May 31, 2010

David Perrett's City.Block.Stop for the U of W

Everyone is welcome to the official opening of City.Block.Stop, a new artist-designed transit shelter and sculpture on Wednesday, June 2 at 4:30 p.m. at the new transit stop on Ellice Avenue between Spence and Isabel Streets.

Conceived as a gateway to the campus, Winnipeg artist David Perrett worked closely with the University of Winnipeg community and with Winnipeg Transit.

The shelter features local mortared stone, including sandstone reclaimed from the University of Winnipeg’s historic Wesley Hall, sculptural seating and an ecologically green moss-covered roof accented by laser cut screens. The related Tyndall stone sculpture is inspired by the geography of the city, carved to represent the Red, Assiniboine and Seine Rivers and the surrounding topography.

“The shelter design was created borrowing elements from both nature and Winnipeg architecture. With four open sides, the shelter gives an inviting atmosphere and takes advantage of the ample direct and indirect sunlight at the site. The carving on the sculpture is an adaptation of the cityscape that shows the rivers seemingly rejoining each other as they wrap around the six-sided cube,” said artist David Perrett.

City.Block.Stop was created through the Public Art Program of the Winnipeg Arts Council.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 30, 2010

The West End Takes Back the Streets - Winnipeg & Crime, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

On Tuesday, June 1, Winnipeggers living in the West End are going on a public march against violence.

The march will start at 6:00 p.m. at the Maryland Tot Lot, next to the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, and will proceed down Agnes, Toronto and Victor streets.

About 65 people had gathered at the West End Cultural Centre on Friday afternoon. The meeting was held in response to the rape of the 6 year old girl and the shooting of 4 children. One child has died. The shootings had happened on Toronto and Victor.

"These are extreme events and folks are worried about their safety," said Kate Sjoberg, Spence Neighbourhood Association executive director.

"We've been pushing for increased programming and increased programming hours at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, and throughout the community for some time, and we haven't been able to get increased city support for this work."

Public health nurses, local school staff and police officers were also present at the meeting.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 28, 2010

Thrice Trashed - Winnipeg & Garbage & Crime, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

Things are calming down, garbage-wise. Crime-wise is a whole other matter.

The violence in the West End is on everybody's mind. A quick recap: on Sunday night a 6 year old girl was raped on Langside Street. She'd been playing with her brothers in a park when a 34 year old man who has a record approached her. Then on Tuesday on Toronto Street a 16 year old was killed and a 13 year old was shot in the leg. On Wednesday an 8 year old girl and a 10 year old girl were shot through the window of their home on Victor Street, a few blocks from Langside, by a 14 year old. That's 4 kids shot in 48 hours.

For 4 days garbage was in the air in northwest Winnipeg. I don't know... maybe Sam and his buddies had gotten a deal on gas for garbage trucks. Something had made them decide to lump 3 big garbage occasions here for our waste removing pleasure.

First there was Giveaway Weekend. This caused a few hassles because folks had deliveries from places like Home Depot. Stacks of concrete blocks were on the walkways. They were too heavy to move. Signs were plastered on them saying "Don't touch" and kids were assigned to guard them. Fun, eh?

On Monday we had our regular garbage pickup. The next day we had the special, 'we're being so helpful' yard waste pickup. That was a joke. The truck just whizzed through. Nobody had the time to hunt down the special bags that were required.

That was nothing compared to what was going on just a little ways from us.

The Mayor says it's up to the Federal Government to look into the Criminal Code. Young people know how to play the game. Younger kids are recruited by gangs since they know the system just slaps them on the wrist.

What excuse does the Mayor have for that 34 year old?

Premiere Selinger says his methods are effective. He also said the province will work with the city to provide after school options. No details on when or how.

The provincial conservatives blame Selinger. They want officers focusing on gangs. The police say it's intergenerational. Kids are growing up in a 'culture of crime'. What the hell does that mean? It's a culture, like being Swedish? They should put on a show during Folklorama?

