Monthly Archives: June 2014

Food From the Land and Shakespeare in the Ruins

marylou and meenaOur friends Meena and Anil are visiting us from Hong Kong and we took them out to the Peasant Cookery, a favorite Exchange District restaurant of ours.window ledge peasant cookery The window ledges are decorated with artistic fowl sculptures in wood or ceramics and jars of canned fruits and vegetables.interior peasant cookery winnipegThe Peasant Cookery boasts that it offers ‘real food from the land’ and we knew from our past visits that the food would be excellent and the service friendly. 

dave and anilWe decided to order five different dishes from the eclectic menu and share them all.  meal at peasant cookeryOur meal was first rate. beet salad peasant cookery

A beet salad with toasted seeds, goat cheese, arugula and a  caramelized honey vinaigrette dressing

tourtierre at peasant cookery winnipeg Tourtiere- a French meat pie with thick cut  fries

gnocchi at peasant cookery winnipeg

aged cheddar gnocchi  with sun dried tomato, spinach, red onion, piquillo peppers and basil oilmahi mahi at peasant cookeryLightly breaded mahi, mahi with fresh vegetablesbread pudding at peasant cookery

and bread pudding with Guinness ice-cream and a caramel sauce for dessert.waiter peasant cookeryDespite his look of concern in this photo our waiter was attentive and very pleasant and earned extra bonus marks from us when my husband asked him who his favorite Winnipeg band was and he replied, “Royal Canoe,” the band our son plays in. trappist monastery shakespeare in the ruinsAfter dinner we were off to the Trappist Monastery in St. Norbert to see this years’ Shakespeare in the Ruins production of The Comedy of Errors. anil and daveIt was a near perfect night. The rain held off and it was just cool and windy enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay. We had warm blankets provided by the theatre troupe. audience shakespeare in the ruinsWe moved around the monastery grounds to see the different scenes from the play. It was done in such an entertaining fashion, the humor bawdy and the acting a bit ‘over the top’ in a good way.  comedy of errors shakespeare in the ruinsThe actors made it so easy to follow the rather complicated plot of mistaken identity that near the end of the play when it was revealed that identical twins had been mixed up throughout the drama, a little boy about three or four years old in the audience blurted out, “Why there’s two of them.”  Even he understood the plot resolution. marylou and meenaThe Peasant Cookery staff and Shakespeare in the Ruins company helped us show off our city to our Hong Kong friends in first class style. 

Other related posts……

Shakespeare in the Ruins- 2012

Are You Speaking English

Devour the District

Categories: Culture, Exchange District, Food, Restaurants, St. Norbert | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Promenade Cafe

promenade cafe saint bonifaceDave and I had never been to the Promenade Cafe just across the Provencher Bridge and only a five-minute bike ride from our home. dinner at promenade cafe saint bonifaceLast week we  cycled over to meet our friends there for dinner. patio promenade cafe saint bonifaceIt was a rainy cold day so we couldn’t use the patio with its nice view of the river, the bridge and the New Human Rights Museum. However the atmosphere inside was pleasant and warm and we enjoyed our meal immensely. couple wine tastingDave and I opted for the restaurant’s unique ever-changing Prix Fixe menu which allows a couple to share a four course meal including a half glass of a different wine pairing with each course. It’s a great deal! You get more than enough food and our bill ended up being substantially cheaper than our friends who’d ordered in a more traditional way from the interesting menu.  pate trayOur first course was a butcher block with pate, spicy mustard, salad, pickles and herb seasoned toasted French bread. Of course paired with a nice white wine. goat cheese saladNext came a salad topped with creamy goat cheese. This is one person’s portion. chicken dish promenade cafe st. bonifaceThen a chicken dish with mushroom bacon wine sauce, creamy potatoes and brocoli. It was so good I was half done before I remembered to take a photo. chocolate dessert promenade cafe And finally a luscious chocolate dessert that quite literally melted in your mouth accompanied by a dessert wine.  It was a satisfying and throughly enjoyable dining experience. The waitress was friendly and informative and the restaurant obviously popular with the place quickly filling up for dinner. Now that we’ve been introduced to the Promenade I know we’ll go back. I’ve heard their breakfasts are excellent.

Other posts about restaurants visited…….

A Blast From the Past

Neechi Commons

The Best Won Ton Mein in Winnipeg

Cafe D Amour

Eat Like You Give a Damn

Categories: Food, Restaurants, St. Boniface | Tags: , , | 1 Comment


Photo by John Dean

Photo by John Dean

I can never just walk by Jonathan Jones’ work Infinity at the Winnipeg Art Gallery because the students on my tours all want to stop and look at this brightly lit sculpture. Jones who is from Australia gave the piece to the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a tribute to Manitoba’s Metis people.  The Metis flag has an infinity symbol on it. 

