Winnipeggers clean up downtown for Earth Day

The snow is going and the mess is showing, so Winnipeggers are cleaning up in downtown.
CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa is joined by current and past members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to clean parts of downtown Winnipeg on April 22. (Marcy Markusa/CBC)

The snow is going and the mess is showing, so Winnipeggers are cleaning up in downtown.

Dennis Rondeau, a member of the Downtown Biz's Metro Enviro-Team, takes part in the Earth Day clean-up on Tuesday. (Alana Cole/CBC)
Information Radio host Marcy Markusa is among a handful of local media and sports celebrities joining the Downtown BIZ’s 9th annual Earth Day Cleanup.

More than 400 people, in fact, are hitting the streets in honour of National Earth Day.

“A clean and green downtown is vital for any healthy city,” StefanoGrande, executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, stated in a news release.

“This event connects business people with our Metro Enviro-Team so they can see firsthand the important work they do, and how valuable it is to have a downtown that is spotless, clean and inviting.”

The morning shift, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. focused on the north part of downtown, starting at Thunderbird House, 715 Main Street.

The second shift goes from 2 to 4:30 p.m. with a focus on south downtown, starting at the Millennium Library Park, 251 Donald Street.

Anyone interested in joining the cleanup effort is welcome to meet up with the crews.

Students at John M. King school did their part by picking up litter such as broken tree branches during afternoon recess. The elementary school students said it was important to help out.

"You can help the earth by cleaning up," remarked one student. "My teacher told me that if we clean up the earth it will be better," added another student.

Brittany Ariss-Ferris, teacher at John M. King, spoke to the importance of getting students to care about the planet and involved in the clean-up effort.

"I think it's really important, because as they grow older they're going to be our future," Ferris said. "We just really promote community awareness and community responsibility, and that goes hand-in-hand with cleaning up after yourself, cleaning up after others and taking care of the planet we all live in."

With spring temperatures melting the snow away, a big mess has been left behind, says Stephanie Voyce, the Downtown BIZ's manager of place-making, cleanliness and transportation.

"The snow having just melted, and all that litter that accumulates during the winter appearing, it's really going to be great to have some extra hands on board to clean up," she said.

More than 900 kilograms of litter was picked up at last year's cleanup, but Downtown BIZ officials say they expect to pick up even more this time around.

Volunteers at Tuesday's cleanup will receive free coffee and donuts from Tim Hortons, colourful bandanas and cleaning supplies. Participants will also have the chance to win one of two bicycles and gift cards courtesy of Tim Hortons.

The first 150 participants at each location will also receive a free Tim Hortons travel mug, in addition to 150 plantable trees.

As well, more than 240 Goldeyes tickets will also be handed out.

Voyce says the cumulative effort of all Winnipeggers to be mindful of waste disposal makes a big difference.

"So whether it's going outside and putting your cigarette out in a receptacle, or going outside your business and sweeping the sidewalk and putting out a flower planter, it's all those little things that really add up to make our downtown a vibrant place to be."