By Anita Grace –
Beside the Westboro Legion Hall on Richmond Road is the non-descript dead end of Winston Avenue. But in the coming months this space will be transformed into a vibrant public space.
Winston Square will soon be transformed into a pedestrian plaza decorated with paving stones, art, benches, and flagpoles. A living wall of plants and vines will also breathe new life into this grey space.
Not only will the square be made more attractive, it will also offer programming and entertainment throughout the summer.
“It is being designed as a gathering space in the heart of Westboro,” explains McKellar Park resident, Patti Church. The local marketing expert and community builder has been engaged by the Westboro Village Business Improvement Association to create programming for the square over the summer months.
She has teamed up with Lee Ann McLellan, a Westboro singer-songwriter and musician, to program entertainment of all kinds for every day of the week.
“It’s about bringing the community together,” Church explains.
The space will be easily adaptable. Café style tables and chairs could be brought out and a stage could be set up for a music performance. Or the space could be cleared for yoga classes or salsa dancing.
“There is so much talent in this community,” Church says, and she is excited to have the venue to showcase it.
The call for talent for Winston Square’s programming is now open. McLellan and Church welcome talents of all sorts, such as music, art, poetry, comedy and dance.
“The key is to involve everyone,” says McLellan. “We want to make people feel that the square is for everyone.”
The team is already reaching out to people in the community. The goal is to develop programming for all different age groups. For example, Church is hoping to bring in square-dancing seniors as well as musical elementary school kids like Churchill Alternative School’s ukulele class.
“I would love to listen to ten kids rock out on the ukuleles,” McLellan says. “That would be awesome.”
But while the programming will focus on local talent, people do not need to live within a certain catchment area to apply. Applicants will, however, be required to submit samples of their work, and/or references.
Given that the performance space is outdoors, Church says programming will be somewhat weather dependent and the online calendar of events will be updated on an on-going basis throughout the summer. The goal is to have 24 weekly performances, most of which will be 30-40 minutes in length.
Winston Square is financed by Kitchissippi ward’s cash-in-lieu of parkland funds from the Uniform Developments condos at the north end of Winston Avenue. It will be managed by the Westboro Village BIA.
“It’s a great opportunity for people and the community to come together and celebrate,” says Mary Thorne, Executive Director of the Westboro BIA. She says that anyone with a talent is encouraged to become part of the Square. “It’s an opportunity to show it and share it.”
Programming will start in July, with a sneak peek planned for the Westfest weekend.
For more information and to download a talent application, visit the Westboro Village BIA website. What kind of performances would you like to see at Winston Square? Yoga? Storytelling? Music? Leave your comments below or contact the editor via this form.