Monthly Archives: August 2022

An Art Gallery Between Two Cities

My husband Dave walks along the riverfront in Windsor Ontario. The buildings of downtown Detroit are in the background.

Yesterday we went for a lovely breezy walk along the riverfront in Windsor Ontario. As you stroll on the Canadian side of the Detroit River you can look across its waters and see the skyline of the city of Detroit, Michigan. The riverwalk in Windsor features all this amazing public art

Chicken and the Egg by Morton Katz

The classic riddle about what comes first the chicken or the egg is the inspiration for this funky sculpture. Morton Katz created the outline of the bird using some five hundred sprocket links to make a gigantic bicycle chain. The egg is made of marble.

Don’t you just love the way a building in the city of Detroit across the river from Windsor is framed by the bird?

Eve’s Apple by Edwina Sandys

Some Canada geese were checking out this steel sculpture at the same time as I was. The artist says it represents the moment in the Biblical story about Eve when she has just taken a bite from the apple, a turning point where Eve gains knowledge but loses her innocence. Eve holds the bitten apple with a sense of pride.

Morning Flight by Gerald Gladstone

I liked the way all these unique birds were interconnected to create a diverse and colourful flock. From this angle you can see the Detroit Skyline.

Photographing Morning Flight from this angle showcases The Ambassador Bridge which we crossed as we made our way from Michigan to southern Ontario.

Flying Men by Elisabeth Frink

Who am I holding hands with? It’s one of the people freely flying down a hill along the Windsor Riverwalk.

Are they chasing after something or someone?

Tohawah by Anne Harris

I admired the sleek elegance of this pair of swans. Tohawah is the word for swan in an Alaskan Indigenous language.

Tembo by Derrick Hudson

I marvelled at the wonderfully wrinkled skin of this elephant. Tembo is the Swahili word for the African elephant whose ears are sometimes said to resemble the shape of the continent of Africa. Note again the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit and Windsor in the background.

Consolation by Joe Rosenthal

This sculpture of someone being comforted warmed my heart. One person whispers words of consolation into the ear of the other, their hand resting reassuringly on the grieving person’s shoulder.

Pray for Peace

I really liked the idea I saw expressed in this sculpture called Pray for Peace which was located in amongst many memorials to military men and women who had died in various wars.

The way the family is juxtapositioned with the globe reminded me of how peace begins in each of our hearts, then it spreads to our families and finally the world. Peace begins at home.

We only saw a small portion of the many wonderful works of art located along the Windsor waterfront. In all of our years traveling to southern Ontario to visit family we had somehow never done this walk before. It is good to remember that there are always new things to discover in Canada’s cities even ones we have visited many times before.

Other posts………….

Living in an Art Gallery

The Heidelberg Project

The Poignancy of Art

Cool Stuff Outside an Art Gallery

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Filed under Art, Canada, Travel

At the Southern Tip of Canada

We went on a hike down to the southern most tip of mainland Canada.

Dave and our great nephew point to the tip of mainland Canada which juts out into Lake Erie in Point Pelee National Park.

When Dave was a kid growing up just a short distance away from Point Pelee National Park this spit out into the lake was sometimes up to a mile long. It was also the stop over place for millions of monarch butterflies on their migration journey. Sadly their numbers have dwindled.

Although the 49th parallel serves as a natural border between Canada and the United States Point Pelee National Park is located at the 42nd parallel as far south as Rome and Barcelona.

Our niece and her family have a lovely home near the entrance to Point Pelee National Park. In 1918 Point Pelee National Park became the first national park established in Canada.

You can hike or bike down to the tip but there is also a handy trolley service that will take you there for free.

Although we’d had some rain earlier in the day the weather was sunny and warm for our hike down to the tip. The sun danced on the lake waters and the sand was warm on our feet.

Dave and our niece are trying to decide in which direction Pelee Island lies. Pelee Island is where our niece spent her childhood and where Dave’s father’s family lived when they first immigrated to Canada. We will visit the island by ferry next week.

Some members of our hiking group spent time skipping stones out into Lake Erie.

Our last hike down to the tip in the park was in 2014. Eight years later many things in our family have changed but not the beauty of the lake or the pleasure of spending time at the southern most point in mainland Canada.

Other posts…………

A Tipped Caboose A Black Eye and a Wedding

A Slightly Tipsy Bullfighter

Tipping the Bagger

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Filed under Canada, Nature

I’m A Friend of the Library

One of my community involvements is serving on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library. We raise funds each year to support all kinds of programming at the various branches of the library all over the city.

