Parks

The T4s Welcome Spring

What Next?

t-4 assiniboine park pondIt had been almost three months since the group of friends I meet with regularly had been together.  I was in Arizona and others had also traveled and been busy with work, planning weddings and all kinds of other interesting things. Luckily we had to wait for a table at the restaurant in Assiniboine Park so we could ….leo mol sculpture garden go for a walk through the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden catching upand we had time to sit on the sunny patio near the duck pond and catch up on our lives in the warm sunshine.  waitress at Qualico Centre assiniboine parkOnce in the restaurant we met our waitress Lorraine who was just a hoot!  She convinced us all to order her special very spicy Caesars. Very spicy is how I’d describe Lorraine too, full of fun and adventure, happy and life affirming. “I could just tell this group was special,” she said as she related details…

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A Quick Visit to Assiniboine Park

What Next?

walking assiniboine parkOn Friday morning our out-of-town guests had a few hours free so I offered to take them on a meander through Winnipeg’s signature park -The  Assiniboine Park.trolley car assiniboine parkI had no idea the park had started a trolley service- but what a great idea.trolley bus assiniboine parkWe were able to take a double-decker bus all the way from the front gate to the English Gardens.anil in gardenMost of the  flowers in the English Garden aren’t in full bloom yet but we did seepoppies assiniboine park

some lovely poppies.mosesWe visited the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.  Mol is Winnipeg’s most famous sculptor. Here Beena and I pose with Mol’s depiction of Moses. bison topiary gardenIn the Topiary Garden we saw a bison made out of dried grasses andfrog musiciansa whole series of frog musicians fashioned out of plants and flowers. winnie hte pooh statue assiniboine parkMy friend Meena was especially interested in this statue telling the story of Winnie the Pooh who was…

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On a Carousel

carousel by BGL Cool Beach WinnipegYes. That’s my husband Dave riding on a carousel whose seat is made from an old shopping cart.  It’s actually a piece of cutting edge public art that’s part of the Cool Gardens installation being featured in  Winnipeg this summer. 

north face exchange district richardson buildingOne Saturday morning our friends Fran and Marge drove into the city to have breakfast with us. Before we tucked into our omelets at the Free Press Cafe we decided we needed some exercise so we went for a ninety minute walk to check out all the great public art in our neighborhood. 

carousel by BGL St. Boniface GardenAt the St. Boniface Sculpture Garden which I’ve visited often in the past, I noticed there were several new pieces of art including Carousel made from recycled crowd barriers, metal fences and grocery carts attached to an old light post. riding the carousel st. boniface sculpture garden cool gardens

The guys hopped right on to try out the interactive piece of art and pushed themselves around the carousel. Because we were on a long walk Dave still brought his cane but he didn’t need it on the carousel. carousel metal sculpture

The sculpture was designed by Jasmin Bilodeau, Sebastian Giguere and Nicolas Laverdiere known collectively as BGL from Quebec City.  Apparently at times acrobats perform in and around the carousel as an interactive feature of the art piece. 

One of the reasons I love living in this area of the city is that there is always some new public art work to see. 

Check out these other posts about garden art………..

Art in the Garden

Between Dog and Wolf

What is It?

La Promise

Volte

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Victoria Beach- A Checkered Past

victoria beach signI visited Victoria Beach for the first time this summer.  I knew it had been a popular summer cottage site for thousands of Winnipeg residents since the turn of the century, but during my visit and after doing some subsequent research, I discovered lots more.victoria beach pierEven though I’ve lived in Manitoba almost all my life I’d never been to this Lake Winnipeg peninsula at the end of Highway 59. In winter its home to some 450 people but in summer more than 16,000 cottagers and tourists live there. walking at victoria beachYou can’t drive your car into Victoria Beach. You have to walk, bike or take a beach taxi. cottage at victoria beach

The first summer visitors began coming in the early 1900’s and arrived on a boat called Pilgrim. Once the railroad line was completed and trains started running to Victoria Beach in 1916 the population expanded. club house victoria beach manitoba

A community club was organized in 1921 and in 1925 this clubhouse was built which is still being used today. As a member of the club you can take part in all kinds of community organized events, golf tournaments on the course built in 1923, tennis competitions on the courts built in 1924, regattas and races. The club house was the site for weekend dances, socials and movie nights. victoria beach library

VIctoria Beach even has its own library and grocery store. victoria beach herald newspaper

The Victoria Beach Herald newspaper has been publishing every summer for the last 83 years.  In 1943 it became the center of a controversy when a Jewish family bought a cottage at Victoria Beach. The paper published an editorial which said………”You have an obligation to your neighbours at Victoria Beach to see to it that these unwanted people…….are not permitted to buy or rent here.”  A counter editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press criticized the antisemitism being practiced at Victoria Beach calling it “sanctimonious and  cowardly.”

