Category Archives: Winnipeg

She Had A Baseball Bat

I caught the bus at the end of my block to go to work. The bus was pretty full so I took the nearest available seat I could find near the front.

Photo of Winnipeg Transit bus from Wikipedia

Across from me was a woman with a dirt-streaked face and tangled hair. She was speaking rather incoherently to no one in particular and drinking something and eating a piece of bread. As she reached down to pick up her bread from her lap a baseball bat which she had hidden up her sleeve fell out and clattered to the floor.

I was startled and a little frightened. I could tell from the looks on their faces that the people around me were scared too. The woman quickly retrieved the bat and pushed it back up her sleeve.

I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I call out to the driver or go up and talk to him? Maybe the woman needed the bat to protect herself if she lived on the streets. I didn’t want to get her into trouble. But what if the woman was struggling with issues that might make her lash out with the bat and use it on a fellow passenger. Might reporting the bat to the driver upset her? I just sat there afraid.

I was still considering what to do when the bus pulled up to the next stop and the woman got off. After she exited she took out her bat and whacked the glass of the bus shelter at the stop and swore loudly. Her actions showed me she was angry. What if she had expressed that anger on the bus?

I felt sorry for the woman. She was clearly struggling with all kinds of issues.

What could we do to help her, I wondered, and still maintain a safe atmosphere on the bus for the rest of the riders?

Bus shelter where people have been living. Photo by  (Sean Kavanagh/CBC )

After work, it was cold and rainy but I couldn’t wait in the bus shelter at the stop where I needed to catch a bus home. A man had set up a temporary living space in the shelter and it was full of his possessions and littered with garbage.

I felt sorry for the man. He clearly had nowhere else to go.

What could we do to help him I wondered and still maintain a safe, warm and dry place for riders to wait for their bus?

I know the answers to my questions require solutions that are long-term and expensive and HUGE. I know we need more facilities to help people with addictions and more housing for people who are homeless and more support for people struggling with mental health issues.

But in the meantime how do we keep the public transportation system safe and user-friendly for everyone who relies on it?

I don’t know the answer.

Other posts……….

What if God is Just a Stranger on a Bus?

Another Friend For the Moment

Bus Chat

Riding the Bus Alone at Age 5

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They’re Back! Lights- Camera- Action!

What were bright yellow taxi cabs with New York City licence plates doing in the laneway behind my Winnipeg Exchange District condo building yesterday? It didn’t take long to find out.

A movie with a New York setting was being filmed in my neighbourhood.

Crew shooting a film outside my condo building in 2012.

Movie crews in Winnipegs Exchange District were a common sight before the pandemic. The historical buildings in our neighbourhood many of which date back to the 1800s provided a perfect setting for all kinds of films.

Several times a month huge trucks would fill up the parking lots and side streets and we’d see lights and equipment everywhere. In 2019 movie production in Manitoba hit an all-time high with the industry bringing in over $200 million dollars annually to the province. But of course, the pandemic changed all that.

Now the movie industry is gearing up again and there was evidence all over my neighbourhood yesterday.

Camera crews were filming and extras playing New York shoppers were waiting for their turn to be part of the action.

Equipment was being moved from one filming location to another. In the morning a scene was shot in Kevin’s Bistro on Bannatyne. In the afternoon the crew and cast migrated just down the street near the Manitoba Theatre Centre on Rorie to shoot another scene.

The sign boards in our neighbourhood had new posters.

There were costumes hanging in the alleyway behind my building

Just outside the backdoor to my building a canteen had been set up with food and beverages for the film crew and cast.

I’ll admit that in the past we Exchange District residents used to sometimes grumble about the way having a film crew in the neighbourhood inconvenienced us and we tried to ignore them.

But yesterday we were so happy to have them back that people were out and about checking out the cast and crew and sharing information about the film. A notice put up in our building said the movie will be called Love By Design.

Having movies shot regularly in your neighbourhood is one of the things that makes Winnipeg’s Exchange District such a vibrant, exciting and interesting place to live.

Other posts……….

I Live in a Piece of Winnipeg History

Celebrity Sighting At Breakfast

My Personal Winnipeg Alphabet

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That Noisy Red River Cart

On a bike ride yesterday we stopped at the huge Red River cart that stands at the Assiniboine Park entrance to take some photos. Red River carts were invented by the Métis who were the primary residents in this area of Manitoba in the 1800s.

This Red River Cart sculpture was made by Roman Ivan Kowal and was a gift to the citizens of Winnipeg from a local investment company

The hubs of the carts were usually made from elm, the wheel rims from white ash or oak, and the axle from hard maple. All these wooden pieces were held together by leather or rope. The huge wheels made the cart stable and easier to pull through the mud and marsh. They could hold up to 450 kilograms of goods.

