Category Archives: Winnipeg

First Look at The Leaf

With my friend Marie by a stunning poinsettia tree

On Saturday we visited the new indoor horticultural garden in Assiniboine Park which opened recently.

The Leaf was all decked out for Christmas.

I was impressed with ………………….

………the waterfall you walk under as you enter the space

………the long wall covered entirely with plants

…………the stories you could read where people who had moved to Winnipeg from around the world talked about plants native to their country of birth

……….the amazing view from the walkway on the third floor

………….the beautiful flowers

.….. the colourful koi fish in the pond

…..the interesting plants like this one called The Rattlesnake

Although reservations at The Leaf are for two hours it is easy to see everything in less than half that time. On my next visit, I’m going to bring my book or sketch pad and sit down on a bench and just enjoy the atmosphere. I think I’ll also try to go at a time when there are fewer people there. It was pretty crowded and noisy on the weekend.

I have to say the Butterfly Garden was a little underwhelming. There weren’t many butterflies. I have visited Butterfly Gardens in other cities that were just teeming with thousands of different kinds of butterflies.

I was also disappointed that it was impossible to get into the restaurant since it was fully booked. I’ll have to go back for that another time.

I was a real fan of the old conservatory in Assiniboine Park and thought it was just a lovely venue. So it may take me a little time to develop the same affection for this very different and less intimate space. But I’m ready to try!!

Other posts…………

Assiniboine Park

Butterfly Wonderland

Discovering Peanut Park

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Filed under Nature, Winnipeg

Cora Hind- The Wheat Oracle Who Wore Pants

In a new exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called Headlines: The Art of the News there is a photographic portrait of Ella Cora Hind. Later she dropped the Ella from her name and came to be known as Cora Hind. When I toured the Headlines exhibit with curator Riva Symko she told us Cora had been an agricultural reporter known for her uncanny way of correctly predicting wheat prices.

Cora often dressed in men’s pants, something quite shocking for a woman at the time, and tramped through Manitoba grain fields to collect information to write her agricultural stories for the paper.

Cora was born in 1861 in Ontario. Both her parents had died by the time she was five and so she and her two brothers went to live with their grandfather who taught Cora all about farming. Cora wanted to become a teacher but she failed the algebra part of her qualification exam. So together with her Aunt Alice, she decided to move to Winnipeg in 1882 where they’d heard there might be employment opportunities.

This photo of William Luxton who refused to hire Cora is in the Headlines exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Cora had always dreamed of becoming a journalist so when she arrived in Winnipeg she went to see William Luxton the editor of the Manitoba Free Press. He was a friend of one of Cora’s uncles and so welcomed her warmly to his office, but was shocked when she said she wanted to write for the paper. Luxton told Cora women didn’t write for newspapers. Being a reporter was rough work often involving interviewing less than-savoury people. It wasn’t for a woman.

This old typewriter is part of the Headlines exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. When the Free Press editor wouldn’t hire her Cora learned to type and got another job.

Cora wasn’t deterred. She heard about a new office machine called a typewriter. She rented one, learned to type and got herself a job working for the lawyer Hugh John McDonald. But she was still interested in farming and grain growing and in 1898 started making crop predictions. Farmers came to trust her expertise and knowledge and she would submit articles about farming to the newspaper under the name E. Hind.

This portrait of John Dafoe who hired Cora as a reporter is also in the Headlines exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

In 1901 the brand new editor of the Winnipeg Free Press John Dafoe hired her as an agricultural reporter.

Cora would go on to earn an international reputation as an agricultural journalist and her predictions about harvest yields soon were the accepted source for establishing the price of Canadian wheat. She became known as kind of an ‘oracle of wheat’ for her accurate crop predictions.

She was also famous for the way she strode through grain fields in riding breeches, high leather boots and a Stetson hat. She went across Canada inspecting farms. In 1924 she travelled more than 10,000 kilometres checking out crops.

Cora played an important role in getting the vote for women in Manitoba

Cora founded the Winnipeg branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club and helped form the Political Equality League with other Winnipeg suffragettes campaigning for women to get the right to vote in Manitoba which they did in 1916.

