Category Archives: Winnipeg

Romance on the Golf Course

I was a little sad to hear the recent news that the John Blumberg Golf Course will be closing because it holds a romantic memory for me.

On our wedding day

When we got married in August of 1973 my husband had a summer job on the greens crew at the John Blumberg Golf Course. In those days a good job with the City of Winnipeg could earn a young student like my husband enough money for his whole university tuition for the coming year.

Off on our one-night honeymoon after our wedding

We got married on a Friday and spent our honeymoon night at the NorthStar Inn on Portage Avenue. Champagne and caviar were complimentary with the honeymoon package and I tasted them for the first time that night. Dave and I were both enrolled at the University of Manitoba for the fall and needed to save our money for tuition and living expenses so a one-night honeymoon was all we could afford.

On Saturday afternoon we settled into the tiny suite we had rented for the coming school year on the second floor of a house on Rosedale Avenue just a block off of Osborne. Sunday morning my husband was scheduled to go in at 5 am. to cut the greens at John Blumberg before the golfers arrived. I didn’t want to be separated from him so soon after our wedding so I went along and rode on the greens cutter with him.

We were all alone on the course and it was a beautiful, balmy morning. We watched the sunrise paint the sky as we rode from green to green. It was quite romantic.

Photo of John Blumberg Golf Course from the Travel Manitoba website

One less romantic aspect of my husband’s job at John Blumberg was that the week after our wedding he somehow caught his gold wedding band on one of the machines at the golf course and nearly lost his finger. That night when he got home he took the wedding ring out of his pocket and put it in my jewellery case where it has remained ever since.

Despite the lack of a gold band on his finger, my husband Dave has been a faithful partner to me for nearly fifty years.

Other posts…….

Engagement Memories

Wedding Day

Winnipeg Is Made Up Of Great People


Filed under Family, Winnipeg

Was There A Car On A Beaverbrook Street Front Lawn In 1960?

With my mother and siblings in front of our house on Beaverbrook Street in the fall of 1960

I have this memory from the year our family lived on Beaverbrook Street in Winnipeg in 1960 and 1961. One day I came home from Sir John Franklin School several blocks away and there was a car on the front lawn of our neighbour lady’s house.

This photo of our former neighbour’s house on Beaverbrook was taken last year. The house hadn’t changed much in half a century although I remember it being a rather bright yellow with green trim. Did a car really drive onto its front lawn one day in the 1960s?

I wanted to use the car on the lawn incident in the latest novel I am writing but wondered if I had just imagined it or it had really happened. In my imagination, the car had driven right through the front window of the house and I was quite sure I remembered that the Winnipeg Free Press had carried a story about it.

Thanks to my Winnipeg Library card which grants me access to old newspapers I was able to find a story about a car on the lawn of a house at 280 Beaverbrook Street on the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press. Turns out on December 20th 1960 there was a two-car collision on Beaverbrook Street that left one car on the front lawn of 280 Beaverbrook. Both drivers escaped critical injury but 34-year-old Karl Klees was admitted to the Misericordia Hospital for observation.

December 20, 1960, issue Winnipeg Free Press

However, there is no report that the car actually drove into the house as I remembered. I was a voracious reader as a child and so no doubt I dramatically embellished the story in my head but it was nice to know that at least part of it was true. And in my novel of course which is fiction, I will be free to make the story about the car on the lawn as dramatic as I want to.

Other posts………

The House on Beaverbrook Street

Family Tragedy- Thawing the Ground For Burial

Attending A School Named For An Explorer

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Filed under My Old House, Winnipeg

Unique Memorials to Winnipeg Folks

A carving in memory of Ken McCrea.

We were walking on the Esprit du Bois Trail last week when we came upon this tribute to a man named Ken McCrea. A bird had been carved into a tree in his memory. He died in 2020 and was just 65 years old. I looked up his obituary. He was the president of a successful insurance company and a loving grandparent who travelled the world and volunteered in his community. His family had chosen to remember him in a unique way with this carving.

Hanging in branches of the tree with Ken’s carving were Christmas decorations with messages from his grandchildren written on them.

Winnipeg has many different kinds of memorials to people who lived what might be considered ordinary lives. They weren’t well-known or famous but in their own way, they made a difference and left their mark on our city.

A plaque on a bench in Peanut Park in memory of Pamela Hasker

One of those people is Pamela Hasker the mother of two boys who died of breast cancer when she was only 48. Pamela was a physiotherapist at St. Boniface Hospital where she was a strong advocate for her patients. Pamela loved to play ultimate, do yoga and garden. She was an avid reader. There is a plaque in Pam’s honour on a bench in Peanut Park.