The wood and leather of the carts made an ear-piercing squeal as they rubbed together so you could hear the carts coming from kilometres away. The Métis did not grease the axles to soften the sound because it would attract dirt, grass and insects that would eventually clog the parts and slow the vehicle.

The Forks- by Washington Frank Lynn- 1865

The carts were buoyant and so they could float across a stream or river. In this painting which is on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, you can see the Red River carts are about to enter the river at Upper Fort Garry.

Terry Doerksen in his Red River cart – Photo by Ruth Bonneville- from the Winnipeg Free Press

Yesterday’s Winnipeg Free Press had a story about a man named Terry Doerksen who is trying to relive history by making a journey from Lockport to Minneapolis in a Red River cart he built. In the 1850s some 600 Red River carts filled with items to trade were making that journey every year.

We once took friends visiting from Australia to Fort Whyte where a guide explained the unique features of the Red River cart to us.

The Red River cart is an important symbol of the Métis culture and the history of Manitoba.

Other posts………….

A Creative Way To Share History- Upper Fort Garry

River Boat Tour

15 Ways To Use A Métis Sash

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This Is What Your Money Is Used For

I know many people wish that parking at The Forks in Winnipeg was free but recently I saw these interesting signs on some of the parking meters there. They tell you what the money you put into the meter will pay for.

This meter explains that by paying for your parking you just helped keep part of the river trail open for walkers and skaters and cross-country skiers in winter.

We use the river trail often in winter so I’m glad it is being maintained.

This meter tells you how much grass can be cut at The Forks with the money you just paid for parking.

My husband relaxing at The Forks in the summer

We like going down to The Forks in the summer and are glad the grass is cut.

I think it is a good idea to make people aware of how costly it is to maintain The Forks so they can visit and have fun there. The parking meters with information about upkeep expenses are a unique idea and just may make some folks feel better about having to pay to park at The Forks.

Other posts……..

What Are All Those Bicycles Doing At the Forks?

Has Spring Come Yet?

Autumn Cruise Fit For A Queen

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I Felt Sorry For the Geese

Yesterday afternoon we decided to brave the blizzard and walk from our Exchange District condo down to The Forks.

I could hear the Canada geese honking plaintively as soon as we reached Stephen Juba Park. They didn’t know what to make of the wintery world.

Despite the fact that I had my grips on the bottom of my boots I wiped out royally once and almost fell a bunch of other times. It was very icy under the snow and you had to be careful. We only met two other people on our walk.

Everything was beautifully and artistically etched in snow.

The neighbourhood statues all had a different appearance with their snow coverings. The young boy in the middle of the Selkirk Settlers’ sculpture at the end of our street looked like he was wearing a white coat.

We made it to The Forks but virtually no one was there. Only three businesses were open.

It wasn’t that cold on our walk to The Forks and it was kind of neat to check out the neighbourhood through a snowy lens.

On the way back home the wind picked up. At times I felt I’d be blown over or off the sidewalk onto the street. I was glad when we got back to our cosy condo.

I felt sorry for the Canada Geese who had no cosy refuge in the blizzard.

Other posts……..

Winnipeg in Winter

Sheila’s Brush Is Coming

Has Spring Come Yet?

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Vimy Ridge Day in Winnipeg

Did you know that today is officially Vimy Ridge Day in Canada? In 2003, the Government of Canada declared April 9th to be Vimy Ridge Day, to honour Canadians who fought and died in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Vimy Ridge, France which began on April 9, 1917 during World War I. Four Canadian divisions of soldiers were instrumental in capturing Vimy Ridge from the Germans. Here in Winnipeg, we have a park named Vimy Ridge right on Portage Avenue. I find it both a sad and hopeful place to visit.

There are several memorials in the park that commemorate soldiers who died in World War I. One of the most striking is the sculpture of Andrew Mynarski a young man from Winnipeg who won the Victoria Cross for his courage in saving a fellow airman after their plane had been shot down. It is sad to think that this kind, quiet, hardworking young man died so tragically. What might he have contributed to our city had he lived instead?

A happier aspect of the park is this table which is used for eating and visiting and playing games but is also a work of art called Table of Contents. It pays tribute to the folks who live near the park and is engraved with their words and thoughts in as many as five different languages representing the diversity of the neighbourhood. The words on the table celebrate nature, remind people to be kind, and extol the virtues of love and joy. Artists Eduardo Aquino and Karen Shanski who made the table said they wanted it to be a place where people could talk to each other and listen to each other.

Today on Vimy Ridge Day it is important to remember the tragedy and sadness of war but also to remain hopeful that as diverse people talk and listen to one another war in our world might become a thing of the past.