This photo shows the vest made by a Cree woman from Norway House for Cora. The vest is in the collection of the Manitoba Museum and Cora is wearing it in the portrait on display in the Headlines exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In an exhibition at the museum showcasing the vest visitors were reminded that while Cora helped win the vote for Manitoba women in 1916 Indigenous women would not be allowed to vote until 1952. – photo by Lyle Dick

Cora Hind was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Manitoba in 1935.

This sculpture of Cora Hind by Miguel Joyal is included in the Winnipeg Citizens Walk of Fame in Assiniboine Park

When Cora died in 1942 they halted trading at the Winnipeg Grain Exchange for two minutes in her memory.

Other posts……..

What a Woman!

Finding Nellie’s House

Grain is King

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Filed under feminism, History, manitoba, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery

Winnipeg History in Iconic Photos

A new Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibit called Headlines celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Winnipeg Free Press.

One of the interesting pieces in the exhibit is a collage featuring photos from the newspaper over the years. It is fun to examine them and try to figure out what news story each photo represents.

Can you find Dale Hawerchuk signing with the Winnipeg Jets in 1981, images of the 1997 flood, protesters overturning a street car during the strike of 1919, the building of the Manitoba Legislature that began in 1917 and Elijah Harper rejecting the Meech Lake Accord in 1987?

What about swimmers at the Pan Am Pool in 1967 during the Pan Am Games, a pair of Siberian Tigers welcomed to the zoo in 1961 and a photo of author A.A. Milne meeting the bear who inspired his Winnie the Pooh book?

See the huge crowds in 1923 lining the streets to get a glimpse of the magician Harry Houdini? Of course, there’s the iconic Salisbury House which opened its doors in 1931, the Witches Hut at Kildonan Park built in 1970, and IF day a reenactment of a possible Nazi takeover of Winnipeg staged in 1942.

Check out the old Winnipeg City Hall demolished in the 1960s, the return of the Winnipeg Jets in 2011, the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral built in 1952, the Gimli Glider emergency landing in 1983 and a light artwork called Bokeh installed in Kildonan Park in 2019.

Recognize the performer Spoon Man at the Winnipeg Folk Fest, Burton Cummings in his grade 11 St. John’s Highschool picture or the Arlington Bridge?

Did you know Carmichael and Clementine were the first polar bears at the zoo brought there in 1939 and 1940 respectively or that the Golden Boy was placed atop the Manitoba Legislature in 1919?

This section features some iconic Winnipeg food, a fat boy with chilli fries, Alycia’s Ukrainian Restaurant and Manitoba Imperial Cookies from Goodies Bakeshop. The blizzards of 1966 and 1997 are shown along with photos reminding us of the Folk Fest, Festival du Voyageur, the flight of the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds over Winnipeg in 2020 and the Santa Claus Parade.

The man hanging onto the parking meter or is it a fence pole looking like he’ll be blown away by the wind is legendary Winnipeg Free Press photographer Jack Ablett. Is that his camera in his hand?

The Headlines Exhibition is at the Winnipeg Art Gallery till the end of May. You don’t want to miss it!

Other posts………..

Finding Fossils At the Art Gallery

I’ve Been Captured By A Famous Winnipeg Photographer

A Sad Memory at Winnipeg’s City Hall

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Filed under Media, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery

Winnipeg Welcomes the World

During the ten years I have worked at the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq I have given tours to visitors from around the world.

I made a map with stars showing all the places the people on my tours came from last week

But this last week during the five days I worked at the gallery I think I set some sort of record for international visitors. This morning I sat down to list all the countries the participants on this week’s tours came from.

Central America -Mexico and Guatemala

Asia -Japan, China, Korea and Thailand

The Caribbean- Jamaica and Barbados

Africa- The Ivory Coast and Somalia

South America- Chile

The Middle East- Iraq and Afghanistan

Europe- Italy, Belgium, France, England

North America- Canada

Winnipeg artist Wanda Koop’s unique artwork showing the Manitoba Legislative Building at the Forks

This past week made me realize……..