Several of the benches in Peanut Park have memorial plaques on them.

Lyle Thomas Pocket Park near the Provencher Bridge

Lyle Thomas was only sixteen when he died in 2001. He was working with his Dad building the Provencher Bridge when a tripod toppled over killing him almost instantly. Lyle loved skateboarding and was on the varsity basketball team at West Kildonan Collegiate.

Plaque in the Lyle Thomas Pocket Park

Lyle had a younger brother named Cody. His parents wrote in his obituary that he had touched the hearts of everyone who had known him.

Stone honouring Ed Letisnky in the Exchange District

I live in the Exchange District of Winnipeg and walk by this unique memorial to Ed Letisnky many times each week. Ed died in a farming accident in 1980 when he was only forty years old. A Winnipeg architect he worked for the city as an urban design coordinator.

Ed was one of the authors of a plan to turn the Albert Street area into a trendy shopping and dining destination. We now know it as The Exchange District. Ed loved to sketch and do karate. He left a wife and daughter when he died.

Winnipeg has many memorials to famous and well-known people who are recognized for their heroism or historic achievements but we also have memorials to more ordinary folk who also made valuable contributions to our city. I’d like to discover more of them.

Other posts……..

He Looks Kind- Andrew Mynarski

A Unique Meeting Place In A Winnipeg Park

My Aunt and Winnipeg’s Polio Hospital

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Filed under People, Winnipeg

Photo Essay- The Canadian Museum For Human Rights

When my husband and I moved to Winnipeg in the fall of 2011, we bought a condominium near the Human Rights Museum. Recently going through my photo albums I realized that without any real plan to do so I had collected photos of the building from the time of its construction through to the present.

I had no idea I had so many photos of the stunning building from different angles, at different times of the year, at different times of the day and with different friends and family we took to see the building. So here is my Museum of Human Rights Museum Photo Essay.

August 6th, 2011
September 19, 2011
September 29, 2011
October 8- 2011
October 26- 2011
March 1, 2012
June 29, 2012
May 11, 2013
July 3, 2014
October 5, 2014
View from the tower August 2, 2015
December 21, 2015
January 16, 2016
August 1, 2016
September 17, 2016
July 1, 2017
July 28, 2018
July 8-2019
January 3, 2020
May 5, 2020
September 23, 2020
January 26, 2021
September 17, 2021
January 2, 2022

Other posts……….

Welcome to Our Amazing Neighborhood

Dipping My Toe Into The Human Rights Museum

Getting Involved At the Human Rights Museum

The Canadian Museum For Human Rights- A Work in Progress

Do Buildings Have Souls?

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Out with the Birds on New Years Day

On New Year’s Day, it was a chilly -30 degrees in Winnipeg. Despite the Arctic temperatures Dave and I decided to bundle up and went for an hour-long trek in Kildonan Park.

I thought we might be alone on the trails but I was surprised how many other hardy hikers we encountered. It was hope-inducing to hear our cheery New Years’ greetings to one another ringing through the crisp cold air.

I thought it might be too cold for any birds to be out but I was wrong. We had just closed our car doors when a huge bald eagle soared right over our heads, flying so low we could clearly see its bright yellow beak.

We took detours when the incessant pounding of two different pileated woodpeckers caught our ears. We spotted both of their bright red heads but weren’t fast enough to get a photo before they flew off.

No such problem with a group of chickadees in some pines. Dave held out a peanut from his pocket and one of them hopped right over to have a snack.

We spotted some crows too, their inky silhouettes stark against the white of the snow-covered trees.

It was mighty cold in Winnipeg on New Years Day but not too cold for the Driedgers or the birds.

Other posts…………

Lessons From Birds

A Bird on the Hand

I Kissed An Owl

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Filed under Holidays, Nature, Winnipeg

Winnipeg In Winter

Since yesterday was the first day of winter I went through my photo albums to find images that showcase Winnipeg past and present in winter.

