One of our walking adventures this week was exploring the Bois -de-esprits trail which begins at 650 Shorehill Drive in Winnipeg. The trail is named for the wooded area it winds through. Translated its name means Woods Where the Spirits Dwell. According to the Save our Seine website Bois-de-esprits is one of the largest pristine urban forests in Canada. I learned that two decades ago this forest was scheduled to become part of a housing development but concerned citizens stepped up to save 117 acres of it. The trails were created in a way that required as few trees as possible to be taken down. The woods are full of wildlife and we must have seen more than twenty deer during our 5-kilometre walk. The Bois de espirts trail is well known for this sculpture in a tree trunk. The tree had died from Dutch Elm disease. It was carved by Walter Mirosh and Robert Leclair from Les Gens de Bois Woodcarving Club. The sculpture was given its name Woody in English or Mhitik in Ojibway at a special Indigenous feast and ceremony in 2006.
There were carvings on both sides of the tree but unfortunately, arsonists have damaged the one side.
There are several lovely paths to follow, one that runs through the heart of the forest and another along the Seine River. We walked both. I just loved the colours of the golden grasses against the stark brown branches. Besides Woody, there are all kinds of other sculptures in tree trunks in the woods made by various artists. I don’t think we found them all but we discovered quite a few.
I’d love to go back sometime and find more carvings. We won’t be getting together with our grandchildren this year for Christmas but another year I think it would be lots of fun to go looking for the ‘spirits’ in the woods on this trail with them.