This photograph caught my eye while I was waiting for my sister to arrive for our lunch date at Resto Gare in St. Boniface. When I asked the staff about it I was told it showed Winnipeg residents waiting at the St. Boniface train station to be evacuated from the city during the 1950 flood. The St. Boniface train station in the photo is now the Resto Gare eating establishment, still, in the very same location, it was during the flood. The original building is over a hundred years old.
The St. Boniface train station in 1930
It was built in 1913. In 1983 the building became a restaurant called La Vieille Gare and in 2008 the name was changed to Resto Gare Bistro. They have a bell in their dining room from a locomotive that used to pull into the St. Boniface Station. My sister and I sat in an old observation train car built in 1914 that has been attached to the station house. The restaurant serves meals with a definite French flavor and in the background as you eat you will hear the latest Montreal francophone music. I tried in vain to find some photos of the train station in the late 1950s because during the 1958-1959 school year I was attending classes at Marion School right across the street from the station. I must have seen the old train station every day when I arrived at school.
My grade one class at Marion School with our teacher Ms. Bourreau.
My family lived in Winnipeg’s French Quarter the year I was in grade one because my father was an intern at St. Boniface Hospital. Marion School was built in 1950 and is still in use today.
Having lunch at Resto Gare with my sister was a chance for a lovely visit but also a way to learn some history and take me on a bit of trip down memory lane.
This week I did something I’ve never done before. I bought my groceries online and had them delivered to my door. We are a one car family and because of the fact my husband’s part-time work, many athletic endeavors, and hobbies require him to have a vehicle, I rarely have access to ours.
This week Dave’s busy schedule left absolutely no time for me to go to the grocery store. Since the nearest one is several kilometers away I was going to bike there and fill up my saddle bags with groceries. But some unseasonably cold weather deterred me. I had often seen the Save On Foods van outside the door of my building so I figured some of my fellow condo dwellers were having groceries delivered, and thought maybe I should give it a try too.
It couldn’t have been easier. I registered online, found the things I needed and put them in my ‘shopping cart.’ Then I picked a delivery time. I noted that if you chose less popular delivery times the cost of delivery was as low as $4.95. What a bargain! Someone would pick out my groceries for me in the store, bag them and deliver them right to my door for $4.95? If I figured out my time shopping, gas for the car and monetized the effort spent hauling the groceries from my parking garage up to my condo I was even going to be ahead financially. I also found I stuck to my list better shopping online and wasn’t enticed by other ‘deals’ I might have succumbed to shopping in the actual store so my weekly total was quite a bit lower than usual.
Then I had the loveliest chat with the young man who delivered my groceries and realized I was helping to provide a much-needed job for him. What a win/win situation.
I’ve already started my grocery list for next week. I may never go to a grocery store again!
Galileo’s Grocery List
To Market, To Market
Filed under Food, Winnipeg
I fell last December, broke my wrist and was in a cast for a month. Ever since then I have been more mindful of looking down when I walk. On Friday morning it had just snowed when I was making my way to a school to visit one of my student teachers so I was checking out the sidewalk carefully with each step. That’s when I saw these leaf imprints in one of the sidewalk blocks on Agnes Street. The sidewalk there is a jumble of cement slabs that have been repaired and reconstructed over time but in this one there were tiny little works of art. I had to stop and take some pictures. Some leaves must have fallen into the cement after it was poured before it was dry and they had left all these delicate prints almost like fossils in the sidewalk. It was lovely!
No one is really happy when it snows in the middle of April but the ice and snow on Friday morning had me looking down carefully. What a bit of beauty I would have missed if my eyes had been up!
A Pool of Possibilities
Filed under Art, Winnipeg
I’ve done my research to figure out what city council candidate I should vote for in the upcoming election now it’s time to figure out which school trustee candidate I should support. It wasn’t really that easy to find out which of the nine Winnipeg wards I live in but thanks to the maps on the Winnipeg 1 school division site I figured out I live in Ward 6. Our former school trustee Cathy Collins isn’t running this time but thanks to the Open Democracy Manitoba website I was able to find out that Rey Sangalang and Jennifer Chen are both candidates.
Jennifer Chen is the mother of two young children who came to Canada in 2009. She wants the voices of all families to be heard at the school board table. Ms. Chen has a masters degree and her thesis focused on the health and well-being of communities. She is active in numerous community organizations. She has been campaigning since August and talking to as many people in our ward as she can to find out what their concerns and hopes and ideas are.
Ms. Chen knows parents would like better gang and drug abuse prevention resources, more support for newcomer and refugee children, safer walks to school, more help for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and after school progamming to keep kids away from negative influences. Jennifer wants to help grow math, literacy and science knowledge for kids and improve their health through more robust physical education programming.
She recognizes the economic, cultural and ethnic diversity of Ward 6. It includes indigenous families whose ancestors have been here for thousands of years as well as refugee families who have just arrived in Canada. She would like to build bridges between the many diverse communities in our ward. She sees her role as a school trustee as an important and long term commitment and believes it is time for some changes in the way school boards operate. Julie takes the campaign seriously. She has a Facebook page and website that provide important information about her qualifications and policies.
Rey Sangalang is the other trustee candidate in Ward 6. As of my writing this he had not yet filled out the candidate questionairre on the Winnipeg Election website . He does not have a website of his own where one can easily access information about him. However when I sent a request for information to the e-mail address on his online poster he quickly responded.
