North End Revitalization

Dozens of people – from the elderly to the newly born – pile into a board room at Merchants Corner on Selkirk Avenue on Friday night. Organizer Kyle Mason welcomes them to the community meeting where people were invited to brainstorm solutions to issues in the North End.

“So, how did we end up here?” Mason asks them.

Over the past few years, a lot has changed in their community, from businesses opening, to community organizations closing, to youth movements picking up speed.

But more recently, the North End has seen an increase in violence and a decrease in resources. So the community decided to come together and do something about it.

“The last year has not been the greatest,” said Mason, who was the executive director of the now-shuttered North End Family Centre.

“But we know meetings like this can really do amazing things. This is going to be the beginning of something new.”
Community activist Michael Redhead Champagne speaks to a group of North End residents at an I Heart the North End Meeting at Merchants Corner on March 15.
The group focused on what they’re missing in their community, and on what’s going well.

Community groups like the Mama Bear Clan patrol are important fixtures in the North End, they said.

The volunteer-run organization meets twice a week at the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre. Mama Bear Clan captain Karen Thomas said it’s important that they don’t make vulnerable people in the community come to them for resources, which can be a barrier.

“When we get out there and talk to people, it’s the mere fact that they’re not invisible,” said Thomas. “This is us meeting them on their terms, whatever that may be.”


Revitalization in the North End
How are people in the North End taking action to improve their community?
New businesses in the North End
How is one coffee shop showing people all the North End has to offer?
Hands of Hope: A long-standing community resource
North End non-profit Hands of Hope has been providing people with free furniture and household goods since 2002. It's an example of something the community says is working well.
Overcoming challenges at the Up Shoppe
In December, the North End Women's Centre's Up Shoppe was broken into three times in a week. How was the community impacted?
The evolution of Merchants Corner
How did a crime hotspot become a community gathering space?
Interview with NECRC
How are youth in the North End stepping up to strengthen their community?