cardiovascular benefits such as reducing blood pressure, weight management and lower blood sugar. It can also aid digestion and even help you sleep better at night.
Where you plan to walk can play a significant role in your experience. A large body of evidence links the benefits of green space to mental health. Green urban areas serve as a respite from traffic and concrete while aiding in relaxation and reducing stress. According to the World Health Organization, urban green spaces are essential to human well-being, both physically and emotionally.
Years back I worked with young students in Grade 4 who were “opting out” of their Physical Education classes. The purpose of the project was to understand why these kids were avoiding a class promoting physical activity. The kids helped me draw up a list of all kinds of activities and, by secret ballot, ranked them, with the top 10 being the ones they’d do.
I learned a lot from these kids! One lesson was “reframing”. On the bottom of the list -- the thing they least wanted to do -- was “walking”, but what topped the list was “hiking”! What was the difference, I asked? Well we WALKED down to the nearby river, WALKED along the banks while we skipped rocks, balanced on logs, and checked out the water looking for frogs and other critters. They reframed walking to be a different experience from hiking.
The lesson: Be mindful of what brings you joy and "reframe" your walk to be that experience: golfing, bird watching, geocaching, power walking, walking to music, checking out Winnipeg Rocks, mindful walking, walking your errands … walk the Greenway.
Bishop Grandin Greenway is a 5 km swath of green; a deliberate contrast to the concrete and the cars driving just to the south of it. A linear park ... an east-west active transportation corridor between the Red and Seine rivers. It is lined with grasses, burr oak, aspen, and river bottom trees; enhanced by Apakway, Eagles and Natures’ Haven ponds -- refuges for water fowl, and marsh and grasslands birds. Travel through a diversity of habitat zones: aquatic, wetlands, lowlands and uplands containing plant and animal life native to the area. You can walk it, skate it or ride your bike, but regardless of how you choose to experience it, you will nurture your physical, social as well as mental health.
Get up! Get out and get going!
Board members post updates about events and activities on the Greenway.