We have a number of guests coming over in the next few weeks who haven’t been to our Winnipeg home in the Exchange District before. One of the things I plan to do is take them on a walking tour to see the art and architecture in our neighborhood.
We will check out the amazing sculptures around the Richardson Building.Seal River Crossing was created by Peter Sawatsky, an artist from the village of Sommerfeld. Seal River is a very remote place in northern Manitoba and only a handful of people have actually seen the caribou making the perilous crossing of the river. Sawatsky is one of them and thanks to his artistry we get to see what it is like too.
Tree Children is by Leo Mol one of Canada’s most prolific and well- known sculptors. Tree Children stands at the corner of Portage and Main in the very heart of Winnipeg. Then we’ll head down to Waterfront Drive to check out Grain is King by Jordan Sewell in Steve Juba Park. The sculpture gets its name from the fact that the Grain Exchange was established in 1887 in the area of Winnipeg where the sculpture stands. Agricultural products from across the west were sold through the exchange. I like to take visitors by this sculpture of the Scottish Settlers who came to Canada in 1813 after being forced off their land. Already bereft of possessions and property they were duped by Lord Selkirk and his promises of free land and an easy life in Canada. Many died on so called ‘coffin ships’ on the trip to Canada.
If we have time we will cross the impressive Provencher Bridge.The bridge spans the Red River and the pedestrian part is called Esplanade Riel after Louis Riel the founder of Manitoba. There is some aboriginal art on the bridge. Canada’s First Nations people came to the spot where the bridge stands for over 6000 years to trade with one another, so it is fitting they would be recognized on the bridge.
At the end of the bridge we might wander through Joseph Royal Park. The arches there honor Joseph Royal a journalist and lawyer who defended Louis Riel and his men both in editorials in his newspaper and in court. Joseph Royal was the mayor of St. Boniface, a member of the House of Commons, the Attorney General of Manitoba and the province’s first superintendent of education. There’s a statue in the park honoring well known Canadian writer Gabrielle Roy and a plaque with a quote from one of her novels that references the area around the park.
On our way back across the Provencher Bridge we might stop for a minute at a pocket park that honors sixteen year old Lyle Thomas who was killed working alongside his Dad on the construction of the bridge. The park provides a great view of the bridge.
If you’ve never visited us or you have and we haven’t given you a walking tour of our neighborhood. Come on down. We’d love to have you!