On a visit to Fort Whyte our guide showed us the Metis flag with the infinity symbol

On a visit to Fort Whyte our guide showed us the Metis flag with the infinity symbol

The infinity symbol on the flag represents the idea that the Metis culture will live forever. The symbol can also be seen as two joined circles because Metis culture is a blend of aboriginal and European (primarily French) cultures.jonathan_jonesJonathan Jones who created Infinity is an aboriginal artist from the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi people of Australia. His sculpture Infinity is made with flourescent tubing, electric cables and steel.  Jones says one goal of his body of artwork is to illuminate issues relating to race and  identity. 

Tribute to Great Chiefs of the Past by Daphne Odjig

Tribute to Great Chiefs of the Past by Daphne Odjig

It is very fitting that Infinity is on display in the Winnipeg Art Gallery at the same time as the major exhibit 7: Professional Native Indian Artist Inc. and at the same time as……

cathy busby we are sorry

Cathy Busby’s We Are Sorry banners which display apologies from both the Australian and Canadian prime ministers for the way the First Nations people of their countries were treated in the past and in particular for the damage inflicted by residential schools in both countries. jonathan jones infinity

It is said that shortly before his death in 1885 Metis leader and Manitoba founder Louis Riel wrote a prophetic statement in his journal.  ‘My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.’

Perhaps the works Infinity and We Are Sorry as well as the four rooms at the Winnipeg Art Gallery devoted to the exhibit  7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. are proof that Riel’s prophecy is coming true. 

Other related posts……..

Nicknaming Seven Great Artists

We Are Sorry- Here and Down Under

Latest post about the Winnipeg Art Gallery…….

Learning to Print


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Visiting the Home of a Canadian Author

Gabrielle Roy's childhood home in St. Boniface

Gabrielle Roy’s childhood home in St. Boniface

Gabrielle Roy is one of Canada’s literary giants and she was born right here in Winnipeg. I took a tour of her childhood home in St. Boniface.  Our first guide Adrienne was a college student from Quebec.  She told us Gabrielle had lived in this house at 375 Deschambault from her birth in 1909 till she left for Europe in 1937.

Our second guide shows us a photograph of Gabrielle’s family

Gabrielle’s parents both moved to Manitoba from Quebec. Seven of Gabrielle’s siblings survived childhood.  She was closest to her sister Bernadette who became a nun. 

Our guide explains how a stereoscope works

Gabrielle’s father worked for the Canadian government settling new immigrants in western Canada. He was nearly 60 when Gabrielle, his eleventh child was born.

Gabrielle Roy’s mother’s sewing machine

Gabrielle’s mother loved fashion and dressing up. She bought material at the Eatons story to make dresses for her daughters. After her husband became ill and could no longer work Gabrielle’s mother earned extra money for the family by doing sewing.

Gabrielle Roy with her grade one class at Provencher School

Gabrielle became a teacher and taught in Manitoba for a number of years before leaving to move to Europe and then to Montreal. Gabrielle set her first and most famous book The Tin Flute in Montreal but several of her books have Manitoba settings including the two I am currently reading Children of My Heart which is about a young school teacher and her students and Rue Deschambault about life in St. Boniface.

Toys in the attic of Gabrielle’s Roy’s home

Gabrielle Roy’s house would be a great place to bring children. I went up to the attic of the museum and saw activity centres where young visitors could put on little dramas with costumes, write poems, listen to stories and play with toys from the time of Gabrielle’s childhood. 

Gabrielle Roy

Gabrielle Roy won the 1947 Governor General’s Award for fiction. A quote from Gabrielle Roy  “Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?” was on the back of the Canadian $20 bill from 2004 to 2012. 

Other posts about Manitoba authors………

The Age of Hope

The Constructed Mennonite

A Children’s Writer Who Has Found the Magic Formula


Categories: Books, Literature, Museums, St. Boniface | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Learning To Print

What Next?

martha street studio winnipegHow does printmaking work? Last week  I had the pleasure of attending a  workshop at the Martha Street Studio right near my home.
martha street studio winnipegLisa, one of the instructors at Martha Street, also works at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Along with the rest of the guides in the WAG’s schools’ program I got a chance to see first hand how art prints are made and also try my hand at printmaking.

martha street print studioLisa showed us the steps in the screen printing process. She had a portfolio of samples that illustrated all the different ways print making is used to design a whole variety of items. 

artist shows prints at martha street studioLisa showed us some of her own amazing print work,

printing at martha streetand then let us each try our hand at making a print of our own. 

lion printI was pretty pleased with my final product. 

