I’ve done my research to figure out what city council candidate I should vote for in the upcoming election now it’s time to figure out which school trustee candidate I should support. It wasn’t really that easy to find out which of the nine Winnipeg wards I live in but thanks to the maps on the Winnipeg 1 school division site I figured out I live in Ward 6. Our former school trustee Cathy Collins isn’t running this time but thanks to the Open Democracy Manitoba website I was able to find out that Rey Sangalang and Jennifer Chen are both candidates.
Jennifer Chen is the mother of two young children who came to Canada in 2009. She wants the voices of all families to be heard at the school board table. Ms. Chen has a masters degree and her thesis focused on the health and well-being of communities. She is active in numerous community organizations. She has been campaigning since August and talking to as many people in our ward as she can to find out what their concerns and hopes and ideas are.
Ms. Chen knows parents would like better gang and drug abuse prevention resources, more support for newcomer and refugee children, safer walks to school, more help for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and after school progamming to keep kids away from negative influences. Jennifer wants to help grow math, literacy and science knowledge for kids and improve their health through more robust physical education programming.
She recognizes the economic, cultural and ethnic diversity of Ward 6. It includes indigenous families whose ancestors have been here for thousands of years as well as refugee families who have just arrived in Canada. She would like to build bridges between the many diverse communities in our ward. She sees her role as a school trustee as an important and long term commitment and believes it is time for some changes in the way school boards operate. Julie takes the campaign seriously. She has a Facebook page and website that provide important information about her qualifications and policies.
Rey Sangalang is the other trustee candidate in Ward 6. As of my writing this he had not yet filled out the candidate questionairre on the Winnipeg Election website . He does not have a website of his own where one can easily access information about him. However when I sent a request for information to the e-mail address on his online poster he quickly responded.
Rey Sangalang immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1994 and has three children. He and his wife are very active in a Catholic Church program called Worldwide Marriage Encounter. They were the Asian coordinators for the program that offers support to couples to strengthen their marriages and family life. Currently Mr. Sangalang works as a consituency assistant for MLA Flor Marcelino. He is active in numerous community organizations.
Mr. Sangalang would like to see more collaboration between parents, students and teachers and advocates involving grandparents in the school community as well. He would like to see an aggressive cultural and physical education program in schools and hopes schools will be welcoming to refugees and immigrants and help them speedily integrate into Canadian culture. He thinks every school should offer early learning and child care services.
I commend both Mr. Sangalang and Ms. Chen for running for the office of trustee and for the work each has done in the community. I have to say however that Ms. Chen articulates her policies and priorities in a much clearer and more detailed way than her opponent and her academic credentials in a related field are an impressive plus. She is also much more conversant with social media as a way to spread important information. I would also lean towards voting for her because I really believe it is important to have the voices of women represented in much greater numbers in civic leadership.
On Friday my friend Esther and I paid a visit to the Amsterdam Tea Room just beside Old Market Square at the heart of the Exchange District. I had been there before for tea but never for a meal. As the name of the restaurant indicates there is a distinctly Dutch flavor to the menu items. I had a vegetable sandwich with beet soupand Esther had the endive, pear, grape salad with the pea, celery and leek soup. They have dozens and dozens of kinds of tea on offer at the Amersterdam Tea Room. I opted for the Pina Colada tea and Esther chose a chai blend. We had a lovely meal at a sunny window table and caught up on what had happened in each of our lives since we last got together. We had planned to sketch in one of the many art galleries in the Exchange but it was such a gorgeous day we sat at a picnic table in Old Market Square to work on some new pages in our sketch books. Winnipeg, we decided, is a beautiful place indeed on a fine fall afternoon!
Autumn’s Beauty on the Black Sand Beaches of Iceland
Autumn is the Perfect Time for Writing
Autumn Dreams Are in the Air
As someone who bikes all over Winnipeg I am thrilled to see so many new designated bicycle lanes like this one on Sherbrooke being built. Another thing we need in the city however are more bike racks and stands where cyclists can lock their bikes as they shop or dine or visit public spaces and buildings. Last week we joined our children for dinner at The Grove restaurant on Stafford. There were no bike racks in sight and all the street signs around already had a couple of bikes locked up to them. We ended up walking a few blocks to find a street sign that we could use for locking up our bikes. On Saturday morning we went to Hildegard’s for coffee and right in front of the bakery and coffeeshop was a bike stand. Perfect! I am not sure who is responsible for putting up bike racks and stands- the city or businesses or community groups. But if we want to encourage more people to cycle it is important to give them places to lock and leave their bikes.
Biking the Beach in Costa Rica
The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island
Slathering on sunscreen and getting on our life jackets for the journey
On Saturday we went on a canoeing adventure with our friends Ed and Millie, paddling the Assiniboine River from Ed and Millie’s home near the perimeter highway in St. James all the way down to the dock at the end of the block where our home is located in the downtown Exchange District of Winnipeg.
Ready for launch
Ed parked his van in our garage around noon and then we drove to Ed and Millie’s where Dave and Ed put our canoes into the water. We decided to paddle the Mennonite way – men in one canoe and women in the other.
