Boulevard of Broken Dreams: A 40 Year Journey through Portage Avenue - Displacement, Dislocation, and How Osmosis Can Resolve Community Blight'

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Boulevard of Broken Dreams: A 40 Year Journey through Portage Avenue - Displacement, Dislocation, and How Osmosis Can Resolve Community Blight is a new book about Lloyd Axworthy that chronicles the develeopment of downtown Winnipeg since 1974. The book is published by Rattray Publishers and is written by a collective of Academics know as Axis Denied.[1] The work focuses on the capital development established by elite citizens in Winnipeg, and focuses primarily on Dr. Axworthy's notable contributions to the city. Axworthy served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Axworthy is currently President of the University of Winnipeg. Axworthy completed his term as President of the University of Winnipeg in 2014 after having posted 3 deficit budgets in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. [2]


The book was nominated for the Donner Prize in 2014 and was shortlisted for Gentrification Weekly's Presitigious Fogle Award. [3]

Chapter 1: Personal lives and influence on architecture

The chapter focuses on the early life stories of Winnipeg wealthy industrialists and uses Lloyd Axworthy's early years as the seminal story. Axworthy was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan to a family with strong United Church roots, and received his BA from United College, a Winnipeg based Bible school, in 1961. He received his MA and PhD from Princeton University in 1963 and 1972 respectively, returning to Canada to teach at the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg. At the latter, he also became the director of the Institute of Urban Affairs. His tenure as an academic was short lived, as Axworthy was called by his Christian education and a passion for urban renewal to engage in urban revitalization.[4]

Chapter 2: Architectural Stylings

The Chapter surveys personal growth that resulted in the architectural preferences of Dr. Axworthy. In later years, Axworthy would draw on his Christian spirituality to bring healing to urban Winnipeg through new construction and urban renewal.[5] His passion for urban renewal is reviewed, described and unpacked as Gentrification Modernism[6] or post-Dickensianism.[7]

Chapter 3: The Axe Effect

The chapter explores the downtown revitalization movement in Winnipeg, which exploded in 2006, when Axworthy was elected to the Board of Directors of Hudbay Minerals, Inc.[8] Hudbay Minerals is one of several Canadian-owned mining companies censured by environmental activists, human rights organizations and more recently by mainstream media for carrying out violent forced evictions, murdering a community leader who resisted one of their mines, robbing Indigenous peoples of their lands, supporting brutal police and security operations and criminalizing anyone who has tried to resist their mining projects around the world and here in Canada.[9] Hudbay has gained increasing attention recently because they are the first Canadian company to be tried in Canadian courts for crimes committed at mines overseas.[10] In September of the same year, he mobilized a massive security campaign at the University of Winnipeg, installing almost one hundred high tech surveillance cameras on campus in response to bathroom graffiti that was found in a University washroom; the incident sparked numerous Canadian copycat graffiti threats, a trend that became known known as the "Axe Effect". [11] The ensuing capital develoment would change the face of downtown Winnipeg forever.

Chapter 4: Damage Assessments: Ecokids, Enbridge and Biohazards

The chapter begins by describing the events of early 2008, when a pilot program called Eco-Kids on Campus was initiated at Axworthy's urging. This involved the visit of a combined grade 5-6 classroom from a local inner-city school to the University once a week for about four hours, over the course of 10 weeks.[12] The energy giant, Enbridge, based in Calgary and one of the worlds largest pipeline companies, donated $25,000 annually to the Eco-Kids On Campus program.[13] Jennifer Rattray, a former CBC journalist who is now the U of W's associate vice-president of indigenous, government and community affairs, was quoted as saying without Enbridge's donation, the Eco-Kids program wouldn't exist.[14] According to a statement released on September 5, 2013, the University of Winnipeg Students Association (UWSA) Board of Directors formally expressed opposition to Enbridge’s sponsorship of programming at the University of Winnipeg, and encouraged the administration to develop an ethical partnership policy. [15] The UWSA noted that according to The Polaris Institute, based on Enbridge’s own data, there were over 800 ruptures of their oil pipelines between 1999 and 2010.[16] Subsequently, the Eco-Kids program was cancelled in September 2013 due to lack of funding.[17]

From 2008-2012, Axworthy began a community learning initiative[18] at the University of Winnipeg to assist under-represented groups attend university including Aboriginal youth and new Canadians. The initiative was never passed by academic senate nor passed by the provincial government and to date no statistics have been produced which demonstrate that its goals have been achieved.

Notable accomplishments in this period included the controversial construction of a new science complex,[19] which has been critiqued as being poorly built and being a bio hazard,[20] a business complex of several stories[21] and a student hub replete with a pub and Starbucks.[22] The capital developments also include a new student residence and student and community daycare. The university is currently in the process of building a new recreation and health complex.[23] The financial statements of the University indicate that its community renewal corporation has drawn over 4 million dollars of revenue from the operating budget while the renewal corporation enjoys assets of 5 million dollars; yet the University has reported deficits for several budgets in succession,[24] while senior administrators continue to enjoy salaries near the $200 000 per annum mark, whilst UW employed more senior administration per capita than any other Canadian university.[25]

Chapter 5: Futurities

The concluding chapter assesses whether the massive urban explosion initiated by Dr. Axworthy was a success on the whole. It questions whether the use of University funds for capital expansion was useful or a purposeful misappropriation of provincial tax funding. The chapter questions whether the accountability structures of academic institutions reveal the uses of funds that were earmarked for social services and asks whether the provincial willful blindness to the conduct explored should be sanctioned. The concluding chapter asks whether the gentrification projects of post-secondary education are ethical, fraudulent or criminal. References are made to the work of Bernard Madoff and whether post secondary institutions in the urban renewal business are a new economic bubble, unsustainable and ready to burst.


  25. The Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act: Report of Compensation Greater Than $50,0000. University of Winnipeg. (Winnipeg: University of Winnipeg, 2013)