Winter trees in Steve Juba Park in 2012
Winter 1956 -Playing outside with my friend MaryJane at our house on Home Street
The Royal Albert Hotel in 2013
Mom and me on Dundurn Place in 1953
Seal River Crossing by Peter Sawatsky beside the Fairmont Hotel in 2012
My parents’ college dorm at 515 Wellington Crescent in 1951
Skating and walking trail on the Red River-2020
Gabrielle Roy marker in St. Boniface in 2012 during the construction of the Human Rights Museum
Walking Trail in Henteleff Park in 2019
Spirit carving on the Esprit du Bois Trail in 2020
Sun dogs at the Human Rights Museum in 2016
In the Assiniboine Forest2020
Lilac bushes Steve Juba Park- 2021

Other posts………

My House on Home Street

A Romantic Site

A Bird on the Hand

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Why No Golden Girl? A Blog Post That Upset People

Not long ago I shared the post below in a Facebook group dedicated to the history of Winnipeg. Enough people were upset and angry about it that it generated a heated discussion between readers who liked what I’d written and those who said its title and closing paragraph reeked of among other things political correctness, cancel culture and revisionist history. After a barrage of such comments the moderator of the group took my post down. I certainly didn’t write the post with the intention of upsetting anyone, but that’s what I did. I thought I’d post it here today to see what you think.

He’s looking pretty good for being over a hundred years old but he needs a companion! On one of my walks recently, I spent some time looking at the Golden Boy statue which sits atop the Manitoba Legislative Building on Broadway in Winnipeg.

I saw the statue up close and personal in 2002. It had been taken down because it needed to be repaired and regilded. It was put on display in the foyer of the Manitoba Museum, at that time still called The Museum of Man and Nature. Thousands of people came to look at the statue and have their picture taken with it. I was so close to the Golden Boy I could have touched it. It was definitely in need of a touch up since it had turned a sort of rusty green. It was covered with tags at the spots where repair work needed to take place.

Artist Georges Garden created the Golden Boy

The Golden Boy was created by Georges Gardet at a foundry in Paris. The foundry was destroyed by bombs during World War I, but the Golden Boy somehow emerged from the ruins unscathed, was rushed to a seaport, and loaded onto a French vessel carrying wheat. The liner was quickly commandeered to transport military troops. For the next while, the Golden Boy cruised the dangerous wartime ocean waters in the ship’s hold. When the fighting was over in 1919 the statue was taken to Halifax and from there shipped to Winnipeg.

The Golden Boy was purchased along with the two huge bison figures at the base of the legislative building’s main stairway, for a bargain price of $11,000. Now the statue is insured for more than fifteen times that amount, and just over one million dollars was spent restoring it to its former glory in 2002.

From this angle you can clearly see the statue has male anatomy

The Golden Boy, apparently inspired by the Greek God Hermes, is actually a nickname for the statue who is officially called Eternal Youth. Apparently once placed in his high spot, the sun glinted off his bronze covering, creating a certain golden effect. That’s how he earned the title Golden Boy. The torch in his right hand is supposed to represent a call to youth to join the pursuit of a more prosperous future for Manitoba.

It’s a worthwhile call to action, but I couldn’t help thinking as I viewed the statue, that the female half of our province’s population has been slighted. Young women have just as important a contribution to make to Manitoba’s future as young men do. Perhaps we need a Golden Girl to join the Golden Boy atop the Legislative Buildings. 

Other posts……..

Winnipeg’s Millennium Centre- Haunted by Ghosts

Bloody Saturday

Roof With a View

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Measuring the Red River With A Piece of Art

How did I miss this? I drive through Stephen Juba Park on my bicycle almost every day but had never noticed this digital sign till yesterday when it caught my eye as I whizzed by it. What in the world was it? I pulled in with my bike to get a closer look.

Once I got up close I realized it was an electronic display that shows the water levels of the Red River. Installed a year ago the sign is really a functional piece of art.

Called Feet James the artistic sign responds to real-time hydrometric data provided by Environment Canada to repeatedly light up to the height of the Red River at the foot of James Avenue.

Till 2017 the water level was measured by a device inside the James Avenue Pumping Station which has now been redesigned to house rental apartments and commercial spaces including the brand new James Avenue Pumphouse Food and Drink.

Other information panels on Feet James describe what happened in 1950 and 1997 when the river waters reached historic levels.

This interesting panel describes other record river heights including one in 1826 when the Red River rose to 12 feet above the level of the 1997 flood.

Doing a little research online I discovered the functional art piece had been designed by the Signex Company in Steinbach and they had a photo of it being installed on their website.

I can’t believe this interesting artwork has been in my neighbourhood for a whole year and I’ve never noticed it before. Just goes to show you there are always new things to discover about Winnipeg.

Other posts………

Hearing The Red River Valley in Hanoi

The Great River Canoeing Adventure in Winnipeg

I Love My Province

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Filed under Winnipeg

Autumn Cruise Fit For A Queen

My friend Esther suggested we celebrate our autumn birthdays with a walk at The Forks and ride on the Splash Dash boat river tour. I thought maybe the tour company closed up shop at the end of August but they were still open and we had a great time on our little cruise.

