We were invited to the new home of friends who recently moved to the St. James area of the city. The only bus I could take arrived a good forty minutes before our dinner date time. Walking towards our friends’ home from the bus stop I came upon a lovely little park I didn’t even know existed. As I wandered into Benjaminson Park I came upon a sign that explained the park had been named after Skuli Benjaminson (1879-1970) a pioneer who had owned one of the first homes in the area. He helped chop down trees so Portage Avenue could be built and was instrumental in bringing power lines into the area. He was the only owner of a car and telephone in the neighborhood’s early days and he generously provided communication and transportation services to his neighbors.
Benjaminson Park is lovely. There’s a bench under a tree which is the perfect place to read. You have a lovely view of the river. I sat reading my book for a good half hour enjoying the beautiful purple flowers around me, the birds swooping down to the river and the leafy greenery. I was almost sorry to leave but a fabulous meal with great friends awaited me.
Winnipeg is full of little parks like the Benjaminson. It would be neat someday to do a pilgrimage and try to visit them all.
The Grand Canyon For Free
Exploring Gros Morne National Park
Walking in A Haunted Forest
Filed under Nature, Winnipeg
What could be more Canadian than a canoe? Just after entering The Common, the refurbished new eating area at The Forks you can look up and see a trio of fun sculptures by Winnipeg artist Jordan Van Sewell. I noticed them for the first time last week when I met my friend Esther at The Forks for a walk and lunch.
Nineteen diverse and interesting characters represent Canada’s people, animals, symbols and strengths. Canoes are certainly a very Canadian mode of transportation. They were invented by indigenous Canadians and played a big role in the building of our country as they transported furs and supplies and people. The sculptures are inclusive. After looking at the three canoes closely I think every Canadian could identify with at least one of the characters in some way. I like it that the artist included animals too because co-existing on this earth with all God’s creatures is important.
The waters each canoe moves through are different. Here the canoe is gliding down frothy night waters. Check out the poppy in the first character’s lapel who I think may be a miner holding a shovel. There’s a musician perhaps of Italian descent paddling with his guitar and the polar bear has a paddle too.
If you visit The Forks you are sure to encounter a wide diversity of people. Jordan Van Sewell’s artwork Canoes represents that so well. If you’ve never noticed these sculptures check them out the next time you are at The Forks.
A Waterfall at the Library
Katherina Vermette on the Wall
The Guess Who on the Wall
We had a fun time down at The Forks celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.
Hanging out at the Oodena Celebration Circle listening to the amazing aboriginal drummers and watching the First Nations dancers. Checking out the Human Rights Museum and bumping into old friends Robin and Craig. It was so great to catch up with them.
People watching and marveling at the diversity of the Canadian population. Some people have been in our country for thousands of years, others for a few generations and some have just arrived. We represent so many races and cultures and religions and languages and that was in very clear evidence watching the crowds of people down at the Forks yesterday. Visiting my colleagues at the Winnipeg Art Gallery container where they were inviting visitors to design their own Canadian flag. Enjoying some great food from Nu Burger down on the river front while listening to the Riel Mens Chorus sing. Here we bumped into our friends Werner and Adelia and had a nice visit with them. Listening to our friends Bruno and Caroline perform with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir. They sang O Canada in both languages, and a wonderful variety of pieces including an Inuit song, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and an arrangement of Oscar Peterson’s Hymn to Freedom that included these words…………. When every hand joins every hand and together moulds our destiny, That’s when we’ll be free.
O Canada- Traveling the Country
Canada Day in Leamington
Treking to the Tip of Canada
They were from Shanghai and Beijing and Shenzhen and Kunming and many other places I have visited. I had the pleasure of taking a Chinese community group of Winnipeg residents on a tour of the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery last week. I lived in Hong Kong for six years and so it was interesting to find out where people in the group came from and to compare notes about their home cities. I had visited most of them.
It was my first tour with a translator and so I had to give information in small bits and then wait while it was translated into Mandarin. Hearing Mandarin spoken again, and talking with the tour participants about places that I had come to know, made me nostalgic. It was a nice feeling though. I’m not sorry I live in Canada now but chatting with my tour participants from China brought back fond memories of the time I spent in Asia.
Dancing in Shangri-La
Ai Wei Wei
Stick Stick Men
On Saturday evening when Dave and I came home from a visit with friends this scene greeted us just outside the front door of our condo. People were having dinner all up and down Rorie street stretching from the Manitoba Theatre Centre to the Richardson Building. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of my cousins who was attending the event told me it was called Table for 1200 more. It is a dinner for 150 tables of eight that brings people together to talk about and celebrate architecture, culinary expertise and design culture in Winnipeg. The food is prepared by chefs Mandel Hitzer and Ben Kramer . Guests who had paid $100 for their tickets had been asked to dress in white and weren’t told where the dinner would be held till just an hour before it started. Each group of eight had decorated their own table and there were prizes for the best table designs. According to the Free Press the menu consisted of seven courses, including quinoa, marinated mushroom salad, meatballs and Greek style baby potatoes. From photos online I noticed previous Table for 1200 More events had been held on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature, and on the Provencher Bridge. One reason I like living in the Exchange District is you never know what you might find when you walk out your front door. Someone could be filming a movie. A guide could be taking international tourists on a history walk. A street performer could be juggling or playing music. A bridal party might be posing for wedding photos or………….. there could be 1200 people having dinner on your street.
I’m Living in the Middle of A Movie Set
I’m Living in an Art Gallery
Katherena Vermette came away from the Manitoba Book Awards with three prizes for her novel The Break. She received the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award. Although I would encourage you to buy her novel as well as her book of poetry North End Love Songs a taste of Katherena’s wordsmithing skill is available to everyone even if they can’t afford her published work.
I pass one of Katherena’s poems almost everyday as I walk through Winnipeg’s downtown area. It is called pieces and is inscribed on a wall at the north end of Portage Avenue flanked on either side by the work of local artists.
Spring and Love
Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry
The Comfort of a Poem
Filed under Poetry, Winnipeg
I was visiting one of my student teachers in a junior high classroom in the inner city yesterday. I started jotting down things I saw.
- Labels in both Arabic and English for items in the room like the pencil sharpener and clock.
- A numbered treaty document signed by all the students and their teacher which listed their responsibilities. Some of the treaty items the teacher had agreed to were listening to kids and giving them time to think. Some of the treaty items the students had agreed to were trying their best and showing up for class on time.
- A piece of chart paper that recorded the results of a class brainstorming session about bullying.
- A series of posters for the seven sacred teachings- courage, honesty, respect,wisdom, truth, love and humility.
- A large sign providing the number of hotline children could call for help if they were experiencing abuse.
- A poster with the United Nations Rights of a Child in kid friendly language.
- A colorful poster on the door that featured an acrostic for diversity D-different I-individuals V-valuing E-each other R-regardless of S-skin I-intellect T-talents or Y-years.
- Boxes of granola bars for kids to eat if they had missed breakfast.
- A Canadian flag right beside a poster that read We Are All Treaty People.
- A map of all the treaty lands in Manitoba and the communities in them. Some of the students had put their names on sticky notes and attached them to the map at the spot where their family came from.
- Shelves filled with board games and books.
- Students with skin color, language and dress that indicated they came from many different countries.
- Plastic containers filled with supplies like pencil crayons, scissors, pens and notebooks for kids that didn’t have their own.
- A poster that declared… Always determine what’s right instead of who’s right.
As I looked around I thought most of these things would not have been in a classroom I was a part of as a child.
The Children are Watching and Listening and Wondering
Counting on Their Fingers
Crossing the Line