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Hyperlocal Q&A with Colleen Simard

Colleen Simard is one of 12 bloggers who'll be telling her neighbourhood's stories on Canada Writes' new interactive project Hyperlocal, launching April 3rd. Colleen lives in Winnipeg's North End. 

Tell us about yourself. 
 I’m a writer, crafter, fashion-lover, tea-drinker, and mom of two—a toddler and a teen! I’ve lived in the North End of Winnipeg for over half my life. I moved here with my mom back in the 70s when I was just a small fry. I moved back up north a few times over the years but I always come back here.
Tell us about your neighbourhood. 
I love the people around me, which is really what makes my neighborhood special. North Enders might seem like a tough lot, but we’re really kind people too.
There’s a mix of everything new and old in my community. So many cultures come together here, like they always have. The North End has a colourful history, but a relaxed attitude about itself.
One thing I hate is when people make assumptions about the North End and the people who live here. Some people think my neighborhood is all about crime and poverty, and yet they’ve never even spent any time here.
Haters can hate, but there’s good and bad in everything. That’s life.
What are some of your favourite neighbourhood destinations?
I take my daughter out in her stroller every day once the weather warms up. We walk everywhere because it’s good exercise for me, and fresh air and people watching for her.
We have two gardens we take care of—a veggie one and a medicine-wheel one with traditional aboriginal medicines.
We like to walk to the grocery store, pop some tags at the local thrift stores, and check out St. John’s Park to run in the grass and smell flowers.
How is your neighbourhood changing? 
There’s more infill housing cropping up in the vacant lots around the neighborhood. That means there’s more diversity of people, with more new Canadians making their homes in the North End.

Old businesses are closing and buildings are getting torn down. New businesses are coming up too; hopefully to make things a little better for everyone.

Colleen Simard is a freelance writer and mother of two. She is currently taking a break from her weekly column which appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press for eight years, and was also syndicated across the country. She is Ojibway, Cree, French, and Swedish and has lived in Winnipeg’s North End for most of her life.

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