Walk Leader: Choi Ho
Text by: Rachel Alpern
Photographs by: Rachel Alpern
It was rather encouraging to see our tour leader clamber up to the top of a picnic table and immediately begin to engage the group with full attention and energy. Introducing herself – Choi – and her walk, she began to tell us a story about how she “met” Jane Jacobs in Toronto, in the early 2000’s, at the CBC studios. As the story slowly evolved, it turned out that she had actually only caught a glimpse of the back of Jacobs’ head.
Choi’s hilarious and entertaining walk took us through the dense urban neighbourhood of West Broadway in Winnipeg. At one point we walked past a pretty stacked yard sale, which Choi pointed out to the walkers; she promptly lost a fair number of them to the yard sale. At another point on the walk, I learned where to fire the pottery I was making – just half a block away from my home.
Our discussion often came back to housing issues, specifically rooming houses: what they are and how they could have an effect on an area. A friend of Choi’s piped up to say that she lives in a house with six other people; although they are all friends, and garden and cook together, her home fits the description of a rooming house. We began to see that housing categories are blurry and not set in stone. Near the end of the walk, another one of Choi’s friends let the whole group through their heritage apartment building. We snaked up stairs, through the halls, and back down and around again.