Doors Open

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS -

In ad­di­tion to its en­vi­able arts pro­gram­ming — which has helped keep folks em­ployed and housed — Red Road Lodge helps in­di­vid­u­als build life skills, and as­sists in find­ing per­ma­nent hous­ing and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. And thanks to funds raised by the Down­town BIZ’s an­nual CEO Sleep Out, the lodge is able to of­fer a work pro­gram in which par­tic­i­pants com­plete two three-hour shifts per week, earn­ing $200 a month, the amount ex­empt from em­ploy­ment and in­come as­sis­tance (EIA). They learn about money man­age­ment so that, when the pro­gram wraps, they have some sav­ings. “They were so in­vested in their jobs and the whole process,” Burkard says. “If you give peo­ple hous­ing and op­por­tu­ni­ties and say, ‘Here are 10 dif­fer­ent things you can do,’ they will sta­bi­lize their lives and they will move for­ward,” Burkard says. “These peo­ple get so lit­tle. They are so im­pov­er­ished by our sys­tem. Many strug­gle with men­tal ill­ness and all they can hope for is to sur­vive on EIA.” It’s been a ban­ner year for Red Road Lodge, which was dogged by fund­ing cuts and an un­cer­tain fu­ture in 2013 (Red Road didn’t par­tic­i­pate in Doors Open last year). The lodge re­ceived word in Fe­bru­ary it would re­ceive sus­tain­able, on­go­ing fund­ing from the province and in April, the fa­cil­ity achieved char­i­ta­ble sta­tus. “We’ve got a re­ally good story to tell this year,” Burkard says. “We’re a slam-dunk.” The lodge has sev­eral new ini­tia­tives in the works, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing the now-closed Tallest Poppy restau­rant into an art bou­tique that will fea­ture works cre­ated by Red Road Lodge artists. “I want it to be­come a tourist des­ti­na­tion,” Burkard says. “When peo­ple come to Win­nipeg, I want them to take away some­thing that speaks to com­mu­nity re­vi­tal­iza­tion.” As for Doors Open Win­nipeg, it, too, has its eye on growth. Tug­well says the plans are al­ready un­der­way for next year’s event, which will in­clude an Ex­change Dis­trict condo tour and, she hopes, a tour of Dal­navert Mu­seum, which has been shut­tered since last fall. Tug­well knows all too well that you can’t al­ways get what you want when it comes to Doors Open Win­nipeg; sched­ul­ing is an ob­sta­cle for theatre tours, for ex­am­ple. Ren­o­va­tions can also knock sites out of con­sid­er­a­tion. Tug­well fig­ures that if she could get ev­ery­one on her wish list, she could eas­ily have 200 sites — a num­ber that speaks to the qual­ity and va­ri­ety of ar­chi­tec­ture that ex­ists in the city. The goal is to in­crease it to a con­sis­tent — and more man­age­able — 85. Doors Open Win­nipeg has helped Her­itage Win­nipeg do the work it does year-round — which in­cludes ev­ery­thing from ad­vo­cacy and ed­u­ca­tion to eco­nomic devel­op­ment and tourism. “We’ve felt there’s been lots of growth in the re­la­tion­ships we’ve built with build­ing own­ers,” Tug­well says. “They’ve re­ally en­cour­aged this event.” Now in its fourth year, the Doors Open Win­nipeg Awards, which hon­our the best restora­tion, tour, ar­chi­tec­ture, over­all ex­pe­ri­ence and hid­den gem as voted by Doors Open Win­nipeg par­tic­i­pants, have also been a way to build good­will. “It’s a way for us to tell the her­itage and cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties they’re do­ing a good job. “I don’t want her­itage preser­va­tion to be a re­ac­tive thing,” she adds. “These build­ings are part of the fabric of our city.” Through Doors Open Win­nipeg, the public see the value of these build­ings — and, in Red Road Lodge’s case, the po­ten­tial. “It brings preser­va­tion into fo­cus,” Tug­well says. “If (a build­ing) makes the pa­pers, peo­ple will say, ‘Wait, this isn’t some­thing we want to lose.’”

PHIL HOS­SACK / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

Res­i­dent Kevin An­der­son will be on hand with his art at Red Road Lodge.

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