Category Archives: 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

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Filed under Culture, Winnipeg

Half Empty or Half Full?

Is the glass half empty or half full? That’s the classic question posed by a sculpture in the reading garden at Winnipeg’s Millenium Library. It’s a giant beaker, like the sort you’d find in a science lab.  Created by architect Bill Pechet of Vancouver the sculpture is made from 22,000 kilograms of steel. It is called emptyful. Pechet has his own interpretation of the artwork something to do with the empty boundless spaces of the prairies around Winnipeg and the richness and fullness of our province’s seasons, people and heritage. I like to think emptyful is in the shape of a beaker because life is really just one big experiment and we are never sure what is going to happen.

The sculpture also makes me think about why some people tend to be optimistic looking at life through rosy lenses with a glass half full kind of perspective, while others always think first about what could go wrong, rather than what could right. They have a glass half empty approach to life. 
Winston Churchill once mused For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else. It reminds me of something Democratic candidate for American President Elizabeth Warren said in a recent debate when she chided a fellow candidate asking him why in the world he would run for office if he wasn’t optimistic that positive changes could be made.  

I think I’m a glass-half-full kind of person most of the time, but not always and not in all areas of my life.  I do know that being optimistic is far better for both my mental and physical health.

I wonder if we inherit optimism?  I suspect that while biology and nurture can influence how optimistic we are, life events and experiences can also alter our degree of optimism. 

Charles Carver of the University of Miami suggests it is best to have a balance of optimism and pessimism if we want to have safe and happy lives. You need to have a certain amount of optimism in order to make decisions about things like marriage, parenthood, travel or a career change.  Optimism can help us keep going even when our lives are tough. A little pessimism though can help us assess situations and choices more realistically and can inspire us to try to fill the half empty glass by taking actions that will improve our lives or the life of society.

On a CBC Ideas program, a panel discussion participant talked about the importance of cultivating optimism for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Our optimism will encourage our kids to have hope for the future and confidence in their ability to achieve things even if they don’t succeed right away. Cultivating an optomistic next generation is essential to the preservation of society and culture. Just look at Greta Thunberg the sixteen year old girl from Sweden whose campaign to save the environment has already garnered her a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full kind of person? 

Other posts………

600 Million Moments

Must We Live in Fear? 

An Attitude of Gratitude


Filed under Art, Reflections, Winnipeg

Fifty Years of Folklorama

Yesterday when I was waiting for my bus in front of City Hall the official opening of Folklorama was taking place there. Mayor Brian Bowman was giving a speech. I only caught a bit of it before my bus pulled up but one line I remember was something like ….”Winnipeg is wedding socials, whiteouts, and Folklorama.”The signage made it clear 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the annual Folklorama event showcasing forty-five different cultural groups that are part of our urban milieu. For two weeks you can visit pavilions set up all over the city to see displays, enjoy cultural shows and taste a huge variety of ethnic foods. We haven’t always been in Winnipeg for Folkorama since we moved here in 2011, but I thought I’d include a few photos I’ve taken on past visits.

Trying a kilt on for size at the Scottish Pavilion in 2018

In 2011 I met a former Steinbach student of mine and her sister who were ambassadors at the Belgian Pavilion

Watching dancers at the Brazil Pavilion 2013

Trying on some traditional outfits with my friend Merle at the Portugal Pavilion in 2016

We already have plans to go to the Ukrainian Pavilion with friends on Monday so I will have more photos to include in my Folklorama album.

Guiding a group from Winnipeg’s Chinese community at the art gallery

With a group of my student teachers and the staff members who supported them in a Winnipeg school where I was a supervisor

In my jobs as a guide at the art gallery and as a university supervisor in many different inner-city schools I am constantly delighted by the wonderful ethnic, cultural, racial and religious diversity of Winnipeg. Folklorama is a great way to celebrate that diversity. 

Other posts………

You Take the High Road

I Know the Belgian Ambassador

A Dress for Marrying and Burying

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Filed under Winnipeg

Men Only?