The police seize guns every week. But, in the growing criminal and drug 'culture', there are just more guns on the street than ever. Since January they've taken 400 guns off the street. The police are not planning on doing another Clean Sweep. They've added 13 officers to Winnipeg streets and they're looking forward to getting a helicopter in the Fall.

Youth mentoring programs have helped. Rossbrook House is an example of what can be done to get kids off the streets. The aboriginal community wants youth programming, but the funding keeps getting cut. Apparently the government thinks it's more cost effective to hunt down and arrest kids after they've killed somebody.

A former gang member wants people to stop dwelling on what happened in the past and to start taking responsibility for their kids now.

People want more police presence, something for kids to do and for Parliament to get tough on crime.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

Doors Open Winnipeg 2010

Calling all history and architecture lovers!

Enjoy walking tours and more during this free weekend event and explore some of our city’s most fascinating buildings during Doors Open Winnipeg 2010.

If you want to learn more about your city the doors will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on May 29 and 30.

Visit or call 942-2663.

Doors Open has attracted more than 175,000 site visits since first being held in 2004. The opportunity to become acquainted with the city’s architectural legacies has been a fantastic attraction and response has been overwhelmingly positive.

In addition to introducing the public to Winnipeg’s architecture, history and culture, Doors Open has also brought an influx of visitors to the downtown.

Doors Open originated in France in the 1980s, with the number of participating countries increasing to 47 and the number of visitors reaching the 20 million mark in 2000.

Doors Open came to Canada when Toronto began an annual event in 2000, attracting 76,000 visitors to over 90 buildings. Since then events have been held in Ottawa, Calgary, St. John's, and Brandon. The Ontario Heritage Foundation has helped 27 communities establish their own events. New York City, Sydney, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have recently launched their own Doors Open programs.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 27, 2010

Theatre by the River's Wine & Words

Theatre by the River is presenting a night of first tastes - wines you've never sipped and words you've never heard. With brand new writings from some of Canada's most celebrated authors, submissions from local emerging talent and a few delicious reds and whites, get set for a night of discovery.

Wine & Words will take place on Saturday, May 29, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., at Red River College - Princess Street Campus.
The bar opens at 6:00 p.m.
Readings begin at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets $10 at Artspace Ticket Centre, 100 Arthur Street
Call 947-9024

Featured Author List includes
Doug Spiers - Humour Columnist, Winnipeg Free Press
Joff Schmidt - Theatre Critic, CBC Information Radio
Richard Cloutier - Host, CJOB

Sponsored by:

Arbeiter Ring Publishing, Assiniboine Credit Union, Absurd Machine Studios, Keneston Wine Market and Stephen & Andrews Food and Wine Shoppe

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 24, 2010

Aqua Books' Speaking Crow: Lori Cayer

Aqua Books is pleased to be the permanent home of the poetry series Speaking Crow. Aqua Books is located at 274 Garry Street (between Graham and Portage).

On Tuesday, June 1 Speaking Crow starts at 7:00 p.m. There'll be 2 open-mic sets with short breaks in between until 9:00 p.m.

Come take up the mic and wax poetic about life, the universe and oh, just, everything!

This week's guest poet is Lori Cayer.

Lori's first poetry collection, Stealing Mercury won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book in Manitoba in 2004. Her second volume of poetry, Attenuations of Force, is a finalist in the Dektet Series.

In 2005 Lori won the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer.
She serves as co-editor of English poetry for CV2 and is co-founder of the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry/Prix Lansdowne de poésie, part of the Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards.
Lori works by day as an editorial assistant for a scientific research journal.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 21, 2010

Aqua Books: Sheldon Oberman Emerging Writers' Readings

The Manitoba Writers' Guild is presenting their 2010 Sheldon Oberman Emerging Writers' Mentor Program Readings.

The readings will take place on Tuesday, May 25, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Aqua Books, 274 Garry Street (between Graham and Portage).