My key role on the board is serving as the editor of our organization’s monthly newsletter. This year is the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library’s 30th anniversary so I have been featuring events from our history. In my last newsletter I wrote about some of the important ways our organization has made a difference in the past.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman checks out a sewing machine Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library donated while former Friends president Kathy Blight looks on

Millennium Library’s Maker Space is an area where library visitors engage in hands-on and self-directed learning. Besides purchasing four sewing machines for the space, we’ve also provided funds for an interactive whiteboard. 

We’ve helped finance the scanning and cataloguing of Rob McInnes’ amazing historical collection of Winnipeg postcards. 

We’ve supported teen book parties. 

Our annual contributions have ensured summer and spring break programming for children has continued at all the library branches.

The popular literacy playgrounds you see in so many of the city’s libraries became a reality thanks in part to funds from Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library.  

Story Times at libraries have been enhanced by rhythm instruments we purchased. 

We’ve contributed to colourful unique library seating for children. 

It was help from the Friends that made it possible for new Canadians who participated in a creative writing program at the library to have their work published in an anthology. 

For many years the On The Same Page project brought all Manitobans together in one big book club thanks in part to funds from the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library. 

Joan Thomas, the 2019 winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, was the Writer-in-Residence for the Winnipeg Public Library in 2016. A substantial annual contribution from our organization has helped to make the Writer- in- Residence program at the library a reality for more than two decades. 

Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library President Rita Burgess presents a $17,500 cheque for our 2022 donation to Karin Borland Manager of Library Services

This year our legacy continued with a $17,5000 donation to the libraries of Winnipeg.

During the next twelve months, our donation will provide prizes and funds for a wind-up celebration for the current summer reading program, help finance Science Literacy Week events this fall, sponsor two Read by Queens events, ensure there is engaging spring break programming for kids in 2023, provide funds for a Take Your Child to the Library Day and help sponsor the library’s popular Writer- in -Residence program for another year. 

I believe strongly in the role public libraries play in serving EVERYONE in the community and making our city a better place to live. I am glad I am able to contribute to the role Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library plays in that important work.

Other posts………

Winnipeg’s Millennium Library

What’s a Playground Doing Inside?

A Waterfall on the Library

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Filed under Books, Winnipeg

An Interesting Plot Line in Harvey Takes The Lead

Although there are many things I like about middle grade author Colleen Nelson’s series of Harvey books I particularly enjoy their references to historical events.

Author Colleen Nelson has a terrier of her own. – photo from Colleen Nelson’s website

Harvey is a West Highland Terrier and he and the young people in his life Maggie and Austin are regular visitors at a retirement home where the residents’ stories bring the past alive.

In Harvey Takes the Lead Colleen’s latest novel in the series, Austin is worried about Mr. Bob Kowalski whose wife of sixty years is in the hospital. He checks in on Mr. Kowalski regularly and Bob tells Austin about how he met his wife during World War II.

Her name was Alice Schmidt and Bob quickly developed a soft spot for her only to discover that his gang of friends suspected she was a Nazi because of her German last name and the fact she knew some German words.

As the story unfolds we learn how people of German descent who had been in Canada for generations were considered suspicious during World War II. Alice’s family owned a store in Winnipeg and people stopped patronizing it because of the family’s German lineage.

Bob will win Alice’s heart when he stands up to the people who are falsely accusing her of being a German sympathizer and boldly acknowledges his affection for her.

My mother’s maiden name was also Schmidt and she told me about something similar happening in the Saskatchewan prairie town where she lived as a girl. Her family had been in North America since the 1870s but because of their last name and the fact they spoke German they were also under suspicion.

My grandparents Peter and Annie Schmidt with their four children

My mom clearly remembers her Dad telling her not to speak German when they went into the shops in town or were on the street. Mom went to a country school where most of the other kids were also from families of German descent and one morning they came to school to find vandals had been there and destroyed many of their books and papers and left their schoolroom a mess.

There are many interesting plot lines in Colleen Nelson’s Harvey Takes the Lead and readers will enjoy following them all but the one about Alice and Bob and World War II was particularly meaningful for me.

Other posts………..

Don’t Speak German

Learning About Winnipeg History From Books for Kids

The Undercover Book List

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Filed under Books, Canada, History

On the Avon

One morning during our stay in Stratford, Ontario we took a walk down to the Avon River which is named after the River Avon in England.

I took a photo of a young man fishing by the river. The Avon is home to a healthy population of carp and bass.

My husband Dave poses with a park bench along the Avon that is a memorial to Richard Manuel a member of the famous rock group The Band. Manuel was born in Stratford.

