New gym a hub of activity in East Elmwood, Manitoba

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The East Elmwood Community Centre, located at 490 Keenleyside St., was built in 2015. The gym has proven to be popular among pickleball and dodgeball leagues. Keith Martin (left) and Doreen Walker are regulars at the centre’s Wednesday afternoon drop-in pickleball games.

When East Elmwood Community Centre burned down on March 9, 2011, it left a hole in the community.

The new East Elmwood Community Centre at 490 Keenleyside St. opened in the summer of 2015. Since then, the LEED Gold certified building has become a hub of the community.

“It is a state of the art building,” said facility manager Chris Getty, who has been involved with East Elmwood since the days of the old community centre. “We’re kind of coasting along, picking up the things we can for the community.”

East Elmwood is one of two community centres in northeast Winnipeg that is run by the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres rather than a board of volunteers. Getty and a caretaker work full-time, while a handful of part-time and casual staff keep the building open evenings, weekends and for special bookings.

Getty said it would be difficult, given the centre’s location, to rely on volunteers to keep programming running.

“They moved building to where it is (now) because, in part, there’s higher concentrations of people here,” Getty said. “But with rentals people don’t always stick around to make a commitment to the community.”

Unlike many community centres, East Elmwood doesn’t take registration for team sports like hockey or soccer.

“We don’t have anything like that,” Getty said. “People want to drop their kids off to play soccer, they don’t necessarily want to stay and coach or convene it.”

However, the facility is home to busy pickleball and dodgeball leagues.

“Pickleball — it’s amazing, the interest,” Getty said. “I started off with two mornings a week, and now it’s two full days and one afternoon a week. And dodgeball, if they were able, they’d be here seven days a week.”

After school, East Elmwood runs a popular drop-in program. Kids between six and 12 have use of the multi-purpose room and the gym. On Wednesdays, kids between 13 to 18 year old have the use of the gym.

“It’s interest driven,” Getty said. “They have use for all our equipment. But all these kids want to do is shoot hoops, to the point that over the summer they’d like to be in there every night, so we put the hoops in the hockey rink outside, too.”

East Elmwood also hosts twice-weekly tot programs, which are free for young parents or caregivers and kids five years old and under. Tae kwon do and zumba are offered through the week. The City of Winnipeg also runs a number of Leisure Guide activities, and the gym and multipurpose rooms are available for rent for functions.

“It’s nice to see the building in use,” Getty said. “Everyone comments on how bright and open the building is.”

Sheldon Birnie
Sheldon Birnie
Community journalist — The Herald

Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-


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