Duncan Thornton will mentor Donna Chubaty to develop a children's novel.
Sarah Klassen will mentor Hedy Heppenstall in fiction.
Meira Cook will mentor Alex Merrill who is working on a novel.
Sally Ito will mentor Fisher Lavell on Fisher's first novel Roaring River Woman.
Catherine Hunter will mentor Mickey Cuthbert in fiction.

The Mentor Program was named for Sheldon Oberman in 2004. Oberman was a founding Guild member and participated in the very first mentor program as an apprentice, working with David Arnason. Oberman became one of the program’s longest serving mentors.

Oberman was one of Canada’s most popular children’s author, winning several awards, including the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award for By the Hanukkah Light in 1997 and The Wisdom Bird in 2001.
The Shaman’s Nephew was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 2000 and The Always Prayer Shawl won the Sydney Taylor American Librarians Award and the National Jewish Book Award in 1994.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 20, 2010

Stephen Furmaniuk's The Sound of Your Eyes Closing

Stephen Furmaniuk digs deep into his Icelandic roots for Der Geist Theatre’s Interlake thriller The Sound of Your Eyes Closing, an eerie, shocking and poetic mystery about madness, fear and the darkness hidden within families and ourselves.

His play explores one family’s secret past in the Icelandic settlement of the Manitoba Interlake nearly 120 years ago.

The Sound of Your Eyes Closing is also directed by Stephen Furmaniuk and stage managed by Ali Robson.
It stars Brenda McLean as Rannveig, Alison Vargo as Signe and Chris Sabel as Pall.

Performances will be held
May 20 at 8:00 p.m. and May 21 at 10:00 p.m. at Studio 320, 70 Albert St., Winnipeg
May 23 at 3:00 p.m. at the Aspire Theatre, 76 Second Ave, Gimli

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.
Reservations are recommended.
Call 786-1383 or e-mail

This is the company’s second production after Rabies which recently toured Copenhagen, Denmark.
Co-presented by núna (Now) Icelandic Canadian art convergence.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 19, 2010

Lisa Martens' Some Light Undergroun'

A reading of Some Light Undergroun' will be part of the Carol Shields Festival of New Works. It will be followed by a talkback with the playwright, Lisa Martens.

It will take place at the Colin Jackson Studio Theatre, 3rd Floor, Portage Place and will run from 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, May 21. There will be an intermission.

Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
Rush seating is in effect.

Some Light Undergroun' is about life after the 2120’s Oil and Water Wars. Rayann’s surrogate family live in a fortified basement in Winnipeg’s North End. Surviving under the government’s radar, these urban insurgents struggle through the details of love, friendship and discipline.

Playwright Lisa Martens was a member of a peace team for 4 years. She now works with recent newcomers to Canada. Martens wrote Some Light Undergroun' to explore themes of peace, violence and community living, and to imagine a possible version of Winnipeg after "peak oil".

Featuring: Rose Condo, Jeremy Bowkett, Nan Fewchuck, Kendra Jones, Tony Hart, Ivan Henwood, Lisa Martin, Ken Rudderham, Joan Suzuki and Claire Therese.

Aikidoka: Jon Hay, Jamie Ducasin, Lisa Martens
Direction by Brenda McLean & Christopher Sobczak

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 10, 2010

The Winnipeg Humane Society and Your Will

Stumped about how to plan your will? 
You're not alone.

Christine Boult, Director of Development of The Winnipeg Humane Society, is inviting you to a Planned Giving Seminar at WHS. It will be held on May 13, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. at The Winnipeg Humane Society, 45 Hurst Way.

It is free, but pre-registration is required.
Space is limited, so please register early.

Call Christine Boult, 204-982-2029
or email:
Light refreshments and WHS building tours will be available.

The WHS’s Planned Giving Advisory Council's seminar will help you learn how to update your will, choose an executor, and how to indicate health care directives, charitable giving avenues, and legal and burial considerations. 

