Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - April 10, 2004, Winnipeg, Manitoba
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2004
BY KENT SMITH
the oldest in
Like L.A., �Peg must put people first
HEN I left Winnipeg to move to Los Angeles in 1999, my downtown col�leagues gave me a street sign that read �Portage and Main� to commemorate my time in the city. The sign now has a prominent place in my office that overlooks the L.A. skyline.
This famous intersection contains the many stories and legends that col�lectively give Winnipeg its uniqueness.
Shut off from pedestrians since the late �70s, that corner has unfortunately lost a lot of its lustre as a place for peo�ple.
Los Angeles made many of the same mistakes when it allowed vehicles to take precedence over urban spaces by building freeways and creating Bunker Hill � high-rise towers shut off from the rest of the city � in its downtown.
For many years, unclean, unsafe streets meant that Angelinos experi�enced downtown from inside their cars. Now, with the help of business improvement districts that are clean�ing up the streets, Angelinos are get�ting out of their vehicles to experience
a new world. In the last five years,
JEFF DE BOOY
downtown has seen the opening of Sta�ples Center, home of the Kings, Lakers
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
and Clippers, and the transformation of the warehouses and sweatshops of the garment area into the L.A. Fashion District, a thriving pedestrian environ�ment housing designer studios and showrooms.
Pedestrian traffic in the district has increased dramatically over the last five years. More than 200 new stores have opened in the last two years, including a variety of restaurants and caf�s that are creating a truly vibrant downtown.
And downtown Los Angeles is attracting residents again, which was merely a dream only five years ago. Over 1,000 units opened last year and 3,000 units will debut in 2004.
We started by putting the pedestrian Kildonan Presbyterian Church is was just staggering,� Mouser says. such names as Bannatyne, McDermot,
By Carolin Vesely first. Los Angeles has gone from the Winnipeg�s second oldest church � it Indeed, the Kildonan Presbyterian Pritchard, Henderson, Polson, Suther�freeway capital of America to placing opened in 1854 � and only one of two Church and Cemetery are among the land, Salter and Templeton.
63 out of 65 cities in freeway miles per
that predate Confederation. (The few remaining physical reminders of Lt. Allan A. McLeod, one of thecapita. Now that a new mass transit other is St. James Anglican Church, settlers� faith in their new home and youngest recipients of the Victoria system is in place (with express buses built in 1853.) of the hardships they endured � from Cross, was buried in the cemetery inthat control the traffic lights), using It�s here, too, that the settlers the 1852 spring flood that delayed 1918. He returned from the war onlypublic transit is once again a viable buried their dead � beginning with construction of their church for a to die in the 1918 global influenza epi�option.
little Marion Munroe, age seven year, to the various epidemics that demic. Also interred there is the Rev-Design can completely transform a months, 21 days, on Jan. 25, 1854. Her wiped out the most vulnerable among erend John Black, first Presbyteriansite, and most importantly, help cap�weathered headstone remains in its them. minister to Ruperts Land.
ture the spirit of the place. The Forks original spot near the church. The grave markers are signposts of As for the church � which neversuccessfully wove history, public Kildonan Presbyterian Cemetery is early life in the Red River valley, says had running water or sewer service �spaces and modern commercial devel�not only the final resting place for Richard Graydon, history buff and a it remains much as it was when,opment to create a truly wondrous Selkirk settlers, but for many of the volunteer with the Kildonan Presby-according to a plaque on the insidespace along the rivers.
founders and most prominent citizens terian Cemetery Board since 1973. wall, it opened �free of debt,� on Jan.
Let the designers use their skill and of Manitoba and Winnipeg. �One thing that really gets your 5, 1854. The congregation reportedlyimagination to bring Portage and Main HEY came here �In the evening, in spring, you can attention when you walk around here footed the $1,050 construction cost.
back to Winnipeggers, so we can all hear the frogs,� says Marlene Mouser, is the number of children buried Modelled after the settlers� homeexperience it.
from Scotland in
whose great-grandfather, Donald between 1854 and the late 1890s,� says parishes in Scotland, the Kildonan1812 on a wing and Murray, was buried in the cemetery in Graydon, who also lives near the Presbyterian Church boasts three-
Kent Smith is executive director of the
a prayer � and a 1888. She was baptized and married in cemetery. foot-thick stone walls and 18-foot ceil-
L.A. Fashion District.
Kildonan Presbyterian Church and But alongside such tragic ings. Six Gothic windows, with
promise that their church
currently lives across the street from reminders are headstones of those elaborate stained-glass designs, pro-
Sitelines is an open column on
would be re-established in it. who wrote our history. vided light and ventilation.
Winnipeg design and architecture,
She is active on the Kildonan Ceme-�There are Hudson Bay Company �The settlers carried limestone
written by local experts
the new land with a Presby�
tery Board, and has spent the past founders, street names, war heroes, from Little Mountain and Stony Moun�
terian minister. decade poring over old documents to chiefs of police, professors, judges tain,� Graydon says.
What the Selkirk settlers got keep the cemetery records as com-and a famous author (Charles Gordon, A 16-inch oak beam spans the width
plete and accurate as possible. �The a.k.a. Ralph Connor) buried here,� he of the church. �That�s basically what
� and it took 40 years � was
number of stillbirths I came across says, pointing to headstones bearing holds the church together,� Graydon
says, adding that a steel beam was
inserted in the 1980s to support the
This swampy, 300-acre tract
aging structure. �Where they would
of land off the north end of
get a tree that size, who knows.� The six-sided pulpit remains,
Main Street was later named
although the three large box pews
that once flanked it were replaced
with regular bench-style seating.
Where Frog Plain was once a hub
It�s here that the hardy Scots
built the stone church that
for marriages, baptisms and burials,
served as their spiritual centre
150 years later it stands mostly silent, save for graveside visitors and the
while they endured floods and
occasional funeral. A special service
pestilence to create the agri�
is held each summer for relatives of
Winnipeggers buried there.
There are some 6,000 plots in the
cultural community on which
the city of Winnipeg was built.
Kildonan Presbyterian Cemetery, with 150 or so still available.
L.A. Fashion District.