St. James

A Literary Walk

winnipeg westwood library walkKeats Way? Browning Boulevard? Shakespeare Bay?  Who knew streets in Winnipeg had such literary names? I found out on September 27th when my sister and I joined a group of about twenty other people to walk the streets of west end Winnipeg and listen to some great literature performed by a talented woman named Tauni. westwood literary walk library winnipeg

It was a beautiful autumn day. At each of our stops on the literary walk a member of the library staff introduced us to the author or poet being featured………..tauni peforms literary walk winnipeg

And then Tauni read work by that writer in her dramatic and interesting voice.keats way westwood winnipeg

At our Keats Way stop we heard A Thing Of Beauty is A Joy Forever and learned about Keats’ sad love affair with Fanny Brice. More than a few eyes were teary after that performance. twain drive

At Twain Drive we were treated to Mark Twain’s funny and thought-provoking fable of the learned cat and the mirror. dickens drive winnipeg

We walked over next to Dickens Drive……

tauni literary walk westwood library winnipegwhere we heard a humorous excerpt from Chapter 8 of Pickwick Papers titled STRONGLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE POSITION, THAT THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE IS NOT A RAILWAY

shakespeare bay westwood wiinnipeg Tauni outdid herself at Shakespeare Bay acting out a scene from A Mid Summer Night’s Dream tauni performs mid summer nights dream and taking on the roles of all four of the lovers.browning boulevard winnipeg

Tauni told us at Browning Boulevard she had planned to read How Do I Love Thee but it just made her too emotional so she had to settle for Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s  Sonnet 14  If Thou Must Love Me. 

We moved on to  Frost Avenue where Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken was the perfect poem for a walking tour. 

Leacock Avenue winnipegWe ended the tour laughing at Leacock Avenue where the murder mystery Hanged By A Hair had us all chuckling. 

poetry  reading westwoodI  enjoyed the literary tour. It was a lovely day. I got to visit with my sister. I had a chance to listen to some great poetry and literature read professionally. I had some exercise as we walked from place to place. 

westwood_library_01Later they served us tea and dainties back at the library and talked about another tour in spring. As I drove home I saw Sandburg Bay, Wordsworth Way, Shelley Street, Thackery Avenue, Robert Service Bay, Caryle Bay and Carroll Road. Plenty of literary material in the neighborhood for another walk. 

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The Millennium Library

Carol Shields

Manitoba Writers Guild

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

The Paddock Restaurant

My post today is about a Winnipeg place that is no longer around. Pink hot pants and good tips. That’s what I remember about the summer I worked at the Paddock Restaurant. In a 1950’s Guide to Winnipeg there is an ad for the Paddock. I remember the Paddock well because I worked there as a waitress during my university days.
The Paddock was located right across the street from the Polo Park shopping mall where the Olive Garden restaurant is today. Before Polo Park was a shopping mall it served as a site for horse racing. Completed in 1925, Polo Park was a six-furlong track built by the Winnipeg Jockey Club. The Paddock Restaurant catered to horse racing fans. 
By the time I worked there in the early 1970’s Polo Park had become a shopping mall and horse racing had moved further out of the city to Assiniboia Downs.  

The Paddock’s coffee shop however remained a popular hang out for racing fans. They’d come in for breakfast and slip into one of the booths underneath the large bay windows that looked out onto busy Portage Avenue. Over endless cups of coffee and breakfast specials the racing fans would share information about the day’s races and which horses looked promising. Once they had visited the track they’d drop back in for dessert or a late bite and discuss their wins and losses. If the gentlemen had a good day at the betting window it usually meant I’d get a bigger tip. These fellows also liked to engage in a little good-natured flirtation with the waitresses. I was already married and found by fingering my wedding ring as I took their order and deliberately ignoring their advances I could usually discourage most of them. 

Hot pants were the rage in the early seventies and they were our uniform at The Paddock. The serving personnel were exclusively female. Those of us who worked in the coffee shop were all younger and we wore pink shorts with pink short-sleeved tops. The Paddock also had a dining room that served families. The menu was more extensive than in the coffee shop and the waitresses there were all older women. Several had been working at The Paddock for over twenty years. These women wore blue uniforms. Their hot pants were just a little longer than our pink ones. The dining room had a large mural on the wall and subdued lighting, creating an ambience quite different from the one in the sunny coffee shop.

The Paddock kept a treasure-chest by the front till. Children who ate with their parents in the dining room and behaved themselves were allowed to pick a ‘treat’ from the chest as they left the restaurant. The prizes were plastic jewellery, small metal cars and perhaps a miniature colouring book with crayons. It was a big deal for kids to be allowed to pick a prize from the treasure chest. Parents could threaten them with a withdrawal of that privilege and kids would quickly quiet down and eat. I wonder if that kind of bribery would still work today?

When I left The Paddock at the end of August in 1974, it was much to the dismay of the head waitress, a large, very tall woman with long jet-black hair she wore pinned up with an Oriental comb. She managed The Paddock waitresses with a firm and experienced hand. She trained us well and hated to have to break in a new server, but I had signed the contract for my first teaching position at Lincoln School and no longer needed my waitressing job. 

 I wonder if I’d still fit into those pink hot pants?

Categories: Restaurants, St. James | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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