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 7, 2010

One Lousy Foot - Winnipeg & Garbage, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

Our neighborhood is that modern mess of bays and coves, designed to discourage people from racing through. They also confuse anyone trying to find an address. In these rabbit warrens there are quite a few corner lots.

The City of Winnipeg takes care of boulevards if they are 18 feet deep. Fully aware of this loophole, the planners made damn sure we had 17 foot boulevards. So it's up to the saps who live on corner lots to take care of public property at no cost to other taxpayers. There aren't sidewalks so it's just grass.

Okay, let's look at the numbers:
A corner lot measures 100 feet by 35 feet. That's the little corner of heaven that was bought. That's what gets taxed.

Then there's the boulevard. Along the length there's an extra bit of grass, 17 feet by 117 feet. Let's not forget the frontage - another 17 feet by 35 feet. Let's not think about the extra watering, fertilizing, etc.

In the spirit of 'Take Pride, Winnipeg' everybody does his bit.

We had an early spring. Most of the thatch was raked by April 4. Folks were working off the Easter dinner. It was a nice day and Winnipeggers love to get a jump on spring activities. A composter can only hold so much. That thatch filled a lot of bags.

City Hall thought they were being so helpful when they 'gave' citizens 4 yard waste collection days a year.

What the hell are we supposed to do with the boulevard clippings in June, July and August?

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 6, 2010

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble - Winnipeg & Garbage, 2010 (by Margaret Ullrich)

This week we had 2 garbage pickups.

On Monday there were our usual visits by the garbage and recycling fellows. That seems to be falling into place. They are now picking up garbage from both sides of the back lanes. Our neighbors appreciate not being walled in by our trash. Neighborliness only goes so far. Then, on Tuesday, we had our first of the "Biweekly Spring and Fall Yard Waste Collection".

I am unimpressed by the new and improved system.

Contrary to their opinion of themselves, our city officials aren't that powerful. They can't control the weather or when people do house chores.

First the yard-waste disposal programs were not running the first week of April, when people had bags of yard waste. On top of that the St. James Civic Centre was permanently closed as a drop-off site, now that we're stuck with rolling garbage bins. Then the city officials decided the curbside yard-waste collection would be on May 4 and 18. Then there was the threat of a garbage strike.

What's a homeowner to do?

Rotting leaves and thatch stinks. Garbage bags don't add to the decor. Folks did not want to be left holding the bags, so they got rid of them as best and as soon as they could.

I walked around the neighborhood early on May 4. I saw a few regular plastic garbage bags - which wouldn't get picked up - and 6 of the approved paper yard waste bags. They were bought at Costco. You have to be a member to shop there. Regular stores don't have the damn bags. The CBC went looking for them.

It was not worth the trip for the Yard Waste Collection trucks.

And they are coming back on May 18.

What the hell for?

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 5, 2010

Aqua Books: A Railway Anthology

In the mood for some railway tales? Come to Aqua Books, located at 274 Garry Street (Between Portage & Graham) on Tuesday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Through the Window of a Train: A Railway Anthology collects stories from thirty Canadian authors (including the late Sheldon Oberman). These stories retell the significance of the railway - or a single journey taken - in the lives of ordinary Canadians.

Dotted with junction and siding names, engine numbers, and routes, this book is a must for the rail enthusiast.

Editor Barbara Lange grew up in a railway-flavoured world in England. Her father, Richard Hurrell, worked for the London North Eastern Railway. As an adult Barbara travelled daily from her home in Brentwood by diesel-electric train and Tube to reach her office in London.

She immigrated to Canada in 1978 and didn't set foot on a train for years. Since then she has travelled on VIA's The Canadian between Vancouver and Toronto, on The Ocean to Halifax, and to Churchill on The Hudson Bay Line. Barbara lives in Winnipeg with her husband, Larry (Smiley) Lange, a retired CNR carman from Transcona.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 4, 2010

Steam on the Prairies

Love trains? Looking for a train staycation this year? Have we got a deal for you. If you want to see steam, steam and more steam, then come to Winnipeg for Steam on the Prairies.

