The Qualico Family Centre- Assiniboine Park

Today I visited the Qualico Family Centre in Assiniboine Park. The $6 million, 10,000 square foot facility opened In November. 

It was a perfect winter day so I walked over to the Family Centre after my husband Dave dropped me off at the Pavilion Gallery which features the work of three prominent Manitoba artists Ivan Eyre, Clarence Tillenius, and Walter J. Phillips.

The air was crisp, the sun warm and the sky clear blue. The squirrels were out in force enjoying the good weather. 

Nestled in a grove of oak and pine trees the Qualico Centre skirts the park’s duck pond, which serves as a skating rink in winter. The roof of the centre is 100% green– planted with all kinds of prairie grasses. 

Walking into the front door of the centre you are greeted by this cozy sitting area around a fireplace. The fireplace is two-sided, so that the back of it is exposed on the outdoor patio which is open to visitors in the summer. 

A miniature replica of Leo Mol’s sculpture Tree Children sits atop the fireplace. In November I wrote a post about the life-size version of this sculpture located just outside the Richardson Building at the corner of Portage and Main. Perhaps the sculpture has been placed in the centre to encourage people to visit the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden which is also located in Assiniboine Park. 

There are windows everywhere in the centre that bring the ‘outside in’. This also allows the sunlight to help warm the building in winter. The trees all around the centre help keep it cool in summer. 

The Acorn Activity Area is a comfortably furnished sunny room where nature activities for all ages are offered on a regular basis. Just outside this nature classroom are several paintings by Ivan Eyre. Perhaps this is to entice people to visit the Pavilion Gallery which is also in the park and contains many more of Eyre’s paintings.

There isn’t really a table in the restaurant that doesn’t offer a great view of the outdoors. The wood for the massive beams that form the ceiling came from reclaimed dead elm trees. 

There’s a nice variety of soups,salads, sandwiches, burgers, sushi and breakfast items on the menu.

I was there to have lunch with three friends I’ve been getting together with regularly since coming home from Hong Kong. We’ve been trying to come up with a name for ourselves. My friend Esther suggested today we call ourselves the T-4’s since there are four of us and at one time we were teaching colleagues. We had different things from the menu –sandwiches, wraps, salads and two kinds of desserts. We all enjoyed our food. 

As we came out of the Qualico Centre we noticed many of the front patio stones were engraved. People had dedicated stones in memory of friends and family members. It was interesting to read the various inscriptions. 

After lunch we went for a walk in the park. A perfect ending to a lovely get together with friends.

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Categories: Parks, Restaurants | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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