Welcome to our Amazing Neighbourhood

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We have a number of guests coming over in the next few weeks who haven’t been to our Winnipeg home before.  One of the things I plan to do is take them on a walking tour to see the art and architecture in our neighborhood.

We will check out the amazing sculptures around the Richardson Building.seal river crossingSeal River Crossing was created by Peter Sawatsky, an artist from the Mennonite village of Sommerfeld.   Seal River is a very remote place in northern Manitoba and only a handful of people have actually seen the caribou making the perilous crossing of the river. Sawatsky is one of them and thanks to his artistry we get to see what it is like too. north face

North Watch is by Ivan Eyre a well-known Manitoba artist.  It is made of over 2500 pounds of bronze and more than eighty pieces that took several months to assemble. tree children leo mol


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It Made Me Stop

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winnipeg brushes old company Last week I walked by this cool old building at 422 Notre Dame Avenue here in Winnipeg.  I stopped and took some photos and was intrigued enough to do a little searching. I found out Frank Peters, the same architect who built the Ashdown Warehouse where I live, designed this structure in 1899 to house the Manitoba School of Pharmacy.  In 1934 the Royal Canadian Legion bought the building and did renovations to turn it into a members’ club. winnipeg landmark on notre dame brush companyThen in 1945  it was purchased by Nicholas and Mary Syzek who owned a brush company.  They lived in a suite at the rear of the building with their two sons Andrew and Nicholas Jr.  and manufactured and sold brushes and brooms in the rest of the building.  Nicholas Sr. died in 1957 but Mary kept on running the business till around 1970 producing everything from stucco brushes and flour mill…

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A Different Perspective

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As part of the Treaty Training workshop I participated in at the Manitoba Museum on Monday we looked at some of the museum’s exhibits and tried to see them from a First Nations’ perspective.  

non such at the manitoba museumI’ve toured the Nonsuch ship in the museum many times.  As I’ve explored the cramped living quarters below deck I’ve thought about what it must have been like for the sailors who lived aboard the vessel in 1668 as the ship made the 118 day voyage from England to Canada to trade for beaver pelts with the Cree. I’ve wondered at the ingenuity of the ship builders and thought about the historical importance of the crew members because the success of their voyage led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company. I’ve wondered how the sailors might have spent their very first winter in the cold of James Bay. 

nonsuch manitoba museumOur guide asked us to…

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Chimerica- Personal Memories and Connections With Tiananmen Square

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marylou in tiananmen squareI was reminded of my visit to Tiananmen Square in Beijing as I watched the play Chimerica at the Manitoba Theatre Centre.  The story revolves around an American news photographer in 2012 who believes the defiant young man who stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square during the student uprisings of 1989 is still alive and living in New York.  The photographer is determined to find him.  

jan wong red china bluesAs the play transported us back to China and Tiananmen Square in 1989 I thought of Canadian journalist Jan Wong.  She was in a hotel looking out over the square as the students were massacred and she gives a vivid and disturbing account of it in her book Red China BluesThe production of Chimerica at MTC uses video, a clever stage set, sound effects and lighting to also give us an inside look at what might have happened…

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Having A Feast For Breakfast

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feast restaurant winnipegWe had breakfast on Saturday morning at a new Winnipeg restaurant called Feast. They serve modern dishes rooted in traditional First Nations foods. Everything is prepared with locally sourced ingredients. window at feast restaurantFeast is at the corner of Ellice Avenue and Shebrooke just across from the West End Cultural Centre. history plaque Feast restaurantThe eatery is housed in an historic Winnipeg building designed by J.D. Atchison an architect from Chicago who designed more than a hundred buildings in the city in the early 1900s. interior of feastThe interior space has been beautifully renovated with lots of light, a bar and comfortable seating. tin ceilingThey’ve maintained the old tin ceiling but added…….lighting at feast restaurantLovely light fixturesphoto of maple syrup cans on treesand large illuminated photos of Manitoba landscapes that sweep across the space. feast menuThe menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner items featuring things like bannock, wild salmon, grass fed bison, home made berry jam, maple syrup, fry bread, cranberries and saskatoons. breakfast at FeastI had The Ellice

