Category Archives: Winnipeg

Walking Back in Time

I walk to the gym via Lily Street each day and have always been intrigued by these small pieces of metal art that you find all along the street. One morning I stopped to inspect and photograph some of them.  Each one represents a building that used to stand in the Lily street area.   When looking through the viewfinder the silhouette of the building aligns with where it once stood in the distance. A metal disc under each building silhouette tells you the name of the building and the date it was constructed. This piece, for example, shows Biggs Terrace. It was a housing unit on James Street in 1888.

In this photo from the Manitoba Archives, you can see how it looked over a century ago

Here are two buildings that stood side by side in 1903- Pellissier and Gobeils Soda Waterworks and Clark and Hughes Undertakers.

In this photo from the University of Manitoba Archives, you can see exactly how the buildings looked at the turn of the century.

A couple of the metal art pieces show the location of railroad lines. Looking through this sculpture’s viewfinder you can see where the Galt Avenue Spur Line of the Winnipeg Transfer Railway stood. This one shows housing in the area in 1890And here is the Amy Street Steam Plant in 1924. 

The lovely metal sculptures on Lily Street help us go back in time. They provide a link between present-day Winnipeg and pieces of Winnipeg’s downtown fabric that are long gone.

I searched in vain online for a description of these lovely little silhouettes or their history. I couldn’t find anything not even the name of the artist who made the pieces or when they were erected.  I’d love to hear from any blog reader who may have more information about these gems of public art.   

Other posts

Half-Empty or Half-Full?

A Thirty Foot Pregnant Woman

Bloody Sunday

Cocktails in a Stable



Filed under Art, History, Winnipeg

A Thirty Foot Pregnant Woman – Niimaamaa

I had driven my bicycle through this soaring art piece so many times but had never stopped to find out what it was all about or who had created it.  Last week as I cycled across Broadway and then biked the path up to the Forks along the river, I decided to take some time exploring it. The 30-foot high sculpture is called Niimaamaa (pronounced nee-ma-ma) and its creators say it is meant to be a figure of a pregnant woman representing Mother Earth and new beginnings.

A crowd gathers for the opening of Niimaamaa in November of 2018

There are seven cascading strands of hair on one side of the piece representing the seven sacred teachings of love, respect, humility, courage, wisdom, truth and honesty.  The figure gazes up at the sky and out onto the nearby river.  Niimaamaa means My Mother and is a word recognized by Cree, Ojibwe and Metis speakers.

I spent a long time looking at Niimaamaa trying to understand the way the river waters of the Red and Assiniboine are represented in the art piece as well as the seven-sister constellations also know as The Pleiades. The copper dress the pregnant figure is wearing is a symbol of prosperity and strength.

You can see your reflection in Niimaamaa

The highly polished metal invites viewers to see themselves reflected in the sculpture as a reminder of our responsibility to protect Mother Earth. 

Val Vint, K.C. Adams and Jaimie Isaac at the opening of Niimaamaa

When I read the sign at the site I discovered that the creators of the piece were Val Vint, K.C. Adams and Jaimie Isaac. Jaimie is the Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery where I work. An amazing exhibit Jaimie curated along with Julie Nagam called Insurgence/Resurgence was on show at the WAG for seven months in 2017 and 2018.  Julie also provided curatorial support for the Niimaamaa project. 

We have frequently had K.C. Adamswork on display at the WAG. You may know K.C.  best from her series Perceptions. These duo portraits were seen all over Winnipeg in 2015. K.C. took stereotypical and racist references for indigenous people and turned them on their ear by showing accomplished and successful members of the First Nation community. 

I was excited to learn that K.C. Adams, Jaimie Issac and Val Vint will each have other works of public art on display in and around The Forks in the future.  These pieces will be completed and opened in 2020 and 2021. I look forward to seeing them too. 


Filed under Art, Winnipeg

Burger Week 2019- You Win Some- You Lose Some

We were driving to the Toronto airport from Leamington Ontario on Wednesday when we got a text from our friends Ed and Millie. Did we want to do a Burger Week evening with them?  Our plane was landing in Winnipeg a little after four so we thought a six-thirty get together would work out just fine. We suggested they come to our place for a drink on our rooftop and then we’d head out on the streets around our house. One hundred and twenty -four restaurants are part of Burger Week and at least twenty or more are within easy walking distance of our condo.

