September 19, 2009

The Best of Millwoods (Is Better Than What You May Think)

Ch. 62

So many people love to rag on Millwoods. They love to talk about the gangs, the muggings, the street drugs, sexual assaults at transit centers, and the opium busts, which may even lead to the question of what Canadian - Edmontonian - soldiers are doing in Afghanistan. They love to count how many minority groups are within their classrooms and how many white trash rednecks live within walking distance of the Millwoods town center in this place that is often referred to as "ghetto" or "the hood".

But I am here to tell you that this is really truly an amazing community, as communities go. The many minority groups have sooo much to offer and really, it's about time that we start appreciating all of our multi-cultural wonderfulness that really exists within that approximate 40 square kilometers of green spaces, golf courses, schools, dog parks, and even a water park. And as for the "white trash rednecks"? Well, they are not just in Millwoods. Of this, I am certain. Edmonton is falls into the jurisdiction of Northern Alberta, afterall. And really, the schools in the area are held to pretty high standards, as far as I have seen­ยช. Not to mention that having schools that taught a different (i.e. better) curriculum is part of our jobs in electing a government with the values that reflect our own. (that's been blogged about already i am sure) Gangs are only of concern if you are in a gang and drug deals are usually done conspiculously enough such that your every day Millwoodsonian will not notice.

But what's so grande about this place I call home besides it having a moderately priced golf course and a mall with an HMV? And really, a much exaggerated reputation for being a bad place? Well I'll tell ya!

For 25 years now, I have been experiencing the grandeur lifestyle in this place called Millwoods. For my first 5 or 6 years, life was golden! Short walks to the local store, playground, or playmates. We would run around shooting water guns or nerf guns at eachother well into any given evening, with absolutely zero fear of being abducted or attacked. Between my ~7th and ~13th years, a lot of time was spent at the Millwoods Recreation Center - a building BUILT by the community. (Not like anywhere else now, where everyone wants new buildings and ask someone else to pay for it!!) In this rec centre, I remember my first jump in the dive tank, swing off the tarzan rope and step I took on the hockey rink. Later on, this rink would become the place where I would score hat tricks against the Millwoods Team in their own building (Go Knights!) and this pool would be where I would show off doing 200m swims in the "advanced" group of students in the high school co-ed gym class. I even remember that sign that said "athletes need fresh air" and the day that the city went "smoke-free" and it wasn't as bad walking through the players entrance to the dressing rooms anymore on the way out from the building. This focal point of Millwoods really brought together the community and allowed young families to let their children to interact and learn from eachother.

The freedoms in Canada are often highlighted in Millwoods, especially with all of its cultural diversity. I must have been about in grade 3 or 4 when I first noticed this. But it wasn't til Junior High til I realized that for me to learn some Tagalog was actually a legitimate possibility. And then only about a few months ago I saw children "playing" with actual sabres/swords/long blades of some sort in a church/temp/e parking lot that was obviously practice for some religious thing. Cool. In Millwoods, a person can where what they want and go where they want wearing that feeling reasonably safe. I just finished watching Mississippi Burning so I guess I am just trying to say that despite all of our short-comings when it comes to acceptance and prejudice - here in Millwoods - you can at least express yourself for the Millwoods Hero you are!!

On another occasion, there was a blackout. It must have lasted about 45 minutes to an hour. The whole community became unplugged from their electronic vices and got plugged right back in to the community. It was sunset and the whole of Millwoods was outside. This is no exaggeration. It was really incredible to see so many dogs for walks and just friendly greetings as people passed by each other.

The stores are pretty great in mdot. For starters, Sobeys has always produced an amazing staff of deli-workers. Namely, Heather & Heather. (although there are others!) Who can ask for anything more?!?! It's tragic, really, but with the JIT servicing & the Big Box Stores & globalization in general, I am finding myself traveling out to the new superstore who actually has much more reasonable prices. When I have to, the MWTC Safeway is actually not the worst thing, because at least then, I can see my favorite security guard in all of Edmonton. You know the guy I'm talking about if you live in millwoods!! But I will always love my Sobeys girls. The 2nd best place to spend money in millwoods is @ the 3 or 4 year old Dairy Queen in 23rd. Although, we have some pretty interesting pubs too...

This summer I hung out at the MWTC parking lot on another occasion. I went to a DRIVE IN!! They were showing the movie Up! so I drove down there with a friend and some snacks and had a pretty good time!! Millwoods has it all!!!

Our elected officials are con artists and I hate all politicians and think they are all corrupt. NEVERTHELESS, my old bus driver, Amarjeet Sohi is doing what he can to represent his electorate. This Millwoods councilor is not afraid to go in front of cameras & actually speak an opinion or idea - whereas David the Fat Ass Thiele - does nothing but sit on his ass & blackberry the shit out of his endless days on the city's payroll whether the council is sitting or not. They both showed up for the Conservative MP, Mike Lake's, pancake breakfast though. Lake represents Millwoods but really, he's just another back-bencher that keeps another seat from another party while desperately trying to use any political clout to bring attention to Autism, which his son happens to have. So yeah! Millwoods!! Pancake Breakfasts!!! Party on!!! Even though, you had to ask the conservative line cooks for a second pancake to be flipped onto your plate. I wonder how many pancakes Thiele ate? More than Benito cuz the PC-MLA was a no-show.

My Edmonton Public Library. What can I even say?? She and I have been going steady now for about 10 years. Before that, we were less frequent sweethearts, but now, our relationship is stronger than ever and I love her so. I can't wait to see her next week. I think she has something there waiting for me. I only ever cheated on her when I was @ Grant MacEwan and snuck around with her sister downtown. Shhh. Don't tell.

The timely release of this blog comes following a recent meeting regarding the fate of Graunke Park (on 50th & 34th). This green space is a hot spot for kids to "have a good time" - use your imagination. So one of the things they are doing now is actually trying to revitalize it. This might include incorporating kids from the area schools to clean it up, 55+ groups to maintain it, and a whole bunch more of us involved community members to have a vision and insight of how to make it better. Maybe next time I will even go to the meeting! As much as I want to travel and see the world and LEAVE EDMONTON for the mean time, I think that some of my time could be invested in helping to shape a part of a community that has truly shaped me over the past quarter century.


  1. Haha - MWTC. So awesome.

    And yeah, you never even mentioned Canada Day?