The words on the bench “I see my light come shining, from the west down to the east, any day now I shall be released” are from the song I Shall Be Released written by Bob Dylan and made popular by The Band’s performance of it on their album Music From Big Pink.

Dave’s large collection of LP records came along with him when we moved into a tiny attic apartment right after we were married, and he introduced me to Music From Big Pink.

There is also a star in the paved walkway along the river as a memorial to Manuel Richards.

It is right beside the star for Glen Gould the famous concert pianist who performed many times at the Stratford Festival and was the festival’s music director for three years.

We came upon this duck and swan feeding along the riverbank. Each spring a flock of swans are released into the Avon. This is a tradition that goes back to 1918 when a pair of mute swans was gifted to the city of Stratford by an American visitor.

The 2019 swan parade -Photo by Geoff Robins from The Globe and Mail

The current descendants of that pair which number around twenty are housed for the winter and it is a Stratford tradition to have a celebration in April when the swans are paraded back down to the river for the summer.

Originally called The Little Thames River the 37 kilometre long Avon River adds a scenic touch to the lovely city of Stratford.

Other posts……….

The Great Assiniboine River Canoeing Adventure

Autumn Cruise Fit for a Queen

Canada A Country For All Seasons

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Filed under Canada, Nature

Strolling Through Stratford

We spent a couple of days in Stratford Ontario. It is a lovely little city and we enjoyed walking its streets.

It is named after Stratford on Avon in England which was William Shakespeare’s home so there are plenty of reminders of the bard everywhere.

Falstaff is a character in four of Shakespeare’s plays so it wasn’t surprising to find a street named after him.

The impressive Stratford City Hall was constructed in 1900 after the former city hall building burned down. It was named a national historic site in 1976.

The downtown area of Stratford is decorated with these huge petunia planters that were almost as tall as my husband Dave.

The residential streets of the city are lined with lovely old homes many dating to the mid 1800s.

One evening we stopped at one of the many ice cream parlours in Stratford. It was called Scoopers.

I will let this photo of my husband act as a review for how good the ice cream was.

Stratford is famous for its annual Stratford Festival where plays by William Shakespeare as well as more modern theatre productions are staged each summer in four different venues.

So it isn’t surprising that they have a walk of stars for people who have performed or been associated with the festival as directors or writers or in some other way.

This is the star for the Academy Award winning actor Christopher Plummer perhaps best known for his leading roles in movies like The Sound of Music and The Man Who Would Be King. At age 88 Christopher Plummer gave an astounding performance as J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World.

Christopher Plummer in the Stratford production of King Lear in 2002

Christopher Plummer was part of the Stratford Festival theatre troupe for eleven seasons.

As a former high school English teacher who taught Shakespeare’s plays to many students I thought I’d better stop for a photo holding hands with the great man whose birthplace in England inspired the name of a beautiful Canadian city.

Other posts……….

Eating Our Way Through Scottsdale

Porto With Pedro

Not the Harlem I Expected

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Filed under Canada, Travel

Chicago! What A Showstopper!

Walking up to the Festival Theatre in Stratford

Yesterday we were in Stratford Ontario to see the musical Chicago. It was a definite show stopper! Everything from the dazzlingly costumes, eye-popping choreography, jazzy musical numbers, stellar vocalists, multi-levelled set and gritty storyline had me riveted throughout.

Although Chicago is set in the 1920s I kept thinking how relevant it was for our present day. The story revolves around a group of women who are in prison for murdering the men in their lives who were abusive, or lied to them or were unfaithful to them.

Jennifer Rider-Shaw (left) as Velma Kelly and Chelsea Preston as Roxie Hart are two of the women accused of murder. Photo by David Hou from the Stratford website.

A sleazy lawyer is preparing to defend them and he cooks up stories about each woman to make the judge and jury and the press feel sorry for them. Some of the elements of these sob stories are outright lies.

It reminded me of how politicians, evangelists, media influencers, royals, Hollywood stars and sports personalities often spin a kind of fairy tale narrative about their lives to make people like them or support them despite their ethical and moral failings and even sometimes despite their criminal activity.

R. Markus plays the journalist Mary Sunshine who is particularly adept at writing sob stories to generate public sympathy. – Photo by David Hou from the Stratford website

Although there was no Twitter or Facebook or Instagram a century ago to spread these often sensational and less than truthful narratives the press in the roaring twenties was happy to do so.

Sandra Caldwell played the warden at the woman’s prison who certainly wasn’t above being bribed. I just loved her rich, sultry voice. -photo by David Hou

The musical Chicago also leads us to believe that almost everyone in a position of power is corrupt in some way. From prison wardens, to journalists, to judges and lawyers.