Winnipeg really is a world class destination that attracts people from across the globe

International travel is back after its pandemic hiatus

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is an important place for people from other places to learn about Canada and its culture and history

Other posts……….

A Dream Day At Work

Oh What Fun!

What’s a Portscape?

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Filed under Art, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery

Stop the Spread and Invest in the Heart and Arteries

Images of old buildings in Winnipeg’s beautiful downtown. I took this photo of Caroline Dukes’ stunning artwork at the Millenium Library

There was a great piece in the Winnipeg Free Press last week about the fact that our city has been allowed to expand and sprawl outward into all these suburbs and that has put us in an untenable financial position. We’ve had to use our funds to provide infrastructure for all these new neighbourhoods and that means there isn’t enough left to invest in the core or heart of Winnipeg something which is so important if we are going to be a dynamic and healthy city.

I use Winnipeg bike paths faithfully for at least six months of the year but the city needs many more

Another piece in the Free Press on Saturday pointed out how this urban sprawl has contributed to the traffic problems in Winnipeg. People living in the suburbs need to use their cars to get everywhere and as we invest money in building roads for them we haven’t invested in a speedy, dependable, first-class transit system or safe cycling paths and safe bicycle storage which are actually the only ways we can cut down on the motor vehicle traffic which snarls up our streets, especially during rush hour.

My husband drops a coin into the Toronto mural

Two images came to mind as I read these articles. One was of a mural made of nails we saw in the lobby of Toronto’s City Hall. It represented the heart of Toronto and illustrated how the city’s suburbs spread out from that heart. If you dropped a coin into the mural anywhere it quickly and efficiently travelled a unique route through all those nails to the mural’s centre making a lovely musical sound all the way. That’s what we need in Winnipeg, ways to travel to our city’s heart that are easy and efficient and perhaps even scenic.

Resting during our walk along the wall around Dubrovnik

The other image was of all the cities I’ve visited around the world that were in ancient times encircled by walls, many of which remain standing. Maybe that’s what we need to do. Build an imaginary wall or line around the current outskirts of our city and simply refuse to extend that wall any further rather thinking of innovative ways to use and reuse the space that is already inside that wall, particularly its heart or core.

As I decide who I want to vote for in Wednesday’s civic election I am looking for candidates who are interested in investing in the city’s heart and arteries rather than expanding its spreading perimeter.

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Should Buses Be Free?

Yesterday I took the bus from my home in the Exchange District of Winnipeg to the MCC Thrift Store on Selkirk Avenue where I volunteer. It is a very short trip but I counted THIRTEEN people who got on the bus and didn’t pay.

Some just blatantly walked on. Others said things like, “I’m only going two blocks,” or “I have to go to work and I don’t have money,” or “I had a transfer but I lost it.”

The young woman driving the bus made no comment and really what was she supposed to do or say. She couldn’t physically remove people from the bus or refuse them entry if they were determined to board.

Two of the men who hadn’t paid sat down near me and one said, “My Dad would be pretty upset if he knew I didn’t pay for the bus, but times are hard, no one has money. What am I supposed to do?”

Shaun Loney thinks he has a way to deal with people who don’t pay bus fares

Shaun Loney one of the candidates for mayor in the upcoming civic election says he will hire transit peace officers who will ride on every bus and ensure people pay their fare and behave reasonably. These officers will also help connect vulnerable people on the bus with the support and services they may need.

Lots of students use the bus. -Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I have questions about the feasibility of Loney’s plan and wonder if instead, buses shouldn’t be free. Since so many people aren’t paying anyway why not make them free for everyone? I ride the bus a lot and the main demographic that uses the bus from what I’ve observed are seniors, young parents, people with life challenges, new Canadians and students. The riders aren’t wealthy middle and upper-class folks. Perhaps those who need to ride the bus could use a financial break?

A free Orbit bus in Tempe Arizona

When Dave and I rented an apartment in Tempe Arizona one winter we often used their free bus system which had been very successful in getting people to leave their cars at home and use public transportation. It ran at little cost to the taxpayer and was good for the environment.

