Category Archives: Winnipeg

Siloam Mission at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

touring people from sialom missionAs you can see from this photo I’m having a delightful time!  Recently I had the privilege of taking a group of people from Siloam Mission through the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  I usually give tours to school groups so I am always a little apprehensive when I’m asked to guide adults.  I needn’t have worried!  The experience with the Siloam community was great ! In this photo we are looking at a painting by the great Canadian artist Emily Carr. One of my tour participants knew so much about Emily and her work. I learned a lot from him. And there were other people on my tour who taught me things about Chagall and Rembrandt and Inuit whale bone sculptures and the art of scrimshaw. wanda koop with sialom mission peopleI had heard of Siloam and the work they do but I have never visited their location on Princess Street.  It was an eye-opening experience to meet and learn from the Siloam Mission folks.  In this photo we are looking at work by Winnipeg’s own Wanda Koop.  Wanda who has an important international presence in the art world hails from inner city Winnipeg and took her first art classes at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  She won those lessons in a contest and it set her on the road to a remarkable career.  The Siloam visitors were so interested in her story. 

rachel with siloam group

Rachel Baerg the Head of Education at the Winnipeg Art Gallery led another tour group from Siloam

One of the reasons I love working at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is because it is a place that tries to be welcoming and invitational to everyone and as a result I get to meet so many interesting and amazing people.  I hope Siloam Mission will come back for another visit.  If they do I’ll be the first guide in line to offer to lead the tour. 

Note:  The photos in the post were taken by Al Foster and are used here with his kind permission.

Other posts………

What’s a Portscape?

The Dakota Boat

Whalebone Sculptures


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Filed under Art, Winnipeg, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Spring and Love

spring by louis bako

The red Chinese character is for love.  It is superimposed on the green character for spring.  I’ve walked by this painting on a Portage Avenue wall a hundred times but finally decided last week to stop to photograph it. The work is titled Spring Over Love Under and is by Louis C. Bako a Winnipeg artist who was born in Hungary.

The painting brings to mind a line from Le Miserables by Victor Hugo.  

If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.

Other posts…….

It Must Be Spring

Inspiration to Speed the Coming of Spring



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Filed under Art, Poetry, Winnipeg

It’s About To Crash!

IMG_3652A white elephant that’s been sitting empty for five years is finally coming down. The demolition of Winnipeg’s former Civic Parkade will leave a huge empty space in the heart of the Exchange District.  

Last Tuesday CentreVenture, a group that facilitates development in Winnipeg’s downtown, hosted residents of the Exchange District at the Amsterdam Tea Room.  Over luscious  cupcakes and fabulous teas a full house of people offered Centre Venture plenty of ideas for what could happen to the space currently occupied by the defunct parking garage. 

public safety building winnipeg

The future of the Public Safety Building next to the parking garage is also up for discussion. Should it be remodeled or torn down too? 

One resident suggested we need to diversify the kind of housing in the Exchange.  Right now there are plenty of high end options but what about more affordable housing that would attract for example Red River Community College and University of Winnipeg students. The two institutions both have downtown campuses. 

A young parent suggested a daycare.  If we want more young families to move to the Exchange we need to offer more quality childcare options downtown. 

We learned in the 1880s the soon to be empty site was home to Winnipeg’s public market.  Some residents suggested we build our own indoor market place similar to Kensington Market in Toronto or The Ferry Plaza Market in San Francisco. 

“Parking, parking, parking,” said one resident.  Almost all Exchange residents agree we need many more parking options in our area. 

Other suggestions were a green space,  a public stage for cultural events, a park with picnic tables, an apartment block, a site for more public art, and of course something everyone who lives in the Exchange wants- a grocery store. 

Exchange District residents aren’t the only ones who have been consulted about the future use of the space.  If you go on the CentreVenture website you can see all the different groups who’ve discussed it.  You can also read the responses of many Winnipeg residents who’ve taken the time to submit their ideas to CentreVenture .  I think its speaks well for the city’s vitality that so many folks are enthusiastically engaging in conversations about how a soon to be empty space in a historic area of Winnipeg could be used.  

Other posts……..

Living in An Art Gallery

Meeting With the Mayor- Homelessness

Meeting With the Mayor- The Arts


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Filed under Winnipeg

The Guess Who On The Wall

guess who mural winnipegI was walking to an appointment on Tuesday when I came upon a striking mural that honors the music group The Guess Who. I had never noticed the mural before so I stopped to take some photos. According to an interview with artist Michael Bridgford Read on  Murals of Winnipeg his Main Street artwork has images from a number of The Guess Who’s records.main street guess who mural

This is exactly how The Guess Who appear on the cover of their album It’s Time. guess who it's time album cover

Version 2

This blue -faced woman pays tribute to the face on the album American Womanamerican woman album cover

And the car in the centre of the mural

Is the one featured on the album So Long Bannatyne

The cans of wheat allude to the cover of the album Canned Wheat. 
There are other interesting images on the mural and if you want to check them out in person you will find The Guess Who mural at 1400 Main Street.

Other posts……..

