I love reading about history, but once in a while when you go digging into the past, you really learn something as disturbing as it is fascinating. We always start our neighbourhood posts with some basic knowledge of the area backed with some Internet (AKA “lazy”) research. Our Design Intern, Rebecca, from Winnipeg Technical College was reading up on this week’s entry when she came across this article by blogger Reid Dickie.
Who knew that a pleasant suburban neighbourhood in Winnipeg was once a shantytown populated by poor Métis families and rail-riding transients.
VELOCITYWG #9 is “Grant Park” by Design Intern, Rebecca Waczko
Rooster Town was the colourful name for the grim Depression-era village which formed on the outskirts of South Winnipeg. No road connection or running water, no city services, just a rail-line which provided transport in and out of the surrounding bush, and the occasional box-car sold to the poor as makeshift homes.
It’s hard to believe that just eight years after Mayor Stephen Juba had the last residents evicted and the last traces of Rooster Town were bulldozed away, Winnipeg introduced the Western Hemisphere to the state-of-the-art Pan Am Pool built for the 1967 Pan-American Games.
When given the task of designing this week’s logo for Grant Park, I thought it was going to be very challenging. But once I started to dig into the history of the area it proved to be quite interesting. I chose to use the Grant’s Scottish tartan since Grant Avenue was named to commemorate Cuthbert James Grant. When I found out the remarkable history about Rooster Town, I felt it only right to pay tribute to this lost suburb. Now every time I visit the mall I’ll find it hard not to remember what it once was.
My fondest memories of Grant Park almost always involve lining up for a hotly-anticipated film (such as 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) For a fine afternoon/evening out, I suggest a nice espresso or a late at LaGrotta Market on Taylor and Waverly, take in the 60s and 70s architecture of the apartments and churches on Grant Avenue, peruse the endless selection of engaging titles at McNally Robinson, and finish off with a holiday blockbuster at the Empire 8.
If it’s a clear night and not too cold, enjoy a little star gazing behind Grant Park High. Listen for the train-whistle and think of Rooster Town.
VELOCITYWG is a weekly design project: simple exercises in unfettered creativity with a common theme that’s near and dear to our hearts: celebrating the streets, suburbs, and cityscape of Manitoba’s capital.
VELOCITYWG, Rebranding One Great City, continues next week.