A few days later due to a scheduling change I ended up leading a…

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Categories: Art, Downtown, Winnipeg Art Gallery | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A Blast From the Past

juke boxes windmill restaurantIt might be the juke boxes, the formica tables or the red vinyl leather booth seats …windmill restaurantIt might be the bar stools or old fashioned milk shake machine…

windmilll restaurantBut step into the friendly atmosphere at the Windmill Restaurant at 518 Selkirk Avenue and you’ll think you’re back in the 1950’s. windmill menuThe menu is basic and economical. I’ve heard the perogies are to die for but I opted for food windmill restaurant selkirk a hearty homemade soup and toasted tomato sandwich. mexican hatThe decor is kitschy- a display of Mexican somberoes

windmill restaurantA hand carved welcome plaquedecor windmil restaurant

and this fellow guarding the salad menu.selkirk long agoA mural painted on the side of the restaurant gives us a glimpse of a street car and Selkirk Avenue’s glory days in the 1930s -1950sred river wagon mural selkirk avenueand another mural takes us back even further to the late 1800s and ox cart days. 

windmill restaurantScenes from the movies Capote and Shall We Dance were filmed in the Windmill. How’s that for a a claim to fame? If you want to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener wander on over to the Windmill Restaurant and get a blast from the past.

Other posts about restaurants and movies made in Winnipeg….

Finding the Best Won Ton Mein in Winnipeg

Devour the District

We’re Living in the Middle of a Movie Set

Lights Camera Action



Categories: North End, Restaurants | Tags: , | 1 Comment

I Went To Jail

Vaughn Street Jail WinnipegOn Saturday I got a look inside the Vaughn Street Jail on a tour that was part of Winnipeg’s annual Doors Open event. The jail housed its first inmates in 1881.earle nelson gorilla killerAs we waited for our turn to enter the building an actor playing the role of serial killer Earle Nelson told us his shocking and violent life story.  Nelson was hung at the Vaughn Street Jail in 1928.margaret scott winnipeg social worker

We were greeted at the front door by  Margaret Scott a social reformer who dedicated forty-five years of her life to helping the poor and marginalized people of Winnipeg, including nursing sick and dying female inmates of the Vaughn Street Jail. cora hindAt the first stop on our tour journalist Cora Hind told us that women, children and men were all housed together at Vaughn Street in the early years. Abuse and assault were everyday occurrences for the women and children incarcerated there.  Nurses Amelia and Lillian Yeomans who served the people in jail in the last years of the 1800s  invited Cora to visit and she wrote a newspaper story about the deplorable conditions in the prison. child prisoners vaughn street jailCora invited a couple of the children in the audience to try their hand at potato peeling and laundry two of the tasks assigned the kids in the Vaughn Street Jail. thomas dalyManitoba was the first province to implement the Juvenile Delinquents Act passed in 1908 and Thomas Daly the first Juvenile Court Judge in the province told us all about it. prostitute winnipeg early 1900s“I don’t bite unless you want me to and then it’s two dollars,” said the young actress portraying a Winnipeg prostitute who worked for Winnipeg’s notorious Madame Minnie at the turn of the century. Prostitutes seldom spent much time in the Vaughn Street Jail as long as they confined their trade to the special Point Douglas area of the city set aside for brothels. At one time some 250 women did business in 50 brothels in the Red Light District near the CPR railway station.

lunatic level of the Vaughn Street JailSince there was little understanding of mental illness at the turn of the century, people who suffered from it were called lunatics and housed in the basement of the Vaughn Street Jail.  Guards taunted them by shackling them to the floor and placing bread crumbs around their faces and hands to entice the rats to nibble on the lunatics’ skin.  The actress playing a lunatic said the unfortunate people’s screams could be heard throughout the prison as the rats attacked. solitary confinement cell vaughn street jailWe walked by the solitary confinement cells in the basement where those who broke the prison rules were housed in darkness for one or two days without a sleeping cot or toilet. Wrist and leg irons attached them to the wall.executioner arthur englishExecutioner Arthur English was hired to carry out some of the hangings that happened in the courtyard of the Vaughn Street Jail.  The first man he executed was John Krafchenko who stole $4000 from the bank in Plum Coulee, Manitoba and killed the bank manager there. vaughn street jailThe Vaughn Street Jail is 133 years old and a group incorporated in 2004 is attempting to have it designated a provincial heritage destination.  The interesting and informative presentation they gave visitors during the Doors Open event is sure to help them in that quest.

Past Doors Open visits……

A Roof With A View

Haunted by Ghosts

Ancient Objects


Categories: Annual Events, Buildings, Downtown, History | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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