I know that in my introduction I warned that I would be devoting quite a bit of space to examples of things communities do wrong.
As important as that is, I find I must start by giving a shout out to some communities, some people, and yes, even some government initiatives that make Manitoba a pretty good place.
In the past two decades I’ve noticed the increased emphasis many municipal governments and local organizations have placed on services and initiatives that are exemplary. I was in Baldur, during and after a snowfall, and was impressed by how quickly the sidewalks were cleared. They know in Baldur that many people walk to the post office and grocery store, or to the bar and café. That same community has a very active Communities in Bloom Committee and it shows. The old railway station grounds, which can be an eyesore in some towns, is now a park with heritage displays and…a washroom. A fine museum and a host of community activities along with a great local paper, all contribute to making Baldur and attractive place to visit or to live.
I picked that example because I happen to know it well, but I could come up with dozens of examples, communities of all sizes where it is obvious that someone - be it local governments, community groups, and individuals – cares.
Even in tiny villages, that were once thriving commercial centres, like Rathwell, Napinka or Lauder, they have taken obvious steps to deal with their change in economic status by renewed efforts to demolish derelict building and clear up vacant lots.
Larger communities such as Boissevain, Deloraine and Virden have taken all sorts of steps…enhanced parks, heritage displays and museums, murals and hiking trails.
Communities of all sizes often have a Senior's Centre or similar gathering place where people can gather for coffee and activities. We have been welcomed in to several of these and always come away with a good story or two, and a sense of the community. The last time we were in Clanwilliam, we were impressed by the sort of mini-museum in the Coffee Shop. In Beulah we stopped to ask directions and were invited to sit down and visit. We could have even accepted the invitation to stay for a supper that was being put on but we were eager to move on to see a local attraction they told us about.
I, of course, could go on, but instead I will mention that I continue to document Manitoba’s small towns in the Past & Present section of