First, we went to Old Bailey’s because their burger sounded interesting and neither couple had been to the place in ages. What an inspired choice! Their feature burger The Aztec Mexican Chili Burger was great. It consisted of a ground beef patty, jalapeno jack cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, green leaf lettuce, chipotle mayo, all smothered with Mexican chili between an onion bun topped with Cheddar cheese bites. We shared two burgers. The service was friendly, the atmosphere cozy and we had a great time.

Next, we wanted to try out the Krabby Patty Burger at Chosabi’s. Sadly the restaurant was closed. Dave had heard a great review of the Amsterdam Tea Rooms’ Royale with Cheeseburger. Unfortunately, they were all sold out of the two hundred burgers they’d had on hand for the night. What about The King Mac at the King and Bannatyne establishment?  Two fellows on the patio told us the burger was fantastic but the line up was very long and we were hungry. So we headed over to the Kings Head Pub for their Ragin Cajun Burger. It consisted of a beef patty broiled in spicy cajun sauce with cajun mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onions on a glazed bun sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. It was fine but came in a pale second to the burger at Old Bailey’s.

We had thought of hitting three establishments but by now we were stuffed and it was after 10 o’clock. Time for everyone to head home. We hadn’t seen the Hildebrands for a while so it was great to catch up. We will have to do Burger Week again next year.

Other posts…….

Burger Week 2018

Burger Week 2017

The Great Assiniboine River Canoeing Adventure

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Winnipeg

Does Your City Need A Butt Blitz?

Did you know that cigarette butts are responsible for around 40% of the litter in the Canadian cities? A recent CBC story describes a campaign the city of Hamilton has started to try to encourage smokers to discard their cigarette butts properly. New garbage receptacles with eye-catching designs placed in many strategic spots will hopefully mean more cigarettes get tossed into them rather than tossed onto roadways, sidewalks, and flowerbeds. Hamilton also hosted a ‘butt blitz’ this past April where volunteers combed the city picking up discarded cigarette butts. I think we might need a butt blitz here in Winnipeg too. Yesterday morning we went to a friendly coffee shop we like to frequent. Just before going inside I noticed all these cigarette butts near the curb in the coffee shop parking lot.  Yuck!  Not exactly the thing to whet your appetite for the tasty baking inside the coffee shop. When we got back home I photographed a couple of reminders like this in the flower beds outside our condo. The beds are planted and lovingly tended by a volunteer gardener in our building. She has had to pick endless cigarette butts out of the flower beds so each one is now adorned with one of these signs she has made.  

Not only are the butts unsightly they contain plastics that are not biodegradable and their chemicals can be harmful to birds who pick them up and ingest them, and also to marine life when the chemicals from the cigarettes seep into waterways. 

When I visited Lisbon a couple of years ago I thought it was terrible the way cigarette butts lined the beautiful cobblestone designs of the streets.  But we have a cigarette littering problem right here in Canada too and right here in Winnipeg.  There are laws against littering but they don’t seem to be working when it comes to cigarette butts. Perhaps Winnipeg can follow Hamilton’s lead and find ways to get cigarette litter out of our public places. 

Other posts………

Too Much Smoking

Cleaning Up My Neighborhood

Sitting is the New Smoking


Filed under Health, Nature, Winnipeg

My Polio Vaccines- Dad’s Treasures Part 6



One of the interesting treasures I found while helping my father downsize for a move was this copy of my polio vaccinations.  Currently, children are vaccinated for polio at ages two months, four months, 6-18 months and at ages 4-6.  So why did I receive only three vaccinations and all within a few months of each other when I was four years old?  

Dr. Jonas Salk administering a vaccine

That’s because the polio vaccine was only discovered by Jonas Salk in 1953, the year I was born.  The vaccine needed to be tested and it was only in April of 1955 that the government approved the administration of the vaccination to all six to nine-year-olds. I wasn’t old enough to get it then.

Polio epidemics had caused many deaths over the centuries. Just between 1949 and 1954 nearly 11,000 people in Canada were left paralyzed by polio. In 1953, the year I was born there were nearly 9,000 cases and some 500 deaths in Canada.

People with polio in iron lungs

The incidence of polio in Winnipeg was higher in 1953 than had been previously seen anywhere else in the world.  Close to a hundred people in the city were in iron lungs because their breathing muscles were paralyzed. The 1953 epidemic was the most serious the country had experienced since a national epidemic in 1918. 

