West End, Winnipeg
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
The West End is a mostly residential area of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is bordered by Route 62 (Osborne, Memorial, Colony, and Balmoral Streets) on the east, St. James Street on the west, the Assiniboine River on the south, and Notre Dame Avenue on the north. It includes the neighbourhoods of Armstrong's Point, Colony, Daniel McIntyre, Minto, Sargent Park, Spence, St. Matthews, West Broadway, and Wolseley.
The area is ethnically diverse as is evidenced by the Philippine, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Chinese, East Indian and Thai restaurants that line both Ellice and Sargent Avenues. 2006 census data shows the West End as 58% Caucasian, 20% Filipino, 11% Aboriginal, 2% Black, and 9% other visible minorities (statistics do not include neighbourhoods East of Sherbrook Street). Historically, the area was home to large German, Scandinavian, and Icelandic communities, though it has become more ethnically diverse in recent decades.
Contrast between neighbourhoods in the West End is extreme. Armstrong's Point is one of Winnipeg's most affluent neighbourhoods with an average household income of $90,500. West Broadway is located directly north of Armstrong's Point, and has an average household income of $24,500.
In 2006, the population of the West End was 45,565.
The area was originally a part of the Parish of St. James until the boundary of the City of Winnipeg was extended to St. James Street from Maryland Street (formerly Boundary Road) in 1882. Development of the area as a working and middle class residential area began in the late 19th century and continued through the 1920s until the area was completely built up. The area developed rapidly due to its proximity to Downtown Winnipeg, and, unlike Winnipeg's North End, the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway did not impose a physical barrier between the West End and Downtown. The area was also well served by the city's street railway system with lines on Portage Avenue, Sargent Avenue, Sherbrook Street, and Arlington Street. The industrial area located adjacent to the railway spur between Wall and Erin Streets provided employment for many West End residents.
The West End was considered Ward Two in the Old City of Winnipeg and was seen as the "swing riding" between the affluent and conservative Ward One and overwhelmingly socialist Ward Three, which comprised the North End and Elmwood.
Parts of the area declined in the years following World War II as many families moved to Winnipeg's suburbs and some of the housing stock was converted to rooming houses and became dilapidated. During the 1970s, crime became a serious problem in portions of the West End.
Since the 1980s, a notable revitalization of the neighbourhoods has been made. Numerous urban beautification projects have been undertaken and in 1987, The West End Cultural Centre was founded in an old church at Ellice Avenue and Sherbrook Street. The venue attracts 30,000 people a year to various events, mostly musical shows. The importance of a healthy and vibrant West End to the future success of Downtown Winnipeg has also been recognized.
Much of the West End has experienced a sharp renaissance in recent years. Between 2000 to 2011, average home price in the West End shot up much more quickly and drastically than Winnipeg's average. West End homes rose 361% in value, whereas the city of Winnipeg average home price rose 272% in that same time-frame.
The commercial area in the Polo Park district has expanded rapidly beginning in the 1990s with the building of big-box retail outlets, restaurants, and a major hotel. It has now supplanted Downtown Winnipeg as the city's main commercial area. The Polo Park area was once home to the Winnipeg Arena and Canad Inns Stadium.
Attractions in the area include, the University of Winnipeg, Vimy Ridge Memorial Park, Omand's Creek and Park, Westview Park, and the Sargent Park Recreation Complex, as well as many houses, apartment buildings, schools, and an armoury with significant architectural merit. Portage Avenue is the site in the summer months of the "Sunday Night Cruise" by automobile enthusiasts, which while delighting the participants, raises the ire of many West End residents due to the noise, and the all too frequent practice of drag racing.
Both Ellice Avenue and Sargent Avenue between Balmoral and Arlington (and even further west) are well-known[according to whom?] in Winnipeg for having a large number a large variety of ethnic restaurants and stores.