The Victoria Beach paper is available online now on the Victoria Beach website. moonlight inn victoria beachThe Moonlight Inn is famous for its ice-cream and that’s what we decided to order when we visited the spot about halfway through our walk around Victoria Beach. We did briefly consider the daily special below but we’d had a late breakfast and it seemed a bit too hearty. daily special moonlight inn victoria beach

einfeld's bakery victoria beach

Perhaps the most popular business at Victoria Beach is Einfeld’s Bakery which opened in the 1930’s and is still being run by the same family. In a column in the Winnipeg Free Press Margo Goodhand writes about her childhood memories of buying delicious baking there. pier at victoria beach

We walked down to the pier where swimmers might have populated the water on a nicer day, but it was cold and windy. parasailing victoria beach

The para sailors were having a great time though. victoria beach windy day

Victoria Beach is a beautiful and historic place and has been a popular summer destination for thousands of Winnipeg residents for over a century. I’m glad I finally got to see it. 

Other lakeside  posts……..

A Walk At Hillside Beach

Walk At Louise Lake

The Wave- Art in the Interlake

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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. 

If you like this post you might also want to read…….

23,200 Bras

Fringing Times Four

Fringe Festival- Second and Third Play

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Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

When our friend Rebekah was here spending a few days with us we took her to the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Assiniboine Park. The garden is filled with beautiful flowers.  It was awash with bright pinks, purples, reds and yellows on our visit. Can you see Dave and Rebekah hiding in the flowers in the picture below?I’m sure in fall and spring the garden will feature a different but equally stunning color scheme with the flowers that are in bloom at that time. Here Dave is showing Rebekah had to snap open the mouth of a snapdragon. 

The name snapdragon comes from the flowers’ response to having their “throats” squeezed, which makes the “mouth” of the blossom snap open like a dragon’s mouth.

Leo Mol who died in 2009 is probably Winnipeg’s most famous and prolific artist. You can find his sculptures all over the world. His likenesses of three different popes are in the Vatican and he sculpted American presidents Dwight Eishenhower and John F. Kennedy as well as British prime minister Winston Churchill. Despite his international fame, Leo Mol remained determinedly loyal to his adopted home in Winnipeg where he found a safe haven after leaving Ukraine in the 1940’s. 

The Leo Mol sculpture garden has more than 300 of Leo Mol’s works many of them donated by the artist.  There are two buildings on site– one a gallery featuring some of his smaller art pieces and the other the old school-house which once served as Mol’s workshop. Leo Mol sculpted such a variety of subjects. 

Biblical figures like MosesMythical figures like Europa and the bull

Fellow Canadian artists like A.Y. Jackson, member of the famous Group of Seven

Sculptures influenced by his Ukrainian heritage like The Blind Bandurist

Likenesses of famous Canadians like William Stephenson–the spy called IntrepidSculptures of ordinary Canadians like this Family GroupWorld famous figures like Queen Elizabeth

I especially enjoyed watching the National Film Board movie Leo Mol In Light and Shadow being shown in his school-house studio. It tells the story of how Leo was reunited with his sister after not being able to communicate with his family back in Ukraine for over fifty years. I learned that besides creating sculptures Leo also designed and made stained glass windows. 

The Leo Mol Sculpture garden is a serene and rejuvenating kind of place. There are huge shady trees to cool you, the scent of thousands of flowers, the sound of water running into the lily pond and plenty of excellent art to look at and think about. 

Rebekah took this picture of Dave and me enjoying the day in the Leo Mol Garden. 

You might want to check out these other posts I have done about Leo Mol sculptures in Winnipeg

Tom Lamb- Mr. North

James Bond is  From Winnipeg

Tree Children

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Winnie the Pooh – A Winnipeg Namesake

Today I took my friend and former Hong Kong teaching colleague Rebekah to visit Assiniboine Park. We stopped to look at this statue of an army officer and a bear cub. The cub was the inspiration for the literary character Winnie the Pooh. I thought everyone knew that Winnie the Pooh had a connection to Winnipeg but Rebekah, who is from Minneapolis wasn’t sure she did; so I decided a blog post about it might be a good idea.

