A letter to the city

Dear Winnipeg,  I love you – and I want you to be able to love yourself

Dear Winnipeg,

How I wish that you and I could work things out. I wish I could get through to you, instead of being met with resistance. You have so much potential.

You are a vibrant city, bursting with many active, creative communities! You are ethnically, culturally, politically and religiously diverse. This is what makes you so unique! You have such a wonderful face, full of brick and cornice-work alongside progressive steel and glass.

Your roads follow the meander of the rivers, of trade long dormant to the currents of commerce. Your breath comes through dense green lungs that leave us sheltered from the intense summer sun.

Winnipeg, you don’t see your beauty! You are constantly down on yourself, always identifying your worst qualities. You only see decaying bricks when you want progress. Your idea of moving forward is demolition to make way for a landscape of blighted parking lots, left for the far-flung suburban dwelling workers who begrudgingly come downtown to earn a living.

Civic politics to you are like pulling teeth! Even though there are cavities in the system, you prefer to hold on to the worn incisors that have long since lost their bite. The remnants you still have are subtly cannibalizing you, and you don’t even see it.
Incumbency may not be a terrible thing, Winnipeg; but you raise it like it is the only shining option for the future. Oh! How I wish you would stop and look at tomorrow with foresight, not hindsight.

Winnipeg, you don’t see your beauty! You are constantly down on yourself, always identifying your worst qualities.

Winnipeg, I love you. I want you to be able to love yourself. You have made progress, slowly, like a toddler taking its first steps. And I applaud you for it, but don’t stop! You might have some bumps in the road, when construction projects lag longer than needed. But let’s not keep repeating the same quick fixes. As you get older, you must realize that pouring the same old mix into our problems won’t last past the spring. You must see yourself with fresh eyes, from new angles.

You are a beautiful city Winnipeg; do not give up on yourself. Once you were called the “Chicago of the North.” I know that the promise of prosperity was destroyed by Panama; that time of glory is past. There is promise on the horizon and you need to seize it. Winnipeg, you are on the cusp of a new future, you are everything you need.

I don’t know if you’ll listen or not. I don’t know if you see the same things in yourself that I do. I just want you to know that I believe in you, even if you don’t. I believe in what you can be, even if you don’t see it.

Timothy Dyck is a fine arts student at the University of Manitoba.

Published in Volume 64, Number 26 of The Uniter (May 27, 2010)

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