Millie did a great job of steering our canoe and adjusting to my sometimes less than stellar and steady paddling skills
The more experienced paddlers the Hildebrands provided the steering in the back of the canoes and we Driedgers sat in front. It was neat to view the city from the river perspective especially all the grand homes along the banks. We saw deer and pelicans and herons and signs of beavers at work. People were so friendly- saying hello, reminding us to drink water, commenting on our paddling strokes, waving and shouting greetings to us from bridges. During the first half of our journey the river was very shallow and we went aground a couple of times on sandbars that extended on for quite a distance. At one point when Millie and I couldn’t seem to free ourselves from a sandbar a kindly gentleman who lived along the water donned his hip waders and came out to help us, showing us the channel of deeper water where we could get through. We stopped for lunch at Omands Creek Park. Millie had made delicious cheese and vegetable biscuits and brought along some of her homemade spicy pickles from this year’s batch. Mostly though we just drank and drank- plenty of water and a little beer. I hadn’t brought along a water bottle which was silly and I was actually a mite dizzy when we got out of the canoes at lunchtime. It was 36 degrees on Saturday but during most of our journey we had a little bit of a breeze to cool us. For the second half of our paddle the river was much deeper, but the current was a little harder to navigate and we encountered some larger boats that created waves for our canoes. The distance from Ed and Millie’s house to ours is 15 kilometers as the crow flies so I am thinking we probably paddled at least 20 or more kilometers along our winding river route. Once we reached the dock on Waterfront Drive we loaded up the canoes one by one and returned them and then we went back to Ed and Millie’s. Dave and Ed took a dip in the Assiniboine to refresh themselves. Then we had appetizers and drinks down by the river in Ed and Millie’s lush and lovely back yard. A marvelous meal of barbecued pork, kale salad and fresh garden vegetables followed and it was dark before we headed inside for a piece of Millie’s delicious homemade apple pie and ice-cream and a last glass of wine.
It was easy to fall asleep Saturday night. We’d had lots of exercise and fresh air, lively and interesting conversation, excellent food and a great time with good friends.
Kayaking in Laos
A Serendipitous Sail
A Gourmet Sail
From the mournful strains of The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond performed by a group of talented singers and fiddlers to the upbeat drumming and bag piping of the Transcona and District Pipe Band the show at Winnipeg’s Folkorama Scotland Pavilion was a delight.
I loved the non-stop grin on the face of the youngest drummer in the pipe band. You could just tell she was proud as punch to be performing. I loved the Scotch egg I tried for the first time. Delicious. I loved it that two of the emcees for the evening said they had been working at the Scottish Pavilion with their families for over 15 years.
I went to check out the display of different kinds of tartans. These are just a few of the many that were on show. My favourites? Was it the MacQueen or……….
the Blue Dress MacPherson? I listened to the wool spinners describe their work and…….. watched a delightfully diverse group of craftspeople chatting while they knitted and purled.
Statue of the first Manitoba settlers from Scotland located at the end of my street.
The folks at the Scottish Pavilion certainly displayed the kind of spirit Melissa Martin describes in her excellent op ed about Folkorama in yesterday’s Free Press. One of the people she interviewed for the article talked about Folkorama as a way “to learn the importance of diversity and multiculturalism and really loving your neighbour.” That perspective has the potential to have such a positive impact on our community if we all take it to heart.
Brave Heart in Winnipeg
Matching Canada and Scotland
A Saskatchewan Great Plains Grizzly Ends Up In Scotland
The polar bears in the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park Zoo were swimming on Sunday. I have been to the exhibit on numerous occasions and have never yet been fortunate enough to view the polar bears from the clear tunnel that allows visitors to watch them as the paddle through the cool water. I’m glad they saved their show for my most recent visit because I was at the zoo with my two grandsons and they were as excited as I was, to watch the polar bears’ antics in the water. My daughter-in-law wondered how the polar bears came to be in the zoo and I wasn’t sure so I did a little research. A Global News article in January of 2018 says the bears in the exhibit are all orphans who were found in the Churchill area when they were under the age of 16 months. They would have had no chance of surviving on their own in the wild.
I also learned that all nine bears currently living at the Assinboine Zoo have names. Thank you Juno, Nanuq, Siku, York, Blizzard, Star, Kaska, Storm and Aurora for providing an exciting experience for zoo visitors.
Inuit Art at the Zoo
It’s All Happening At the Zoo
Creatures I’ve Photographed
Filed under Nature, Winnipeg
Dave working hard at the back alley venue at the Manitoba Theatre Centre to tally up ticket sales at this year’s Fringe
The Winnipeg Fringe Festival ended yesterday. If the number of people packing our Exchange District neighborhood has been any indication the 30th annual festival has been a great success despite downtown construction and a couple of nights of pouring rain. The Fringe features some 180 different shows each playing multiple times over a twelve day period. The reason our city can stage this kind of theatre extravaganza is because of a crew of some 800 volunteers who faithfully turn up to sell tickets, usher, do clean up, help performers and entertain kids.
Dave working at the Fringe in 2015
One of those volunteers is my husband. Dave is a theatre aficionado who has been a fringe volunteer since the summer of 2012 when we first moved to Winnipeg. This year he was in charge of ticket sales and operations at three different fringe venues. I love hearing his stories about the interesting people he works with and his encounters with all kinds of unique patrons.
Dave volunteered at the Fringe in 2013 despite having just had hip surgery. He managed to see twenty plays as well.
Dave’s had a busy time of it the last ten days or so trying to keep up with this commitments to playing baseball, his three different regular golf groups, his part-time job as a professional driver and his fringe volunteering…. never mind trying to fit in seeing some plays himself.
Dave volunteering at the Cinematheque Venue at the Fringe Festival in 2012
I just love the excitement and fun and positive aura the Fringe Festival brings to my downtown neighborhood.But I realize that only happens because of hundreds of people like Dave invest their time and energy giving back to their community.
Oh To Be A Kid At the Fringe Festival
Stories From the Fringe
Fringing Time Four