Why supporting The Forks’ south point pathway is strategic

Rick Frost

CEO, The Winnipeg Foundation

Rick Frost
Rick Frost, The Winnipeg Foundation's CEO.

So what makes a city great? Here’s why I think The Foundation’s recent grant of $500,000 to enhance the South Point entrance of The Forks makes good strategic sense.

First, great cities are widely recognized for doing some things very well. We all know The Forks is a public amenity space second to none. It has only been about 30 years since The Forks emerged from a rail yard and its world class status has been strengthened with every enhancement. The South Point pathway needs to keep pace with the rest of the site. It is also a critical component of the larger vision which creates a walkway loop on both sides of the rivers. The Forks is a jewel and we need to continually shine it.

Second, great cities pursue policies that promote social equity. This not only means harnessing the talents of everyone but also providing equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits offered by city life. Nothing is more equally available than parks and river walks. In this case, there is a reconciliation theme aimed at celebrating the Indigenous contributions to the culture of Winnipeg since the treaties were first signed. Social justice is an explicit part of this investment.

And third, great cities have town centres where citizens can gather to build relationships, share experiences and generate enthusiasm. The Forks defines itself as a gathering place reaching back for generations. As we think about the 2.2 km walking route that is being developed beside our rivers, it is easy to envision people having leisurely conversations – perhaps with friends, perhaps with strangers. This grant clearly enhances our town centre.

Last year, The Winnipeg Foundation made grants benefiting hundreds of local community projects. Like the South Point, every grant has an impact and we thank our generous donors for making this work possible.

Images courtesy of Scattliff + Miller + Murray

South Point entrance of The Forks

South Point entrance of The Forks