By 1956 it was clear that children who had received the polio vaccine during the previous year were much less likely to get polio or experience paralysis than those who hadn’t been vaccinated.  Although not every province decided to go ahead with vaccinating more children, thankfully the province of Manitoba did as the official notice above indicates.

Photo from the Manitoba archives showing St. Matthews Church where I had my vaccinations

That’s why in 1957 at age four I received the potentially life-saving vaccine. My mother had to take me to the St. Matthew’s Church in Winnipeg for the shots.

This photo was taken at Easter in 1957 the year my sister and I had our first polio vaccinations

I imagine my sister who was sixteen months younger than I was also had the vaccinations. 

I just read recently that thanks largely to the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation polio is now on the verge of being eradicated throughout the world. 

Other posts…….

Vaccinations Aren’t Just For Babies

Another Shameful Chapter in Canadian History

My Mother’s Friends


Filed under Childhood, Health, Winnipeg

Cocktails in a Stable

Wednesday night we had a group of friends over to dinner. Before our meal, we took them to a bar called Patent 5 near our home in the Exchange District. We wanted to treat them to a celebratory cocktail to mark the fact that we will celebrate our wedding anniversary this weekend.  Patent 5 is located in a former stable. 

The Dominion Express Company, whose name you see over the front door of Patent 5 was a parcel delivery business. It was founded in 1873 in Winnipeg and built its headquarters at 108 Alexander Avenue in 1904.  The stable area for the company’s horses and wagons has been converted into the Patent 5 Distillery and Bar.

Patent 5 offers a menu of interesting and unique cocktails using vodka, whiskey and gin they make on-site.  The name is a reference to the kind of still they use to produce their alcohol.  It is based on an 1869 design by James Wilson who was issued Patent #5 for his invention. 

The interior of Patent 5 is steeped in history as well.  All the oak paneling, doors, window frames, chandeliers, and stained glass were taken from the fabled Oak Room at the St. Regis Hotel built in 1911. The hotel closed in 2017 but the beautiful interior of the Oak Room has been preserved in the design of Patent 5. The chairs in Patent 5 come from an old Presbyterian church in Melita, Manitoba and your cocktails are served in vintage crystal glasses.  
A former Eaton’s Warehouse built in 1926 is across the street.  You can see the signature letter E above the door. We had a great time at Patent 5. It was very fitting to drink a toast to the history of our marriage in such a historic place. 

Other posts……….

Lunch in an Old Train Station

A Fascinating Conversation in a Tiny Wine Bar in Lisbon

Snake Wine



Filed under Restaurants, Winnipeg

The Spirit of Ukraine

We did a 26 kilometer round trip on our bicycles on Monday to visit the Ukraine Pavilion at Folklorama. Our friends Brian and Merle had invited us to join them to watch their grandson perform. He is part of the Zoloto Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. We started our visit to the pavilion by sharing a typical Ukrainian dinner, holopchi, perogies, sausage, pickles, coleslaw, and bread. And then the show began. It featured traditional dances associated with harvest time. The dancers were absolutely amazing. They performed so enthusiastically. I loved their bright colorful costumes. They were incredibly flexible and did all kinds of gymnastic moves. I figured they must be in terrific shape to dance for so long and so energetically.

Our friend’s grandson is furthest to the left

Our friend’s grandson is only six years old but he took a central role in the performance by the youngest members of the Zoloto Dancing Ensemble.  The kids were charming and were certainly very talented dancers!

A woman sitting across from us said the Spirit of Ukraine Folklorama Pavilion features the culture of the area of Ukraine around the city of Lviv in the more western part of the country. Her family is from the Kyiv area of Ukraine and they will have their own pavilion at a different location in the city during the second week of Folklorama.  She told us the two groups from Ukraine have major differences so it wouldn’t really work to run a pavilion together.  I guess even at Folklorama there are politics involved.  Since Dave and I have visited both Lviv and Kyiv the woman’s comments had me thinking about differences we may have detected in our visits to the two cities. 

The Spirit of Ukraine Pavilion was great and if you get a chance to go and see the show you will definitely be entertained. 

Other posts……….

Independence Square in Kiev

50 Years of Folklorama

Dancing in Shangrila


Filed under Culture, Winnipeg