And of course there are people who would have us believe that everyone in positions of power today are corrupt too.

The story of Chicago really is a dark and cynical one, but there was one musical number that provided a ray of hope. It was called A Little Bit of Good and some of the lyrics were………

For in this tense and tangled web
Our weary lives may weave
You’re so much better off
If you believe…
That there’s a little bit of good
In everyone

There certainly was lots that was good about the musical Chicago!! I am so glad we went to see it.

Post Chicago dinner with our sister-in-law Julie and Dave’s brother Bill

Other posts………

Come From Away- A Musical For Our Time

Ten Things I Learned About Carole King

Marc Chagall and the Fiddler on the Roof

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Filed under Theatre

Have You Played Ladder Ball?

What is going on in this photo?

We learned a new game on Sunday at a family get together in Leamington, Ontario. It is called ladder ball and since the Driedgers LOVE competition we had a ladder ball tournament. My husband Dave and our great niece were the championship team and they are posing above for their victory photo with the ladder that is a part of the game.

There are ladders stationed at both ends of the playing area and each team has three sets of tethers with balls attached on each end.

You throw your tethers and try to get them to wind around one of the ladder rungs. The top rung is worth 3 points, the middle rung 2 and the bottom rung 1. The team that reaches 21 points first wins.

Dave and I were ladder ball rookies but of course his natural athletic abilities made him a champion despite his novice status. I was abysmal at the game and felt sorry for my sister-in-law Julie who had been teamed up with me.

Thanks to the luck of the draw Dave’s ladder ball partner was our great niece who is a natural athlete just like her great uncle. She is a phenom on the running track and a star in competitive swimming.

I did a little research on the origins of ladder ball. The game was patented in 2002 by a postal worker who had played the game he invented for decades with his family. Apparently it became popular on American campgrounds in the late 1990s. It is also called ladder toss or ladder golf.

Ladder ball is lots of fun and I think we will have to consider buying a game for our family summer get togethers with our kids and grandkids in Manitoba.

Other posts…………

The Amazing Race Driedger Style

Driedger Top Chef Competition

I Did the Limbo on the Golf Course

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Filed under Family, Sports

Conversation and Memories

With the bridal couple our niece Grace and her husband Steve

At our niece’s wedding on Saturday the family friend conducting the ceremony gave the couple some words of wisdom that he said would go a long way towards ensuring the success of their marriage. He urged them to engage in plenty of conversation with one another and make lots of memories together. I thought that was great advice.

Engaging in frequent conversation with your partner keeps the communication lines open and lets you know what your partner is thinking about and feeling.

Making memories whether through travel, special meals, celebrations, family projects, or the establishment of traditions helps bring you and your partner together. Those memories provide joy and comfort when things get tough.

With my three wonderful sisters-in-law at the wedding

As our family laughed together, ate together, danced together and talked together at the wedding I realized we were following the advice we’d received during the ceremony. We were building family bonds through conversation and making memories.

My husband Dave having a conversation with our nephew at the wedding
A whole bunch of Driedgers making memories at the wedding

Other posts……….

Wedding Day

A Wedding That Was Too Exciting

The Big Picture and Finding Your Own Happiness

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Making Pickles

Our son watching a pickling bee with his great grandmother on one of our Ontario visits many decades ago.

For decades we drove to southern Ontario every summer to visit my husband’s family and we routinely went home with our trunk full of canned produce made in my mother-in-law’s kitchen while we were there. This always included many jars of pickles.

So it was kind of nostalgic to be included in a pickle-making bee at my sister-in-law Shirley and brother-in-law Paul’s house on our current visit to Leamington.

The cucumbers had been brought in from Alymer Ontario the morning of our pickling bee.

Our niece Stephanie, her friend and friend’s daughter joined us.

Dave’s job was preparing all the garlic cloves that were going to be dropped into each jar of pickles.

Stephanie was busy washing all the cucumbers.

Shirley set out all the washed jars and then we got ready to put the various spices inside each jar- dill, pepper, salt, chilis and garlic.

My sister-in-law Shirley and brother-in-law Paul demonstrate how getting the maximum number of cucumbers into each jar is a bit of an art.

Brine was added to the jars.

They were put in very, very hot water in the bathtub to steam them.

We were gifted two jars of the final product to take home to Manitoba in thanks for helping with the pickling project.

It was great to visit with each other as we made the pickles. The conversation was interesting.

I hadn’t made pickles in years and it was lovely to take part in something that traditionally had been a feature of our Ontario visits.

Other posts…………

Authors Who Bake

Modern Gleaners

Cooking Up a Storm in the Yucatan

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