This might be a good day for people in Winnipeg to visit Vimy Ridge Park both to remember and foster a sense of hope.

Other posts……….

Ten Things I Can Do About the War in Ukraine

Learning About War On My Travels

A 1960s Perspective on Our Current World Crisis

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10 Historic Winnipeg Buildings

Built in 1899 to house the Manitoba School of Pharmacy, this building at 422 Notre Dame Avenue was purchased in 1945 by the Syzek family as a facility to manufacture and sell brooms and brushes. I photographed it in 2016.
This unique looking fire hall with its two towers one for drying hoses and the other a bell tower was built in 1907 and is at 202 Rue Dumoulin. I photographed it in 2021.
The Royal Albert Hotel at 48 Albert Street was built in 1913. I photographed it in 2013.
The Trappist Monastery at 100 Ruines du Monastere was built in 1904 for a monastic community called Our Lady of the Prairies. I photographed it in 2015.
The Crocus Building used to belong to the Ashdown Hardware Company as you can see from the white letters still etched on the brick near the rooftop.  Mr James Ashdown, a former Winnipeg mayor built it in 1905 to use as a hardware store. I photographed it in 2012.
This former Canadian Pacific Railway station was completed in 1906. It is located at 181 Higgins Avenue. I photographed it in 2021.
The stunning facade of the St. Boniface Catheral dates to 1906 but the rest of the building was replaced after being destroyed in a fire in 1968. The church is at 190 avenue de la Cathédrale. I photographed it in 2012.
Laura Secord School named after a hero of the war of 1812 is where I attended kindergarten. It was built in 1913. I photographed it in 2020.
The Palace Theatre built in 1912 for live vaudeville performances is at 501 Selkirk Avenue. I photographed it in 2020.
Completed in 1912 the Millennium Centre at 389 Main Street is said to be haunted. I photographed it in 2012.

Other posts………

Winnipeg’s Millennium Centre Haunted By Ghosts

Winnipeg’s Palace Theatre

Fire Hall That Looks Like A Castle

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Historic Winnipeg Homes

Home of famous Canadian author Gabrielle Roy at 375 rue Deschambault. It was built in 1905 and Gabrielle Roy was born there in 1909. She lived in the house for 28 years. This photograph was taken in 2014.
The Kelly House at 88 Adelaide Street was built in 1884 by an Irish contractor Michael Kelly for his family. I photographed it in 2013.
This house at 97 Chestnut Street was the home of woman’s rights activist Nellie McClung and was built in 1911. Nellie lived there from 1911 to 1914. I photographed it in 2021.
This was the home of the Grey Nuns who came to Winnipeg in 1844. Their convent was built in 1847 and is the oldest building in Winnipeg. I photographed it in 2011.
Seven Oaks House at 50 Mac Street was built in 1851 as a home for John and Mary Inkster. I photographed it in 2012.
Ralph Connor House at 54 Westgate was built in 1913 for the popular novelist Dr Charles Gordon who used the pen name, Ralph Connor. I photographed it in 2018.
The Gates at 6945 Roblin Boulevard was built in the 1920s as a cottage for entrepreneur Sir Timothy Eaton and his family. I photographed it in 2012.
The former home of Winnipeg Mayor James Henry Ashdown and his family is at 529 Wellington Crescent. It was built in 1913 and I photographed it in 2016.
The William Brown House at 3180 Portage Avenue was built in 1856 for William Brown a Hudson Bay Company cook. I photographed it in 2021.

Other posts……..

Celebrating Our Marriage History in An Historic Building

Finding Nellie’s House

A Romantic Site

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Shout Out To A Kind Truck Driver

Yesterday my husband and I were driving down Main Street on our way to the trail where we planned to do our afternoon walk. There is a pedestrian crosswalk just adjacent to the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter and we stopped our car there since the lights hanging over the crosswalk were flashing. I could see a man in a wheelchair was trying to make his way across the street but every time he moved his chair forward a bit he slipped back on the ice.

A Kindret Landscaping truck was waiting in the lane closest to the median. I saw the driver jump out of his truck, walk out into the intersection and grip the wheelchair handles. He carefully pushed the gentleman struggling to make his away across the street to the other side. Once the wheelchair was safely parked the truck driver ran back to his truck.

What a kind thing to do. Just thinking about it kept me smiling right through our walk. It’s good to remember that there are lots of caring people in our city whose first instinct is to lend a helping hand.

Other posts………..

Thank You Kind Stranger

Gandalf Was Right

A Lesson From It’s A Wonderful Life

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A Personal Winnipeg Alphabet

With my parents and my sister in Assiniboine Park 1955

A is for Assiniboine Park. The park opened in 1909. My parents got engaged there in 1951.

