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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
For years the team at Bishop Grandin Greenway has organized a Spring Clean-up event in the spring that has brought the community together and removed thousands of pounds of garbage from the Greenway.
This year, with the need to avoid personal contact to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we thought it best to cancel the formal event. However, we still want to clean up the Greenway, and some of you have expressed an interest in helping as well. Therefore we have arranged for a Spring Clean-Up Week! Here's how it works:
From Sunday May 3 to Saturday May 9
THANK YOU FOR HELPING!
Bishop Grandin Greenway is looking for new volunteers! We have 2 new board positions available, and if that's not for you, we are always looking for friends to help with miscellaneous tasks around the Greenway.
The new board positions are for Community Relations Volunteer and Fund Development Officer. See the files below for descriptions of these volunteer board positions, as well as the general community volunteer role, and fill out the volunteer application form if you're interested in joining our team! We'll keep this up until the end of December, and will review in early January.
If you walked along the Greenway in the late summer or fall, you may have noticed what appeared to be a bed of straw just off the trail west of St.Mary’s Rd. What could the purpose of that be? Let us tell you!
The bed of straw is actually a wildflower garden plot, planted by a new organization called Winnipeg Wildflower Project. The garden plot contains several different varieties of wildflowers and grasses sourced from Prairie Originals, and the straw helps the young plants get established by suppressing weeds and preserving soil moisture. Once established, seed from the plot will be collected to grow native grasses and wildflowers elsewhere in the city
Nicole Webster and Kelly Leask, the coordinators of Winnipeg Wildflower Project, approached Bishop Grandin Greenway about the project after their original location, the former site of Crampton’s Market further down Bishop Grandin Blvd, fell through. The plot was established with the help of a grant from Taking It Global in partnership with the Government of Canada/Canada Service Corps, as well as the assistance of several volunteers.
With the onset of winter the plot will soon be covered in snow, but we look forward to seeing the garden develop next spring and will bring you more updates as that happens. If you’re on Instagram, follow @wpgwildflowerproject for great photos and videos of the project as it progresses.