Connecting with Burton Cummings

The Street Where I Live

Photographed Just in Time


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Filed under Art, Music, Winnipeg

I Live in A Movie Set

Did you know that fifteen movies or television series were shot in Winnipeg last year?  That information comes courtesy of the Manitoba branch of  The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.   A movie was being filmed on our street again last week. When I left the condo early on Thursday morning to take my husband to work, they were stringing lights around the trees on our side of Bannaytne Avenue and decorating them with greenery and bows.  Later when I went to the gym the Winnipeg police were on duty making sure people didn’t interfere with the filming.  film crew on bannatyneWhen I left for work in the late afternoon a horse drawn carriage was standing in front of Hermanos, the restaurant on the main floor of our building and actors were rehearsing a scene on Hermanos’ steps.  

I looked online and two movies are being filmed in Winnipeg right now, Mr. Snowman and Break My Heart A Thousand Times.  I’m guessing the one on our street was Mr. Snowman. 

set for jack layton film

Crew filming outside my building a few years ago.

According to the city’s website Winnipeg is a great location to make a movie because it can masquerade as many other places. The Exchange District has 140 buildings preserved as they looked at the turn of the century making it a great location for filming period pieces. We also have highly quailifed film crews and production facilities and a provincial tax credit program to encourage film production. Other drawing cards are Winnipeg’s four distinct seasons and lots of quality hotels as well as cultural activities to house and entertain film production crews. 

 Having film crews in the neighborhood is nothing unusual if you live in the Exchange District of Winnipeg.  It is all part of the charm and excitement of having a home in such an historic part of the city. 

Other posts……..

I’m Living in a Movie Set

Chicago of the North

Winnipeg in the Movies


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Filed under Movies, Winnipeg

Rubbing Mr. Eaton’s Foot

This statue of Timothy Eaton stands in the concourse of the MTS Centre where the Winnipeg Jets play hockey. I remember this statue well from my childhood because it was located on the main floor in the old Eaton’s Store which used to stand where the MTS Centre is now. When my family was shopping at Eatons, we would often rendezvous at Mr. Eaton’s statue. The Eaton’s store went bankrupt in 1999.  Later the statue was officially deemed a part of Manitoba’s history and a decision made to display it in the MTS Centre.

Timothy Eaton came to Canada from Ireland and built a retail empire with department stores in Toronto and Winnipeg. Mr. Eaton also had a nation wide mail order business. I remember how excited I was as a little girl when the Eatons’ catalogue came out, especially the Christmas edition. I looked through it many times picking out things I dreamt about getting for Christmas. My mother remembers during her childhood in the 1930s longing for an Eaton’s Beauty Doll for Christmas.

This statue was a gift to the Eaton family from the Eatons’ employees. It was presented in December of 1919 on the store’s 50th anniversary. The employees wanted to express gratitude for the company’s generosity during World War I.  Eatons’ employees who enlisted were promised their jobs back after the war and continued to receive a salary while they served overseas.  Military employees received care packages of store products during the war. The company had lucrative government contracts as a result of the war but donated those profits to the war effort.

Although I am sure some Eaton’s workers did appreciate their employer enough to donate money for this massive statue, I am somewhat skeptical if they all did, because during the Winnipeg Labor Strike in June of 1919, just six months before the presentation of the statue, Eatons tried to bribe their workers with a $4.00 a week raise so they wouldn’t go on strike. Despite this five hundred walked off the job. Eatons also supplied horses and baseball bats for the police force dealing with the strikers.

The 3,500 pound statue was made by Ivor Lewis, a Welshman who worked in the Eaton’s advertising department.  A replica was placed in the Eaton’s Store in Toronto. It is now in the Royal Ontario Museum.

I’ve learned recently it is good luck to rub the left foot of the Timothy Eaton statue. I’ll have try  that the next time I walk by.

Other posts …….

Michael’s Geese

Celebrating in an Historic Building

Photographed Just In Time



Filed under History, Winnipeg

My Husband And The Pope Are On The Same Page

When my husband Dave encounters someone on the street asking for money he almost always stops to chat with them and then gives them some cash. pope_francis_photo_2-wiki-commonsThis is exactly what the Pope recently recommended we do during Lent. The pontiff urges us to smile and talk to beggars and homeless people and then give them money. He says we are not to worry what the needy person spends the money on. He stresses the importance of making a personal connection with them.

Pamphlets available at various downtown Winnipeg businesses suggest a different strategy. They say we should donate to local charities like Siloam Mission and the Salvation Army and then refer panhandlers to those places.

I often encounter four or five people asking for money on my way to work downtown. Since I’m usually in a hurry I give the first one I encounter coins and then say ‘sorry’ to the others.

My husband’s strategy and the one the Pope suggests are probably more compassionate and in keeping with Christ’s example. Perhaps I should try it during Lent. If I make sure I leave in plenty of time for work I’d have enough minutes to stop and say hello to each person I meet who is asking for money. It certainly wouldn’t hurt me financially to give everyone I meet some change. I could even make sure I have change in my pocket each time I leave the house to facilitate this. I’m going to try and get on the same page as my husband and the pope. 

Other posts…….

Questions at the Vatican

My Former Church and the Pope

Beggars Everywhere

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Filed under Reflections, Religion, Winnipeg