Harry Coleburn was born in England in 1887 and immigrated to Canada at age 18. After graduating as a veterinarian from a Ontario college he moved to Winnipeg. He joined the army during World War I and on his way to a training camp in Quebec he bought a bear cub. The train had made a stop at White River, Ontario and there Harry met a hunter who sold him a female bear cub for $20. The hunter had killed its mother. Harry named the bear Winnie after his adopted home city of Winnipeg. Harry was posted to England and took Winnie with him where she quickly became the mascot of Harry’s regiment, The Fort Garry Horse. Harry was the regiment’s veterinarian. When Harry was sent to France for three years he put Winnie in the London Zoo. 

When author A. A. Milne visited the London Zoo with his son Christopher, the young boy immediately fell in love with Winnie the bear cub and named his teddy bear after Winnie.  That teddy bear would become the main character in a series of stories his father would write about Winnie the Pooh. 

After the war Major Harry Coleburn decided to leave Winnie in the London Zoo and went back to Winnipeg where he practiced veterinary medicine till just a couple of years prior to his death in 1947.

A. A. Milne’s books about Winnie the Pooh became beloved pieces of children’s literature read around the world. Later Walt Disney turned the stories into a movie and television series.  


This statue just outside the Children’s Nature Playground at Assiniboine Park recognizes the connection between Winnipeg and the literary character Winnie the Pooh. A plaque nearby explains the story of Harry Coleburn. His impetuous decision to purchase a bear cub  and name it after Winnipeg had consequences that reached far beyond anything he might have imagined. 

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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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The Park At the End of the Bridge

At the end of the Provencher Bridge here in my downtown Winnipeg neighborhood is the Joseph Royal Park. It has become known as a place where homeless people hang out. In fact there was a brutal beating incident reported in the news  in this park in June of 2010. Today however it was covered in sparkling white snow and the only creatures hanging out there were some birds.

A plaque behind the giant stone arch describes the man the park was named after. 

Joseph Royal was born in Quebec in 1837 one of  eight children of Edouard and Marcelin, a poor, illiterate and devout Catholic couple. Joseph was clever and quick-witted and so a priest, seeing his promise, paid for his schooling at a Jesuit College in Montreal.  

He became a journalist and worked for six different French Canadian newspapers as an editor. He married Agnes Bruyere and they had seven children. He also found time to article with famed lawyer George Cartier and was called to the Quebec bar in 1864. 

While editor of the newspaper Le Nouveau Monde he published more articles and letters than any other Canadian newspaper in favour of Louis Riel, a Metis  who was leading a resistance movement against the Canadian government in Manitoba.

In 1870 his news instincts made him decide to get the real story on what was happening in Manitoba and so he went there on a fact-finding mission. He met Louis Riel and became convinced the cause of Metis land possession was a just one. He felt God was calling him to a special mission in Manitoba and moved there to start a newspaper called Le Metis. He couldn’t afford to move his family from Montreal and he went into huge debt to set up his printing press in Manitoba.

He also practiced law in Manitoba and defended Lepin and Nault– two men associated with Louis Riel who were accused of ordering the execution of Thomas Scott, a member of the anglophone group that opposed Riel and promoted joining Red River to Canada. Later Joseph Royal argued for complete amnesty and a stay of execution for Louis Riel.

Joseph Royal had a distinguished career as a civil servant and politician. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature and served as the Speaker of the House and the Attorney General. He was also elected to the federal House of Commons. He was the first mayor of St. Boniface, the first education Superintendent in Manitoba and was appointed the lieutenant governor of the North West Territories. 

Although I’m sure Joseph Royal would be happy to know Winnipeg has a park named after him, he was hoping for a little more lucrative and honorable recognition. He wanted to be appointed a senator at the end of his political career. But he was not. There were no big pensions for civil servants and politicians in those days, so Joseph had to move back to Montreal and take a newspaper job. He ended his life a poor man financially, living in a boarding house and dying after a lengthy illness in 1902. 

Joseph Royal Park is a scenic resting place. It has a fountain surrounded by benches at its centre. 

The park also contains a statue that pays tribute to St. Boniface writer Gabrielle Roy and a plaque with a quote from one of her novels. 

There are two other historical markers in the park. One describes the Provencher Bridge. The other describes the St. Boniface Woolen Mills which used to be located nearby. 

Across the street from the park is Place Joseph Royal a building of high-end condominiums. We looked at condos in that building before buying ours in the Ashdown Warehouse. They are handsomely appointed and pricey. How ironic that a man who died a pauper in a rooming house now has a ritzy condominium complex named after him. 

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