St. Vital is a big neighbourhood, and it keeps growing every year. New suburbs pop up and more condos than I can count keep cropping up on St. Mary’s. A lot of people live here, but a few things still join us together as St. Vital-ers.
Whether you grew up in Old St. Vital or Island Lakes, and whether or not you’ve since moved away to Osborne Village, Corydon or even all the way to St. James, we can all agree on a couple things. Namely, Transcona was way too far away, and a lot of us didn’t even know the North End existed until we were in our teens. Still, we were home to some of the best-kept secrets in town AND a crazy ton of 7-Elevens.
So here’s our list of 16 things that set us apart as South End babies. This one’s for you, St. Vital kids.
1. Summer started as soon as Licks opened
You know they’re just as good as (if not better than) BDI, plus the lines are way shorter! Licks was definitely one of the first places you went to as soon as your mom let you ride your bike by yourself, and you let those cotton candy scoops drip all over your handlebars.
2. The St. Vital Duck Pond was the best place to skate
If all the rinks were booked for games, this is where you went. The Forks was always way too crowded, and you actually had room to move around (and fall on your ass) here.
3. Some of your best sports memories happened at Norberry-Glenlee
Now it’s where you play rec league dodgeball and sometimes where you go to vote, but it still has one of the best ODRs in the city. Hands up if you played baseball there AND ran around to collect lost pucks as soon as summer hit.
4. You knew Christmas was coming as soon as these lights went up
And then you spent every weekend here – just so you could be absolutely sure you picked out the perfect Secret Santa gift to bring to school.
5. All your Santa photos happened at St. Vital Centre
Let’s face it. They probably all still do. Who wants to drive all the way to Polo just to wait in line?
6. Your first-ever date happened right here
It was definitely a group date, and you probably saw She’s the Man or High School Musical 3. And admit it. This is probably where half the first dates you’ve had since have happened too.
7. You had to wake up crazy early whenever your family went on vacation, because the airport was so far away
Remember this? Those were loooong mornings sitting in the backseat with your brother and what felt like 600 suitcases. Chances are you got stuck in rush hour traffic and fell asleep along the way. Either that or you read five chapters of the book you were supposed to read on the plane. The drive to the airport was enough of a trip on its own.
8. You were pumped when these trails opened up
The Bishop Grandin Greenway gave you a place to ride your bike, rollerblade and, yup, ride your scooter that wasn’t the road. It opened up so many possibilities of meeting up with friends, but chances are you got tired and had to take a break on one of the benches halfway through.
9. The Bishop Grandin lane expansion made you late for something super important
It was probably a basketball game or a birthday party. Even on a Saturday when there wasn’t even construction going on, you got slowed down.
10. You know exactly where this is
It broke your heart when St. Vital Bowl closed, but at least you could still glow bowl at Dakota Bowling Lanes. And it was always an even bigger treat when you got to go all the way to Academy.
11. George’s was your go to spot to get the best fries in town
Nothing made you smile more than your parents coming home with a grease-stained bag full of George’s fries. And if you went to Dakota, you were here for lunch whenever you didn’t go to Sev or the mall food court.
12. You spent summers here way before they re-painted it
You challenged all your friends to go off the (not-so) high diving board. This was definitely where you went when your parents couldn’t drive you all the way out to the beach.
13. Summer day camps happened here
The same goes for after-school soccer matches. Plus, you sometimes got to go swimming at the Y!
14. You or someone you know curled at the same place as Olympians
NBD. And even if you didn’t, you always thought about how cool it was when you were at Superstore with your mom.
15. Tapps was the first place you went to as soon as you turned 18
Either that or the vendor out back. (You know, the one you tried to sneak into during your high school spares). But no matter how much you drank, you knew it was all about the deep-fried pickles.
16. You took the bus with Dancing Gabe.
Yup, the local legend – who’s probably one of the most genuine and most famous Winnipeggers out there – is from right here in St. Vital. If you didn’t get on the No. 14 bus at the same stop as him, chances are you ran into each other at Dakota Family Foods. His killer air guitar, iconic signature dance moves, huge grin and incredible ability to remember the names of almost everyone he meets are proof that St. Vital really does have a lot of amazing things to offer.