A Different Kind of Table

Is that a picnic table behind me? It is but…….. it is also a work of art called Table of Contents.

Viewed from this angle the table could be a sculpture but one lying down instead of in an upright position as most sculpture are

Located in Winnipeg’s Vimy Ridge Park just off of Portage Avenue the long steel table pays tribute to the people of the surrounding Wolseley neighbourhood who are the primary users of the park.

The words Our Place or chez nous in French reflect the sense of community and belonging the artists were striving to convey as they designed Table of Contents.

There are words or quotes etched onto the table’s surface. They were submitted by folks who live nearby and are frequent users of the park. They were asked to comment on the importance of the park, its natural setting, or the history of the area.

These quotes talk about the natural elements of the park like the elm trees, mosquitoes, autumn leaves and the sky

There are many different languages used for the words on the table. This is indicative of the surrounding multi-cultural neighbourhood where Tagalog, Portuguese, French and English are spoken. Even Braille is represented. The words are etched on the table in a way that gives you something to read no matter which side of the table you are sitting on.

Messages promoting a positive community spirit are etched in various languages and in Braille

Designed by Eduardo Aquino, a University of Manitoba architecture professor who originally hails from Brazil and Karen Shanski who is a practising Winnipeg architect, the table/sculpture is located at a spot where many of the walking paths in Vimy Ridge Park converge. Aquino and Shanski refer to the words on the table they created as a ‘landscape of language.’ It was important to them that the people who used the table would recognize themselves in the words on its surface. They hoped the table would be a place for people to gather to talk with each other and listen to each other.

Architects Eduardo Aquino and Karen Shanski pose for a photo next to another project they designed on the Osborne Bridge. Photo by Boris Minkevich from the Winnipeg Free Press

I am in the park frequently these days on regular stroller rides with my granddaughter whose home is nearby and I have seen people eating, visiting, sleeping, reading, smoking, taking a break from cycling and playing chess at the table. From what I’ve observed the table is fulfilling the purpose it was designed for.

Neat poem on the far side… Trees sway, children play, Hurray! I wonder if it was written by a child? I also like the sentiments A Place of Happy Memories and Always Love Those Beside You

Other posts………

He Looks Kind

The Guess Who

Between Dog and Wolf


Filed under Art, Winnipeg

2 responses to “A Different Kind of Table

  1. We don’t see alot of this creative and functional art in our small town. We are blessed with park and playground. They are lovely but not spirit stirring as this table and the gathering area you shared a few days ago are. I really like those quotes you highlighted too!


    • The city of Winnipeg started a real push about twenty years ago to add more public art to spaces around the city and it shows. Especially when we haven’t been able to go to art galleries during the pandemic it has been wonderful to have all this art outdoors and during the pandemic since we can’t travel we have had time to explore the city and find it.


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