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Sun Dogs and Steam

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sun dogs human rights museumDave and I walked to the Forks Saturday morning for breakfast. With wind chill in the minus 40 range it was a bit of a biting experience.  As we crossed the foot bridge in Steve Juba Park I noticed a sun dog beside the Human Rights Museum. Even though I nearly froze my fingers  I stopped and took off my gloves to capture the scene with my camera. sun dog beautySun dogs are created by light interacting with ice crystals in the air. Sun dogs appear as subtly colored patches in the sky. The ice crystals act like a prism bending and refracting the light. steam on the riverI turned around after photographing the sun dog to see another lovely sight.  Steam was rising up out of the Red River making it look all other-worldly and fairy tale like.  steam rising on the redSince parts of the flowing river haven’t frozen yet the running water was emitting streams…

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Selkirk Settlers- Matching Canada and Scotland

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Selkirk Settlers by Gerald LaingSelkirk Settlers by Gerald Laing

This statue called Selkirk Settlers stands at the end of Bannatyne, the street where I live. I did a blog post about the statue and recently I received a message from a blog reader who told me that the very same sculpture stands in Helmsdale Scotland.  Helmsdale was the departure point for the Scots thrown off their land during the Highland clearances. Tenant Scottish crofters were evicted from their homes by the rich lairds so they could use the land for grazing sheep. Many of these exiled Scottish families ended up immigrating to Winnipeg. Michael was kind enough to send me a photo of the sculpture in Helmsdale.

Photo by Michael Forbes of the Selkirk Settlers sculpture in Helmsdale ScotlandPhoto by Michael Forbes of the Selkirk Settlers sculpture in Helmsdale Scotland

The sculpture in Scotland was created by artist Gerald Laing, the same artist that made the sculpture in Winnipeg. I found out that Laing is…

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Matching Macau and St. Boniface

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st. boniface basilicaWe had a visitor from Hong Kong recently and we took him on a cruise down Winnipeg’s Red River. When we passed the St. Boniface Basilica we explained how the cathedral had burned down in 1968 and only the front facade of the original church remains. It has become a well-known Winnipeg landmark.  Our guest said, “That’s just like in Macau.” We had never thought of the comparison but it was very apt.  

At the church facade in Macau with my parents At the church facade in Macau with my parents

We visited the island of Macau many times during the six years we lived in Hong Kong. There is a famous church there The Church of St. Paul built by the Jesuits. church facade in macauIt was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in  1835. The facade remains and is probably the most photographed spot in Macau. 

We watched a play behind the St. Boniface Basilica facade at the Fringe Festival last year. We watched a play behind the St. Boniface Basilica facade at the…

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I’m Happy My Taxes Are Paying For This

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flower assiniboine parkMy friend Esther and I were sketching in the English gardens in Assiniboine Park last week.  It was a gorgeous day and the gardens were alive with stunning flowers but what made me so happy were all the people in the park.  So many folks were out enjoying the lovely Manitoba morning.

clouds and trees reflected in lily pond assiniboine parkWe chatted with an elderly couple walking their dog. They stopped to point out the hawk in the tree above our heads. “We come here everyday,” they said, “and that hawk is always perched right there. It’s his favorite tree.”  A Dad was reading the names of all the flowers on the little signs to his three young children.  Several people in wheelchairs were being pushed through the walkways and people with walkers and canes made their way slowly amongst the statues and plants.  english gardens assiniboine parkI was so fascinated with all the folks walking by I didn’t get…

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What is Cool?

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cool gardens winnipegWhat do you think is cool?  The creators of this art installation at The Forks in Winnipeg asked 2015 people that question. Hope is coolEach flag in the installation has a photo of someone’s face and their response to the question, “What is cool?” cool gardens the forksThis ‘cool’ art was created by fourth year environmental design students from the University of Manitoba- Brenton Leskiw, Kent Mundle, Matthew Rajfur and Corey Doucette. What would you put on a flag in this exhibit? 

Other posts…

Crossing Seal River

What’ Gandhi Doing in Winnipeg?

The Famous Five

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