Rey Sangalang immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1994 and has three children. He and his wife are very active in a Catholic Church program called Worldwide Marriage Encounter. They were the Asian coordinators for the program that offers support to couples to strengthen their marriages and family life. Currently Mr. Sangalang works as a consituency assistant for MLA Flor Marcelino. He is active in numerous community organizations.
Mr. Sangalang would like to see more collaboration between parents, students and teachers and advocates involving grandparents in the school community as well. He would like to see an aggressive cultural and physical education program in schools and hopes schools will be welcoming to refugees and immigrants and help them speedily integrate into Canadian culture. He thinks every school should offer early learning and child care services.
I commend both Mr. Sangalang and Ms. Chen for running for the office of trustee and for the work each has done in the community. I have to say however that Ms. Chen articulates her policies and priorities in a much clearer and more detailed way than her opponent and her academic credentials in a related field are an impressive plus. She is also much more conversant with social media as a way to spread important information. I would also lean towards voting for her because I really believe it is important to have the voices of women represented in much greater numbers in civic leadership.
On Friday my friend Esther and I paid a visit to the Amsterdam Tea Room just beside Old Market Square at the heart of the Exchange District. I had been there before for tea but never for a meal. As the name of the restaurant indicates there is a distinctly Dutch flavor to the menu items. I had a vegetable sandwich with beet soupand Esther had the endive, pear, grape salad with the pea, celery and leek soup. They have dozens and dozens of kinds of tea on offer at the Amersterdam Tea Room. I opted for the Pina Colada tea and Esther chose a chai blend. We had a lovely meal at a sunny window table and caught up on what had happened in each of our lives since we last got together. We had planned to sketch in one of the many art galleries in the Exchange but it was such a gorgeous day we sat at a picnic table in Old Market Square to work on some new pages in our sketch books. Winnipeg, we decided, is a beautiful place indeed on a fine fall afternoon!
Autumn’s Beauty on the Black Sand Beaches of Iceland
Autumn is the Perfect Time for Writing
Autumn Dreams Are in the Air
As someone who bikes all over Winnipeg I am thrilled to see so many new designated bicycle lanes like this one on Sherbrooke being built. Another thing we need in the city however are more bike racks and stands where cyclists can lock their bikes as they shop or dine or visit public spaces and buildings. Last week we joined our children for dinner at The Grove restaurant on Stafford. There were no bike racks in sight and all the street signs around already had a couple of bikes locked up to them. We ended up walking a few blocks to find a street sign that we could use for locking up our bikes. On Saturday morning we went to Hildegard’s for coffee and right in front of the bakery and coffeeshop was a bike stand. Perfect! I am not sure who is responsible for putting up bike racks and stands- the city or businesses or community groups. But if we want to encourage more people to cycle it is important to give them places to lock and leave their bikes.
Biking the Beach in Costa Rica
The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island
Slathering on sunscreen and getting on our life jackets for the journey
On Saturday we went on a canoeing adventure with our friends Ed and Millie, paddling the Assiniboine River from Ed and Millie’s home near the perimeter highway in St. James all the way down to the dock at the end of the block where our home is located in the downtown Exchange District of Winnipeg.
Ready for launch
Ed parked his van in our garage around noon and then we drove to Ed and Millie’s where Dave and Ed put our canoes into the water. We decided to paddle the Mennonite way – men in one canoe and women in the other.
Millie did a great job of steering our canoe and adjusting to my sometimes less than stellar and steady paddling skills
The more experienced paddlers the Hildebrands provided the steering in the back of the canoes and we Driedgers sat in front. It was neat to view the city from the river perspective especially all the grand homes along the banks. We saw deer and pelicans and herons and signs of beavers at work. People were so friendly- saying hello, reminding us to drink water, commenting on our paddling strokes, waving and shouting greetings to us from bridges. During the first half of our journey the river was very shallow and we went aground a couple of times on sandbars that extended on for quite a distance. At one point when Millie and I couldn’t seem to free ourselves from a sandbar a kindly gentleman who lived along the water donned his hip waders and came out to help us, showing us the channel of deeper water where we could get through. We stopped for lunch at Omands Creek Park. Millie had made delicious cheese and vegetable biscuits and brought along some of her homemade spicy pickles from this year’s batch. Mostly though we just drank and drank- plenty of water and a little beer. I hadn’t brought along a water bottle which was silly and I was actually a mite dizzy when we got out of the canoes at lunchtime. It was 36 degrees on Saturday but during most of our journey we had a little bit of a breeze to cool us. For the second half of our paddle the river was much deeper, but the current was a little harder to navigate and we encountered some larger boats that created waves for our canoes. The distance from Ed and Millie’s house to ours is 15 kilometers as the crow flies so I am thinking we probably paddled at least 20 or more kilometers along our winding river route. Once we reached the dock on Waterfront Drive we loaded up the canoes one by one and returned them and then we went back to Ed and Millie’s. Dave and Ed took a dip in the Assiniboine to refresh themselves. Then we had appetizers and drinks down by the river in Ed and Millie’s lush and lovely back yard. A marvelous meal of barbecued pork, kale salad and fresh garden vegetables followed and it was dark before we headed inside for a piece of Millie’s delicious homemade apple pie and ice-cream and a last glass of wine.
It was easy to fall asleep Saturday night. We’d had lots of exercise and fresh air, lively and interesting conversation, excellent food and a great time with good friends.
Kayaking in Laos
A Serendipitous Sail
A Gourmet Sail