Should buses be free? Right now they are for some people but not for others.

Other posts………..

Another Friend For the Moment

Riding the Bus Alone At Age 5

Bus Chat

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The Clouds of Winnipeg

Clouds decorate a Winnipeg skyscraper
Clouds reflected in the water in a pond in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Winnipeg
The Golden Boy atop the Manitoba Legislature with a cloud background
Clouds darken the sky over the Provencher Bridge
Clouds viewed from the tower on top of the Human Rights Museum
Fluffy clouds above a herd of bison at Fort Whyte
Clouds reflected in the river at Benjaminson Park
Wispy clouds above the sculpture The Eighth and Final Fire by Jamie Isaac at The Forks
Playful clouds above my husband and granddaughter at the playground beside the new Bill and Helen Norrie Library
Clouds race each other over Rorie Street in the Exchange District
Clouds reflected in the entrance to the Winnipeg Art Gallery- Qaumajuq 

Other posts………

The Lake is Like Glass

For the Beauty of the Earth

Beauty on the Beach

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Filed under Nature, Winnipeg

I’m A Friend of the Library

One of my community involvements is serving on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library. We raise funds each year to support all kinds of programming at the various branches of the library all over the city.

My key role on the board is serving as the editor of our organization’s monthly newsletter. This year is the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library’s 30th anniversary so I have been featuring events from our history. In my last newsletter I wrote about some of the important ways our organization has made a difference in the past.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman checks out a sewing machine Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library donated while former Friends president Kathy Blight looks on

Millennium Library’s Maker Space is an area where library visitors engage in hands-on and self-directed learning. Besides purchasing four sewing machines for the space, we’ve also provided funds for an interactive whiteboard. 

We’ve helped finance the scanning and cataloguing of Rob McInnes’ amazing historical collection of Winnipeg postcards. 

We’ve supported teen book parties. 

Our annual contributions have ensured summer and spring break programming for children has continued at all the library branches.

The popular literacy playgrounds you see in so many of the city’s libraries became a reality thanks in part to funds from Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library.  

Story Times at libraries have been enhanced by rhythm instruments we purchased. 

We’ve contributed to colourful unique library seating for children. 

It was help from the Friends that made it possible for new Canadians who participated in a creative writing program at the library to have their work published in an anthology. 

For many years the On The Same Page project brought all Manitobans together in one big book club thanks in part to funds from the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library. 

Joan Thomas, the 2019 winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, was the Writer-in-Residence for the Winnipeg Public Library in 2016. A substantial annual contribution from our organization has helped to make the Writer- in- Residence program at the library a reality for more than two decades. 

Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library President Rita Burgess presents a $17,500 cheque for our 2022 donation to Karin Borland Manager of Library Services

This year our legacy continued with a $17,5000 donation to the libraries of Winnipeg.

During the next twelve months, our donation will provide prizes and funds for a wind-up celebration for the current summer reading program, help finance Science Literacy Week events this fall, sponsor two Read by Queens events, ensure there is engaging spring break programming for kids in 2023, provide funds for a Take Your Child to the Library Day and help sponsor the library’s popular Writer- in -Residence program for another year. 

I believe strongly in the role public libraries play in serving EVERYONE in the community and making our city a better place to live. I am glad I am able to contribute to the role Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library plays in that important work.

Other posts………

Winnipeg’s Millennium Library

What’s a Playground Doing Inside?

A Waterfall on the Library

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Filed under Books, Winnipeg

Stephen Juba Park

My 20 month old granddaughter loves walking the ten steps down to the river in Stephen Juba Park

Stephen Juba Park is named after Winnipeg’s 37th mayor who served the city for twenty years from 1957-1977. He was the first Canadian of Ukrainian descent to hold a high political office in Winnipeg’s municipal government.

Stephen Juba- photo from the Winnipeg Free Press

One of his legacies was a central emergency number for the city and it was while he was the mayor that Winnipeg hosted the 1967 Pan American Games. He promoted the amalgamation of eleven small municipalities surrounding the old city of Winnipeg into one unified city and in 1972 he became that expanded city’s first mayor.

