I hopped in the car with no set plan for walking tonight. I went south on Archibald past Marion, into the eastern edge of St Boniface, turning off at a randomly-picked street. I know that area is caught between busy, often-industrial Archibald and the Seine river, but I have never walked the streets.
It was a pretty street I picked, but that would have been hard not to do. I think they are all charming. This is an established neighbourhood. It looks like a post-war building boom area to me, and through delightful chat with Dean, a homeowner I met about halfway through the walk, that was confirmed. The houses are small, the lots generous. Trees canopy all the streets. Like most older areas, many improvements have been made to houses and yards, which contribute to the personality of the street. New developments usually bore me, since the individual homeowners have yet to add their stamps. (I worry with some of the newest communities that there is no space available to add any unique features.)
Dean and I chatted for probably ten minutes, about cats, the neighbourhood, the river, fences. He was my second visit. A young couple with a dog stopped to chat before I was off the first block. A teen girl and (probably) her brother also gave me a few minutes, a little information and a warm goodbye. They had obviously just trekked to the nearby Tim Hortons (the box of donuts was a dead giveaway). An older couple was sitting in a gorgeous side yard, relaxing by their outdoor fireplace. Big waves for me. Very friendly neighbourhood.
And why not. They live within a stone’s throw of the centre of a very large city, yet they are tucked away in a mini paradise. It’s not just that the streets are pretty, they all dead end at the river. Dead ends are quiet. Dead ends that end at a river have a fringe of trees that eats even the ambient city sound. One street I found has basically no street. Access is by back lane, and out the front they have a sidewalk, a lot of green, then the river. The street has a little stub of gravel at each end, but just a sidewalk between.
Another street, Dean’s in fact, has a bridge at the end of it. A walk/bike bridge called Tremblay. The girl with the donuts said it’s been there since she was a toddler. The bridge connects the Archibald side of St Boniface with the Youville St (I always think Whoville of Grinch fame) Des Meurons St area. With the Red and Assiniboine rivers commanding such a presence in Winnipeg, it’s easy to forget that the Seine also runs right through the city. It empties into the Red just north of Provencher Boulevard. Aside: I will have that spot for you before long. The walk along the Red and then the Seine is one of my favourite walks in the city.
St Boniface Walking Details
I started at Gareau St, just off Archibald St. My walk was just under 4km, but you could easily do more or less.
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