By Bob Turner
My first offering for 2019 is not a moving story, but it is a piece about moving.
Why Selkirk? Two years ago this month, my wife Cynthia and I moved to our home in St. Andrews, just on the fringe of Selkirk. Time and again, we have been asked why we chose to come here. Each time we explain, it seems our list of positive reasons grows. Most of them are reasons that make Red River North a good place to visit. So it occurs to me they are Red River Reasons.
The first reason for our move was personal: paramount was proximity to our daughter in Lockport and a son in north-east Winnipeg. Being close to Winnipeg without having to dodge a lot of traffic was a definite plus. But we quickly realized that there were many other factors that made Red River North appealing.
An abundance of shopping opportunities is important, whatever your age. Selkirk and the surrounding area has a full complement of retail establishments, from automobiles to art, fast food to furniture, banks to building supplies, credit unions to clothing, bakeries to butcher shops, as well as office supplies, pet stores, craft and paint stores, and much more. There are very few goods or services you have to go outside of the region to access.
The number of unique businesses in the area is a real attraction. We were already acquainted with some that have been here for years and even decades: Skinner’s, Packers Fashion, The Half Moon Drive In, Keystone Source for Sports, Steeltown Ford, Home Hardware, and Selkirk Tire were all familiar to us. What blew us away was the number of exciting new ventures that greeted us: Three 6 Tea, The Mighty Kiwi, and Ubuntu Café and Bakery (to name just a few), and several more have appeared since we moved here.
AND no parking meters! WooHoo!
It is not only convenient – and pleasant – to have so many local retail establishments to chose from, more importantly, there’s no shortage of healthcare, wellness, and professional services available: from the elegant new hospital, to optical and dental clinics, veterinarians and plenty of other services catering specifically to the needs of families and seniors. The range of health and lifestyle services includes clinics, doctors, dentists, orthodontists, physiotherapists, opticians, chiropractors, naturopaths, lawyers, accountants, hairstylists, and aestheticians.
The various amenities and recreation facilities, so easily taken for granted, are outstanding schools, parks, pools, curling and skating rinks, tennis courts, bowling, judo, yoga, walking and cycling paths and trails, fitness facilities and classes, dance studios, and a golf course.
This area truly has it all!
Did you know that the drinking water here was recently rated as the second best in western Canada?
Opportunities for self- enlightenment and pursuing artistic endeavours abound. We have a beautiful new state-of-the-art library with its Urban Prairie, an active community arts center, The Gwen Fox Gallery, several community choral groups, and many other opportunities to pursue musical interests. A wide variety of denominations of churches provide ample opportunity for spiritual fulfillment too.
Fish stories…We had never realized the significance of the “Chuck the Channel Cat” statue on Main Street, until we moved here. Not only does it have a moving history behind it, but it is a reminder of just how big sport fishing is in the area. All summer long, the Red River is teeming with boats and the shores are dotted with fishers. Come winter, the river becomes a village of ice fishing shacks. This truly is The Catfish Capital of North America.
In addition to fishing, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts have a field day with the hundreds of pelicans along the Red River (The Lockport Air Force) and the geese and other waterfowl commuting from the river to nearby Oak Hammock Marsh. Riparian forest shelters a plethora of songbirds and raptors. Eagles and woodpeckers are sighted year-round. Deer, fox, hares and rabbits are frequent visitors.
For the sports enthusiast: groomed trails beckon those who love cross-country skiing; hiking and biking trails abound for those who are so inclined; and there are dedicated trails for snowmobiling. The Selkirk Golf Club is just one of many in the area; Grand Beach and the East Beaches are renowned, and for those who want to enjoy the water without driving up to the lake, there is Selkirk Park, featuring Manitoba’s largest outdoor pool and splash pad.
And for those who like a different kind of “game” there is the South Beach Casino.
In the past number of years, dozens of movies have been filmed in this area. The successful CBC series “Burden of Truth”, was produced here last winter, and has raised the public profile of the region, Another movie shoot is just wrapping up now and more are scheduled in the future. Who knows what may come next?
My next instalment will offer our second reason for choosing Red River North – I look forward to sharing it with you and hope you drop back here soon to Red River Reasons.