Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a Midsummer Afternoon

helena, lysander and demetriusLast Friday afternoon we biked to Central Park to see the Shakespeare in the Ruins production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.IMG_2033 It was a beautiful day  just perfect for an outdoor performance.waddell fountain central park winnipeg

The actors used the Waddell Fountain as their stage. It was built in 1914 in memory of Emily Margaret Waddell by her husband Thomas. She had a stipulation in her will that if her husband wanted to keep her estate worth $56,000 than if he decided to marry again he would have to build a public fountain in Central Park in her memory using $10,000 of her estate.  At the time that kind of money could have built you a beautiful home in Winnipeg.   waddell fountain central park winnipeg

The Waddell Fountain was patterned after one built in memory of Sir Walter Scott in Edinburgh.

refugee family in central park winnipegCentral Park was a good location to choose to stage the play since the area around the park is Winnipeg’s most densely populated neighborhood and is home to 70% of the refugees who move to the city. 

bottom as an ass in a mid summer night's dreamThe actors had their work cut out for them trying to project their voices above fire trucks, police sirens and a soccer game in full swing just beside them. IMG_2046

Then this little girl in pink strolled up on the stage and placing her hands on her hips made it clear she wasn’t going anywhere. The talented actors had to incorporate her into the script and work around her, which they did with gracious humour. 

children watching amid summer night's dream

These kids were playing soccer but became so intrigued by what was happening onstage they left their game to take a look. the wall a mid summer night's dreamSeveral kids were called up from the audience to take on certain roles. This young man played The Wall and did a great job. 

Lysander and Hermia

Although they presented a shortened version of the play it still took about 85 minutes or so to sort out the mixed up lovers and get everything in place for the happy ending. a mid summer night's dream

I’ve seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream many times but never on a midsummer afternoon in the middle of Winnipeg. It was a unique and enjoyable experience. 

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Devour the District- A Food Tour in Winnipeg’s Exchange

supper at boon burger on bannatyneOn Tuesday my husband Dave and I enjoyed a food tour with our friends, Debbie and Esther. The tour was called Devour the District. Sponsored by the Exchange District Biz association it takes you to some of the 40 restaurants in Winnipeg’s Exchange District to sample items from their menus. devour the district tourLuckily I had signed up for the tour early in July. Devour the District is offered twice a week but is completely sold out for the summer months. exchange district tour guide

Rochelle was our very knowledgeable guide. She knew so much about the Exchange District’s history and architecture. A university landscape architecture student working on her Masters thesis she gives tours as a summer job. 

peasant cookery winnipegOur first stop was the Peasant Cookery. My husband Dave and I have eaten here several times in the past and had always enjoyed the experience.

travelers building winnipegThe Peasant Cookery is in the Travellers Building and Rochelle told us that in the  early 1900’s when many salesmen were beginning  to come to Winnipeg, they formed a union and this building offered union members accommodation on their trips to Winnipeg. There were offices, meeting rooms, lounges and even Turkish baths in the basement. It was a pretty high-class, high service establishment. pork belly peasant cookeryAt the Peasant Cookery we were served pork belly with pineapple and cucumber. I have NEVER ordered pork belly because the  thought of eating a layer of fat just ‘grossed me out.’  But I have to say this was delicious.

at the peasant cookeryThe pork belly was perfectly paired with a slightly sweet German Rudolf Muller Reisling.  It’s nicknamed The Bunny Wine because there is a rabbit on the bottle.  The waiter was very friendly and told us The Peasant Cookery’s speciality is oysters and their record for oysters sold in one night is 2002. 

going into deer and almond restaurant

My husband Dave was a gentleman and held the door for everyone at The Deer and Almond our next stop on the tour. It’s a restaurant that is considered one of the city’s best. I learned the name comes from the chef whose name is Mandel Hitzer.  Mandel is the German word for almond. Deer was chosen because the chef thinks the deer is a magnificent animal. 

deer and almond We had a “it’s a small world” experience here when Dave realized one of the waitresses was a former student of his and……
friendsDebbie found out two of the patrons were former elementary and junior high classmates of hers.

korean fried chicken deer and almondWe were given the Korean Fried Chicken dish to taste. The chef told us it was a kind of Asian KFC style dish. He got the recipe idea from a bar- tender friend. It was very good but filling. shawarma khanWe moved on to Shawarma Khan, one of the newer restaurants in the Exchange. It is located in the former Free Press Building built in 1883.
Obby Khan in his restaurantOwner Obby Khan was funny and entertaining and told us all about his restaurant. He believes fast food can be healthy food and so all the ingredients used in his restaurant are 100% natural with no preservatives or fillers.obby khan's jerseys