B is for Bannatyne the street where I live. It was named after Andrew and Annie Bannatyne. The first session of the Manitoba Legislature was held in their home in 1870.

C is for castle. The Winnipeg fire hall at 202 Rue Dumoulin was built in 1907 and looks for all the world like a medieval castle. My novel Lost on the Prairie takes place in 1907.

D is for dog. Probably my favourite piece of public art in all of Winnipeg is Between Dog and Wolf on the grounds of the old St. Boniface City Hall. It was created by Joe Fafard.

E is for emptyful an interesting sculpture on the grounds of the Millennium Library. I serve on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library.

F is for The Forks. My son’s band Royal Canoe did a concert at the Forks in January of 2019 on instruments made of ice. Thousands of people came to hear them play.

G is for Gunns Bakery a family-owned business on Selkirk Avenue. I volunteer at a thrift shop on Selkirk and it is very hard to walk by Gunn’s Bakery without going in to buy something.

H is for the Human Rights Museum. I have created a ten-year pictorial history of the museum and its stunning architecture. The museum is just minutes away from my home.

I is for interesting. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about Winnipeg is that the man who was the inspiration for author Ian Fleming’s character James Bond was born here.

Stephen Juba park on a fall day.

J is for Juba. Stephen Juba is a former mayor of Winnipeg and a park named after him is at the end of my street. It is a place of beauty in every season.

K is for Kildonan Park. On New Year’s Day 2022 my husband and I went on a walk-in Kildonan Park and saw a bald eagle, heard a pileated woodpecker and had a chickadee eat from our hands.

L is for Louis Riel who is often referred to as the Founder of Manitoba. His statue stands looking out over the river on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature. My favourite book about Louis Riel that really helped me to understand him better was a graphic novel by Chester Brown. In my retirement I have enjoyed learning more about Manitoba history from many different perspectives and Louis Riel plays a major role in that history.

My grade one class at Marion School with our teacher Ms. Bourreau.

M is for Marion School in St. Boniface. I attended classes there in grade one in 1959 when my family was living on the St. Boniface Hospital grounds.

N is for Norrie. Bill Norrie was the mayor of Winnipeg from 1979 to 1992. A mural about him is at the corner of Ellice and Langside. Bill Norrie was the guest speaker when my son graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2003. He gave an inspirational address.

O is for old. The oldest building in Winnipeg houses the St. Boniface Museum. It is a former convent built in 1847. I have toured the building several times.

P is for the Provencher Bridge. It is in my neighbourhood and I have walked, biked and driven across it in my car thousands of times since I moved to Winnipeg.

With my friends by the duck pond just adjacent to the Qualico Centre

Q is for the Qualico Centre located beside the duck pond in Assiniboine Park. My friends and I have enjoyed some very good times there.

R is for the old CPR railroad station. When my Dad was in medical school he helped support our family with a summer job as a porter for the CPR.

S is for Seal River Crossing. It is a giant sculpture by artist Peter Sawatsky just a block from my home between the Richardson Building and the Fairmont Hotel. I often stand and just marvel at it. I like studying it during every season and every time of day.

T is for trees. According to Ariel Gordon the author of Treed there are 3.3 million trees in Winnipeg. Old Market Square in the Exchange District is surrounded by them. This past year I adopted four Winnipeg trees and visited them regularly cataloguing their change through the seasons.

Celebrating our son’s University of Manitoba graduation.

U is for University. I attended the University of Manitoba to get my teaching degree. My son and my husband are University of Manitoba graduates too. My father was also a University of Manitoba graduate.

My husband volunteering at the Fringe Festival

V is for volunteers. Many Winnipeg cultural traditions like the Folk Festival, the Fringe Festival and Folklorama are possible only because Winnipeg has so many great volunteers. My husband is a long time Fringe Festival volunteer and also volunteers at the West End Cultural Centre.

W is for women. The Famous Five statue on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature pays tribute to the five crusaders who were instrumental in having women in Canada recognized as persons in their own right. A photo I took of this Winnipeg statue was once displayed in the Supreme Court Building in London, England.

With my sister at a Jets game

X is for exciting sporting events. We attend many Winnipeg Goldeyes games since their ballpark is in our neighbourhood. My husband shares Winnipeg Jets hockey season tickets with friends and sometimes takes me with him. He attends Winnipeg Blue Bomber games regularly.

Crew filming a movie outside my condo building.

Y is for yesteryear. Winnipeg has done a marvellous job of preserving its history and because of that, it is often the site where movies set in yesteryear are made. This happens often in my neighbourhood in the Exchange District.

Our grandson checks out the polar bears swimming at the zoo

Z is for zoo. When I took my grandchildren who live in another Canadian city to the Winnipeg zoo they were fascinated with the polar bears.

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