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
Yesterday we visited Belgium and Colombia vicariously by going to the Belgian and Colombian pavilions at Folkorama, a traditional Winnipeg summer festival. During the two weeks of Folkorama celebrations, groups of people whose families have immigrated to Canada from places around the world, work together to create pavilions that showcase their home country’s culture. The pavilions, located all over the city, offer food, entertainment and activities. More than 40 countries provide showcases each year. We went to Folkorama with our friends Garry and Lynn and Hans and Chris.
We had chorizo sausage and empanadas at the Colombia pavilion and beer stew, turkey soup, Belgian waffles and Belgian chocolates at the Belgium pavilion. Some people in our group had French Fries at the Belgium pavilion. Did you know French Fries were invented in Belgium? There are speciality shops called frietkot in Belgium that sell fries with all kinds of dipping sauces. At the Belgian pavilion they served their fries with mayonaisse. We also tried some Belgian beer. The master of ceremonies at the Belgian pavilion told us there are 500 kinds of Belgian beer. The Belgian pavilion was located in the Belgian Club which is just a five minute drive from our home. The Belgian club in Winnipeg was established in 1905. If the friendly and warm volunteers at the Belgian pavilion are any indication, I’d have to say Winnipeg has a vibrant Belgian community. Their main social activities appear to be Belgian bowling, which some people in our group tried at the Belgian pavilion, and pole archery- which involves shooting at artifical birds perched on poles.
We watched dance shows at both the Belgian and Colombian pavilions. There is a Belgian Dance Club in Winnipeg which meets regularly and is for all ages.
These excited and lovely little girls were part of the Colombia dance group called Folklore de Mi Tierra. They had a large cadre of enthusiastic and talented performers of all ages wearing a variety of colorful costumes. I thought it was great that at both pavilions they were involving children in their dance performance groups. The kids were getting lots of healthy exercise and learning about their family’s cultural heritage at the same time!
We were surprised to be greeted at the Belgian Pavilion by Lyndsay and Alison Kalyta, two young women from Steinbach, the city where Dave and I lived and worked for over thirty years. Lyndsay was a student in my Journalism class at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School. She and her sister are the official Belgian ambassadors for Folkorama. Their mother is Belgian. I want to return to the pavilion this weekend to do a story about the girls for my column in The Carillon.
Although I’ve never been to either Belgium or Colombia, my Folkorama visits will certainly make me consider them as destinations when I’m thinking about what’s next on my travel agenda.