 I was going into a restaurant on Saturday morning for breakfast and saw this sign alerting me to the fact that window washers were working up above.  My feminist antenna started quivering when I saw this uninclusive sign.  MEN WORKING ABOVE

Perhaps only men were washing windows that day, but I wondered if there were no women who were window washers.  I decided to do a little research.  On the Window Cleaning Resource Site, I read the story of a woman window washer who has built herself a client base of 400 in just a few years. She says there are many more males than females in the window washing business but declares, “who says we can’t clean windows just as well as men?” 

I found the Lambert-Mountian Powerwashing Glass Company in Rhode Island that said “We are an equal opportunity employer! We also believe in equal PAY!”  That message was captioning the picture above. 

In the Sixth Tone magazine, I read a story about Quan Minmin, a high rise window washer in China. 
And finally, I found this logo for a company in Sydney Australia that features female window washers. It may be possible that there are no female window washers in Winnipeg but there certainly are female window washers in other places. Why couldn’t the sign have said WINDOW WASHERS WORKING ABOVE or simply WORKERS ABOVE? Let’s not imply that women are excluded from any profession.  If you know a female window washer in Winnipeg I’d love to hear about her. 

Other posts………

Where Are The Women?

Women Soldiers

Women Were Honored?  Think Again


Filed under Winnipeg

An American Invasion?

Saturday night when we came home around midnight after our Fringe Festival show we saw all these bleachers up and down our street draped with American flag style bunting. The next morning when we went outside to go to church there were American flags flying on every light standard and pole in the neighborhood. American flags were plastered on billboards, hydro boxes, and buildings.  What was going on?  Had the Americans invaded Canada?  Considering the wacky president who currently resides in the White House even the most unbelievable scenarios can seem possible.  No, an American invasion hadn’t happened overnight. Instead, we discovered that some parade scenes from an American movie called Flag Day were being shot in our neighborhood. The film stars and is directed by two- time Oscar-winner Sean Penn. Two of Sean’s children also have roles in the production which is based on the book Flim Flam Man a true story of a girl who finds out her father is a bank robber and career counterfeiter.  sean penn wiki commonsMaybe I should have stayed outside all day to wait for a glimpse of Sean Penn but I had other things to do.   The Winnipeg Exchange District is a popular location for movie makers.  I’ve jokingly told people we live in the middle of a movie set. And sometimes, like yesterday, it certainly feels like that.  

Other posts……..

I Live in A Movie Set

In the Middle of a Movie Set

Winnipeg in the Movies

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Filed under Movies, Winnipeg

Lots of Cyclists

“What a waste of money for something so few people use.” I was coming home from the Winnipeg airport in a cab in May and my driver was complaining about the bike lanes in the Exchange District where I live. He thinks they slow down traffic and are a waste of taxpayer money since so few people cycle. I love the bike lanes because they make me feel so much safer while biking in the city.
This past week Dave and I did a morning cycling trip to train for our upcoming bike holiday in Croatia. We saw lots of bikers. I started to count all the cyclists that passed us but couldn’t keep up. As we exited the Forks I stopped to take a snapshot of this sign. It keeps track of daily and annual cyclists that pass that point. It was only nine in the morning and already more than a hundred cyclists had whizzed by that location.
I found a 2018 survey that said about 20% of Winnipegers ride their bikes either every day or several times a week in summer. Perhaps bike lanes aren’t worth it for such a small percentage of the population but perhaps the number of bikers will increase as the number of bike lanes increase.
I walked by the bike security area for the Fringe Festival one morning last week on my way to the gym. It was just before noon on a weekday and already plenty of people had brought their bikes downtown to take in a Fringe play. A volunteer was watching their bikes in a secure area to prevent theft. A quick count revealed some sixty bikes and I thought about how that meant sixty less cars downtown needing to find a parking space. Later I saw another hundred or so bikes locked up near Old Market Square and thought about the reduction of downtown traffic they represented. 
I’d like to see more Winnipegers using their bikes. I know there are downsides to bike travel- chance of theft, short-season weather-wise, lack of bike lanes in some areas and the chance of accidents but there are also upsides- physical fitness, better for the environment, save parking costs and an opportunity for socializing.

Let’s cycle Winnipeg!

Other posts………..

Exercise is a Celebration

Biking in Switzerland and Germany

Biking the Beach in Costa Rica

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Filed under Sports, Winnipeg