Obby is a former CFL player and in the restaurant he displays the jerseys he wore while a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Ottawa Renegades and Calgary Stampeders.football players shwarma khan

He also has a wall full of signed photographs of CFL football players. 

blue and goldObby has acknowledged his former football team by painting the ceiling blue and having a gold strip run around the dining area. shawarma khan halal

Obby’s family is from Pakistan and Obby is a practicing Muslim so it is important to him that the food he serves is all halal (foods that Muslims are allowed to eat.) 

shawarma khanObby says they are constantly trying to improve their product and they serve more than 200 people lunch every day. He gave each of us a chicken shawarma to try. 

hermanos signHermanos tapas restaurant was next. It is located on the main floor of the Ashdown Warehouse, where we live. We had been there once before, but it is often hard to get in since they are very busy most evenings. mussels at hermanosThey served us mussels in an English cream curry sauce and………

chorizo sausage at hermanosAnd a chorizo sausage dish with peppersboon burger sign on bannatyneJust down the same street about a block we stopped in at Boon Burger for……..

chocolate coconut milk icecream Their chocolate coconut milk icecreamart piece boon burger lobby

I was intrigued by this unique sculpture in the Boon Burger lobby. I think it may belong to the architectural firm who has an office in the same building. carnaval restaurant winnipeg

Our last stop was on the waterfront at the Carnaval Brazilian Barbeque where we went in the bar to have a drink . IMG_2005

Don’t these red wine sangrias look great? I had a drink called a Twisted Citrus which was very refreshing. two friendsDevour the District  was a fun tour, delicious and a great way to be introduced to some of the many exciting dining options in the Exchange District. 

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Marrying a Heiress- Guilded Prostitution

carolyn fitzgerald portrait by Sir Edward Burne Jones 1884No work at the current 100 Masters Exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery has intrigued me more than this portrait of Caroline Fitzgerald by Edward Burne Jones.  I did some fairly extensive research on Caroline to learn more about her life and as a result discovered the idea of gilded prostitution. I posted my article about Caroline on my What Next site. 

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Folkorama-2013

We visited four pavilions at Folkorama this year, Brazil, Chile, Celtic and India. As always I was impressed by the many volunteers who make the event possible and the enthusiasm and energy of the performers.dancer brazil pavilion folkorama winnipeg 2 The costumes at the Brazil Pavilion were stunning.fiddlers celtic pavilion winnipeg folkorama

The four female fiddlers at the Celtic Pavilion were  talented and entertaining. 

steel drummer brazilThe steel drummer at the Brazil Pavilion had flying fingers and a wicked sense of rhythm. While he entertained us we ate Fejouda (a bean and pork stew) and drank Caipirinha( a sweet fruit and coconut concotion). At the Chile Pavilion we had thousand layer cake and  corn empanadas. river dancers celtic pavilion winnipeg folkorama

The traditional Irish step dancers at the Celtic Pavilion moved their feet so quickly and with so much gusto that they shook the rafters of the venue. We ate Irish stew and potato and leek soup. dancers india pavilion folkorama winnipeg

You could try on a sari or a turban at the India pavilion. Dave and I had a nice chat with one of the volunteers about our trip to India a few years ago. 

ambassador brazil pavilion folkoramaThe ambassadors at the Brazil Pavilion had costumes so bright they nearly blinded you. 

It seemed like everyone in Winnipeg was there. We met the Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis outside one pavilion. Dave said hello and he wished us a good evening.  At another pavilion we saw Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds.  There were long line-ups to get into all four of the pavilions we visited. 

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Interviewed by the CBC

Today I did an interview with CBC radio personality Margaux Watt. She is working on a series for the fall months for the morning show about life in the Exchange District of Winnipeg and some of the myths or false perceptions people may have about living there. She arrived around noon and I met her outside my Exchange District condo. She and I went for a walk down our street and through Steve Juba Park and she asked me lots of question about why we chose to buy a home in the Exchange District and what are some of the things we like about our location. She was particularly interested in knowing whether or not I felt safe living where we do.

Margaux Watt

Margaux Watt-Facebook Photo

It was great to meet Margaux in person after hearing her on the radio so often. I found out  her husband is a university professor who is also the author of horror and science fiction novels and that she is a mom of two young adults.  She was friendly and down to earth and very easy to talk to. I guess that’s what makes her a good radio journalist. 

She said she would let me know when our interview will be on the radio and I’ll be sure to do another post about it then. 

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Jon Klassen- A Winnipeg Boy Hits the Big Time

450px-Jon_Klassen_2013Jon Klassen a former Dreamworks animator turned children’s writer who was born right here in Winnipeg, is having enormous success with two new children’s books – I Want My Hat Back andThis Is Not My Hat. Read about why I think he’s hit the big time so quickly on my Vast Imaginations site.

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