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Eriksen, Bruce

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Eriksen, Bruce

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Bruce Eriksen was born March 21, 1928 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He completed his education to grade three at Knowles School for Boys in Winnipeg. Over the years, Eriksen worked at several jobs, including logging, construction, factory work, machining and digging graves. After hurting his back in 1972, he was introduced by social planner Peter Davies to advocacy work and also to Davies' daughter, Libby, whom Eriksen later married. Working as a people's advocate in the downtown eastside led Eriksen founding in 1973 the Downtown Eastside Residents' Association (DERA), a grassroots organization run by residents of the neighbourhood. Through DERA, Eriksen helped transform the inner-city area previously known as Skid Road, getting it recognized as a legitimate city neighbourhood with its own needs and problems. Eventually, he ran for City Council and was elected in 1980 on his fifth try. He remained on Council as a member of the Committee of Progressive Electors (COPE) team until his retirement in 1993. He died March 16, 1997. Among Eriksen's accomplishments were getting funds to improve Oppenheimer Park, lobbying for the conversion of the former Carnegie Library into a community centre, and working to bring in a by-law requiring sprinklers in rooming houses and hotels. He also continually worked to ensure that civic and provincial inspectors enforced liquor and housing by-laws. He was a skilled cartoonist, mural painter and master woodworker.

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