‘Steinbach is a different city than a decades old stereotype’: 5 Questions with Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen

Chris Goertzen became the eighth mayor of Steinbach when elected on October 25th, 2006 and is currently serving his third term as Mayor. Currently, Mayor Goertzen is also the President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, President of the Steinbach Community Development Corporation, and a board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. These official roles are supplemented by a history of community service with organizations such as the Steinbach Arts Council, Ten Thousand Villages and various Church committees.

In 1992, he moved to Montreal where he studied at the University of Montreal, allowing him to broaden his view of Canadian culture as well as improve his French language skills before returning to Steinbach in 1997.  It was then that he and his brother Robert developed a specialty grocery store and café in Steinbach, Main Bread and Butter, which has become a successful home-grown operation and a favourite among Steinbach citizens.

Mayor Goertzen balances his busy political life and store ownership with his personal commitment to his wife, Annalee Schellenberg, and their children, Otto and Naomi. 

  1. Are you sure you and Kelvin Goertzen aren’t related?
    • Kelvin and I are not related.  When we first got into politics, somewhat at the same time, many thought we were the same person.  We then graduated to being siblings in many people’s eyes.  Now we are often seen as either cousins or at least long lost relatives, but as the research shows so far, we are not related going back 200 years at least.  We do however have an understanding that if someone accidentally comments positively about the other’s work, we quickly just say a polite thank you without much correction.  Kelvin also gets an occasional compliment about his store on Main Street in Steinbach which he also is given permission to take credit for.
  2. What’s your favourite park in Steinbach?
    • My favourite park in Steinbach is a new green space created in Hampton Village on the east side of our city.  It’s an old farmstead that has a few hints of the past farm still remaining but it’s biggest attributes that I enjoy are the mature trees that remain.  When the area was developed by the late Gary Dueck, we had some discussions about his plans for recreational green space. He ended up making the more expensive and complicated decision to keep the treed area intact rather than taking the easy route and clearing the area.
  3. The Daily Bonnet pokes fun at Steinbach’s quirks, but hopefully people see that it’s actually a great place. Personally, I love Steinbach – there’s a reason I live here. Do you think our city is fairly and accurately depicted by Winnipeg media in general?
    • The Daily Bonnet is a refreshing read most days as the regular news is not always the most uplifting.  Winnipeg media is coming around to the realization that Steinbach is a different city than a decades old stereotype. We are a welcoming, warm and changing city and it has been one of my goals to make sure that is well known.
  4. What is your favourite sandwich at Main Bread and Butter?
    • Smoked meat on rye bread with mayo, mustard and always lots of lettuce.
  5. You host an Open Door Day on the 3rd Friday of every month at City Hall. What’s one question you keep hoping someone would ask?
    • I get many great visitors on my Friday open door days.  Many problems are presented to me, many suggestions are given, and some very positive comments about what our city has done for people and their families. I’m still waiting for someone to ask if I’m related to Kelvin Goertzen. That would be an easy answer.