Category Archives: Winnipeg

The Bombers Grey Cup Victory is Exciting But…………..

Photo by Johany Jutras from the Blue Bomber website

“Did you watch the Grey Cup?” A man in the bus shelter yesterday morning struck up an immediate conversation with me about the Bombers Grey Cup win. People at my gym were chatting about the game in every corner. During the course of the day, I overheard many excited and positive conversations between strangers as I made my way around the city. It was nice to see people connecting and talking over their common love of football and Winnipeg. I went to a Grey Cup party on Sunday where there was great food, good friends, and people enjoyed cheering the Bombers on together. 

But………. despite all that good feeling I have to say that I have quite a number of doubts about the value of having a professional football team in Winnipeg.  Here are just a few. 

blue bomber victory

Photo by Frank Gunn Canadian Press

The risk for traumatic brain injury while playing the sport is significantly high. Does all the hoopla about the Bombers encourage more local kids to participate in a sport that we know can be extremely dangerous?

Investors_Group_Field_2014Our province under the leadership of Brian Pallister forgave almost 200 million dollars in loans used to build Investors Field in Winnipeg, where the Blue Bombers play. Winnipeg is facing all kinds of challenges right now.  The city is thinking about curtailing bus services, closing libraries, decreasing funding for police services, shutting down parks and swimming pools. The province isn’t stepping up to help ………….yet they had 200 million dollars available to provide support for a field where an elite group of men throw a ball around in an entertaining fashion. 

Photo of Zach Collaros from the CFL website

The average salary for a Manitoba teacher in 2019 was $53, 302.  Zach Collaros the Bomber’s quarterback makes around $500,000. When one compares the contributions teachers and football players make towards the betterment of society and its future things seem just a little skewed. 

Photo from the Winnipeg Cheer Team Facebook page

Football is a male-only sport.  Shouldn’t we be promoting sports that give women an equal opportunity to excel and a chance to make the same kind of money men do?  The most visible role women seem to have in the Bomber franchise is as cheerleaders.  They wear skimpy outfits, don’t get paid and “cheer” the men on.  Although I am sure the cheerleaders are really nice young women they don’t necessarily present the kind of equal opportunity role model I’d like to see for young girls. 

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket.  I won’t even complain too much this afternoon when the Grey Cup Parade is going to cause delays in my bus trips between work and volunteer commitments.  It’s great to see Winnipegers feeling positive about something and maybe that positivity will give us the energy to tackle some of the big challenges our city is facing and work towards the kinds of changes it is important for society to make. 

Other posts…………

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence

Super Bowl Ads- A Woman’s Perspective

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Filed under Sports, Winnipeg

This Was Crazy Wonderful!

I counted nearly 250 people lined up to enter the Grant Park Highschool gym for the Friends of the Library book sale when the doors opened at 10.

On Saturday I volunteered at the annual Friends of the Library book sale at Grant Park Highschool. The sale has been a Winnipeg tradition for more than a decade and a half.

My job was to sit at the door and count the people coming in.  We opened the doors at 10:00 and ten minutes later 331 folks were in the gym engaging in a book buying frenzy.

The calm before the storm. Volunteers worked hard on Friday night to set up more than fifty tables full of books

For a whole year dedicated volunteers had been sorting and pricing and boxing books in the basement of a Winnipeg library and now another raft of volunteers was helping customers find books, acting as cashiers and keeping all the tables stocked with merchandise.

Books are organized into more than twenty categories.

The money from the sale all goes to support programs at Winnipeg’s public libraries. In 2018 the sale raised $23,000.  At 1:30 when my shift ended 1047 people had passed through the doors.  I wonder how many more visited Saturday afternoon and Sunday?

Look at all these eager book buyers!

I couldn’t believe how many of the folks I recognized as they came through the door.  I saw former students of mine, people from my church, my children’s friends, a fellow blogger, colleagues from the art gallery where I work, members of other boards I serve on, a resident of my condo, a former Winnipeg Free Press colleague, a player on my husband’s ball team, a good friend and a university colleague.  People left with boxes and carts and huge bags full of books.

I said good-bye and thanked people for coming as they exited.

Sitting at the door as they left many book buyers engaged me in conversation or made comments I overheard.

“This was crazy wonderful.”  

“I come to this sale every year.  I wouldn’t miss it. ” 

“I’m a teacher and now my classroom is stocked with books.” 

“I’ve been here browsing for hours. It’s awesome.”

“Large print books are so hard to find, but I found some here.”

“As you can see from this stack I’m a biography man.”

“I’m ready for eight months of winter reading now.” 

“I found all these lovely huge art books and I am going to frame the pages to make a classic art wall in our house.”

“I hope there is enough room in my car for all these books.” 

“I got Christmas presents for all my grandkids.”

“A big thanks to the volunteers for doing this.”

“This is my second visit today and I’ll be back again tomorrow.”

“I found a bunch of new authors I want to try.” 

“I wish I had three or four more hands so I could carry more books.”

“I hate to go home and leave so many beautiful books behind.”

“I found some really nice surprises.”

“What great fun I’ve had.”

Anyone who thinks people are no longer passionate about books and reading should have been at the Friends of the Library sale last weekend when Winnipeg book lovers of every age indulged voraciously in their love of literature. 

Other posts……….

My Childhood Reading Heaven

Winnipeg’s Millenium Library

There’s A Waterfall on the Library

A Bottomless Vortex of Books

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Filed under Books, Winnipeg

Bus Chat

“He’s just human too.”  I was taking the bus to work the other day and about halfway down Portage Avenue the bus pulled over at a stop and the driver hopped out.  He was gone for several minutes and I looked at my watch a couple of times hoping I wouldn’t be late for work.  

The woman sitting beside me, who appeared to be about my age said, “Don’t worry.  He will be right back.  He just had to go the washroom.  These drivers have long shifts and sometimes they need to pee. He’s just human too you know.”  She told me a public washroom nearby was one frequently used by drivers.  She pointed out that our bus was actually a bit ahead of schedule and so that meant the driver had a few minutes to use the washroom. 

I was curious why the woman seemed to know so much about bus drivers’ habits.  She told me she had recently retired after working for several decades in a cafeteria that catered to bus drivers. She had come to know many drivers very well.  She had heard plenty of first-hand stories from bus drivers who had been abused or treated poorly by riders and how tough it can be to keep your cool, remain respectful and be friendly to folks throughout a long shift. She maintained that almost all the drivers she had come in contact with while working in the cafeteria were ‘really nice, hardworking people.’

The woman and I continued to chat.  She told me who she had voted for in the Canadian election the day before and why.  She asked me about my work and when I told her I was a retired school teacher and now worked with young teachers in training she thanked me for doing the work I do.  She said school had been boring and tough for her as a kid.  She was hit with a ruler if she did something wrong. But she is so impressed with the kindness and care her grandchildren get from their teachers now and the way their teachers try to make school enjoyable and interesting for them.  

As I got up to exit the bus my seatmate said good-bye and thanked me for chatting with her.  “My pleasure,” I said. 

I have been thinking about our conversation quite a bit these last couple of days wondering how much better a place our world would be if we all could remember that phrase “they’re just human too,” every time we want to criticize people.  

Other posts…………

Riding the Bus Alone At Age 5

Another Friend For the Moment

I Almost Broke My Arm Again

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Filed under Reflections, 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

 

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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. 

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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

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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

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Filed under Health, Nature, Winnipeg