Jay, a Winnipeg blues musician was our affable, informative, and interesting boat driver and guide, and we were joined by a delightful family from Ottawa making a dream trip of a lifetime across Canada in their recreational vehicle.

Jay started out by telling us a funny story about how Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had gone on a ride on one of the riverboats on a visit to Winnipeg in October of 2002 and it ran out of gas. Her majesty’s boat had to be lashed to another boat and towed back to shore. Apparently, as she climbed out of the boat the Queen commented to her husband, “Well that was interesting.”

These colorful lines helped us see just how low the river has been this year. Normal levels in spring are at the blue mark. The yellow mark shows the height of the water during Winnipeg’s 1950s flood. After that, a floodway was built to protect Winnipeg. It was sarcastically known as Duff’s Ditch because premier Duff Roblin insisted it be built at a cost of $63 million. Some people thought it a foolish waste of money until 1997 when the river’s height reached the red mark. After that, the floodway was expanded.

We passed the Manitoba Legislature and Jay told us all about its special Tyndall stone construction. The Tyndall stone used in many important buildings in Winnipeg contains fossils that may be 450 million years old.

We also heard the story of the Golden boy and its many transatlantic voyages in the hold of a freight ship commandeered to transport troops during World War I.

Jay did a great job of explaining how Louis Riel, whose statue we could see from the river became known as the founder of Manitoba.

We passed under the stunning Provencher Bridge.

Jay pointed out the lovely Indigenous-inspired art on the bridge something many people miss seeing as they walk across it on the Riel Esplanade.

When we drove by the Human Rights Museum Jay told our Ottawa cruise companions that it was the first national museum to be built outside of the Ottawa capital region.

We cruised by the St. Boniface Hospital where I lived as a child.

Jay told us the story of how St. Boniface’s grand basilica cathedral burned in 1968.

We saw this riverside tribute to Tina Fontaine the Indigenous teenage girl whose body was found in the river in 2014. Her death brought public attention to the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and led to the government establishing a national inquiry into the issue.

I learned that this railroad bridge near my Exchange District home is 125 years old.

It started to spatter rain and get a little windy before we were done but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm.

A cadre of Canada geese helped guide us back to the Forks landing.

As we pulled into the dock I felt like I could have echoed Queen Elizabeth’s words as she exited her riverboat in 2002 and said, “Well, that was interesting.”

Other posts………..

The Provencher Bridge

Autumn in the Exchange District of Winnipeg

A Controversial Statue

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Filed under Winnipeg

Prying Hands

Look really carefully at the narrow window above the door on the Buhler Centre and you will see prying hands. The Buhler Centre is part of the University of Winnipeg campus and was named after John and Bonnie Buhler. They are business people who donated 4 million dollars towards the building’s construction.

Have you noticed as you walk down Portage Avenue in Winnipeg that there are now two hands above the sign for the Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art in the Buhler Centre? Those manicured fingers are actually a piece of art by Walter Scott that was installed by the Plug-In Gallery this summer. Scott calls the piece Mary Ann’s Inquiry.

Mary Ann’s Inquiry by Walter Scott – photo by Luther Konadu

The artwork shows a woman’s hands trying to pry open a building with colonial ownership that is part of an established academic institution to make space for artists, marginalized people, and those who are curious and want to ask questions.

The red on the nails match the red in the letters Buhler Centre to show that those who want to challenge institutions to be more inclusive are also a part of them and as the upper hand shows, they also help to hold up the very institutions they are challenging.

Photo from the gift shop page of the Plug-In Gallery

I learned about Walter Scott from Laura a former student of mine. We were having lunch not long ago and she was carrying this provocative bag that featured an art piece of Scott’s called Your Opinion. The woman in the drawing is named Wendy. Wendy is a young artist who is the protagonist in a series of popular graphic novels created by Walter Scott that satirize the contemporary art world.

Walter Scott is an interdisciplinary Indigenous artist who creates comics, drawings, videos, performance art, and sculpture.

I asked Laura about Walter Scott and she pointed out that I might have noticed his hands on the Plug-In Gallery. At that point, I hadn’t, but the next time I was downtown I took note, and I took some photos. Thanks, Laura for bringing my attention to a thought-provoking addition to Winnipeg’s public art collection.

Other posts………..

Mural on the Hudson’s Bay Store Window Made By A 90-Year-Old Woman

A Different Kind of Table

Good-bye Pitaloosie

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Filed under Art, Winnipeg