Stephen Juba Park is beautifully landscaped

The park named in the former mayor’s honour is on Waterfront Drive on the western side of the Red River. It is a beautiful park with bridges, bike paths, park benches, picnic tables and some unique art pieces.

Stephen Juba Park is just at the end of Bannatyne Street in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. My home is on Bannatyne so the park is only a short walk away for me.

I love to visit it year round and watch how things change with the seasons.

A colourful piece of art in the park is Jordan Van Sewell’s sculpture Grain is King.

The park is very popular with cyclists both in summer

and winter.

A sculpture of an immigrant family from Scotland welcomes you to the park.

A train track runs across the park and there are trains traversing it on a regular basis.

Our granddaughter loves watching the trains and since she is just learning her colours she tells us what colour each train car is as it passes by.

There are gorgeous old trees in the park like this giant cottonwood.

A really unique piece of art in the park is this one that tells you the height of the river at different times of the year.

The park is home to all kinds of creatures.

One of our granddaughter’s favourite things to do is watch the Canada geese that make their home in the park. As we roll over the footbridge into the park with her stroller she says, “Geese, geese.”

I like to people-watch in the park too. It is a place for relationship building

as well as more solitary reflection.

I think one of the most beautiful things about the park are the wild prairie grasses that grow there.

Photo by Jordan Ross The Carillon

Since my novel Lost on the Prairie was published during the pandemic my first media interview had to take place outdoors. Jordan Ross the reporter suggested we meet in Stephen Juba Park where he took this photo of me and my book on the footbridge.

The footbridge is also a very popular place for wedding photo shoots.

Our granddaughter could stay at Stephen Juba Park all day long and so could I.

Even though I live in the heart of Winnipeg’s downtown I am so glad I have this beautiful park just a few steps away where I can enjoy nature and bask in the beauty of the created world.

Other posts…………

Discovering Peanut Park

A Unique Meeting Place in a Winnipeg Park

The Park At the End of the Bridge

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Filed under Nature, Winnipeg

The Eighth Fire

The Eighth and Final Fire sculpture is located just beside the Oodena Circle at The Forks

Last week as we cycled down to the Forks for breakfast we passed an interesting sculpture I hadn’t noticed before. I was surprised to learn it had been installed last year.

Jamie Isaac the artist who created The Eighth and Final Fire at its opening in December of 2021photo from The Forks Twitter page

The Eighth and Final Fire was created by artist Jamie Isaac, the former curator of Indigenous Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The sculpture is comprised of eight steel triangles. The first one is about a metre tall and then each one gets just a little bigger until you reach the final one which is three meters tall and has a flame carved into it.

Can you see the flame in the eighth and final triangle?

Each of the steel triangles represents a generation, a prophecy and a fire. The Seven Prophecies are found in Anishinaabe oral histories and you can read them here.

Will we make the right choices so the final fire can be lit?

Right now we are at the time of the Seventh Prophecy or Fire, when crucial decisions must be made about the future. If we make the right ones the earth will be a place of peace and harmony and love which will result in the Eighth and Final Fire being lit.

Dr. Mary Courchene receiving her honorary degree from the University of Manitoba in 2018

Jamie the sculptor who created The Eighth and Final Fire says she learned about the Seven Prophecies or Fires from her grandmother Dr. Elder Mary Courchene.

Mary who holds an honorary degree from the University of Manitoba is an Indigenous leader whose significant contributions to Indigenous education throughout her career have garnered her national recognition and a long list of awards. She currently serves as the Elder in Residence for the Seven Oaks School Division.

The signage on the The Eighth and Final Fire reminds us that while fire can be destructive is also can have a calming effect and inspire contemplation. Fire does have regenerative powers in the natural eco-system.

The Eighth and Final Fire is just one of many art pieces at The Forks site that remind us of the rich and diverse history of the people from all over the world who have been meeting there for more than 6000 years.

Other posts………

Shield

Maybe It’s A Good Thing Some Books Are Missing

A Thirty Foot Pregnant Woman

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Filed under Art, Winnipeg