The Thousand Lakes Region's 2010 convention will be held in Winnipeg on the Memorial Day weekend, from May 28 to May 30.

On Friday there'll be a chartered bus excursion to Portage la Prairie, which has been rated by Trains magazine as one of North America's 10 best railfanning locations. The tour will be guided by Morgan Turney, Editor and Publisher of Canadian Railway Modeler and Railfan Canada. The CN and CP mainlines come within a few hundred feet of each other at the Portage yards, so be sure to bring your camera and extra memory cards. We'll also visit the former CP railway station at the CP Heritage Park Museum.

As a non-rail option on Friday, there's a guided tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park, a beautifully restored 1830 Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post on the banks of the Red River. It is the oldest stone fur trading post in North America.

On Friday night we'll feast at Bill Taylor's The Assiniboine Valley Railway. After a delicious meal, we'll enjoy riding the AVR's 1:8 scale trains well past sunset. The AVR has no less than 3 live steam engines in its roster of locomotives.

On Saturday morning we'll have clinics. Our special guest, Ken Goslett, Contributing Editor of Railroad Model Craftsman, will be presenting a clinic on Forty-Five Years of Change, Canadian Railways since the end of steam.

After the clinics, we'll head to the Prairie Dog Central Railway. We'll tour their shops and hold a swap meet, so be sure to bring your want lists and all of your model railroading goodies that you want to sell.

Then we'll ride the rails in vintage woodsided cars behind their recently restored 1882 4-4-0 steam locomotive to the towns of Gross Isle and Warren. The Prairie Dog will then take us to the Hitch 'N Post Restaurant for our annual banquet.

On Sunday morning we'll hold our annual general meeting. The afternoon and evening will be free for layout hops.

The convention will be headquartered at the suburban campus of Winnipeg's Canadian Mennonite University. Their dorm rooms are available for far less than half the price of an average hotel room. Double occupancy prices start at less than thirty dollars. A limited number of larger suites with kitchenettes are also available. If you wish to book a room on campus, the registration form has all of the contact information listed, including an e-mail address, a fax number and a toll-free number. If guests wish to purchase reasonably priced meals, the campus cafeteria will be open.

The CN Lines SIG, the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and the CP Station Committee of Portage La Prairie will also be attending the convention.

You can find the registration form by going to the National Model Railroad Association's web site, then following the links to TLR (1000 Lakes Region), then to Conventions.

The basic registration includes the Friday night barbecue held at the Assiniboine Valley Railway, all clinics, the excursion on the Prairie Dog Central, the banquet at the Hitch 'N Post, and the Sunday layout hops. It does not include the extra fare trip to Portage la Prairie or the non-rail tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park.

If you are not a NMRA member, no problem. You can buy a 6 month trial membership for $10.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

May 3, 2010

Prairie Fire's Speaking Volumes

Prairie Fire Press invites you to join them as they celebrate 31 years of publishing with a special event called Speaking Volumes.

The festivities are on Saturday, May 15, at 6:00 p.m., at Fort Gibraltar, 866 rue St. Joseph in St. Boniface. There'll be Rainbow and Silent Auction prizes, including the work of renowned artist Aganetha Dyck.

Tickets, available through McNally Robinson Booksellers, Aqua Books and Prairie Fire Press, are $65 (a tax receipt will be issued for a portion of the price).

This benefit supports Prairie Fire's student practicum program through which they hire students for hands-on internships.

The evening starts with cocktails and voyageur-style hatchet throwing. Dinner will be followed by readings by special guests, Michael Van Rooy and Joan Thomas.

Michael Van Rooy's first novel, An Ordinary Decent Criminal, won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba Writer. His second novel, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Criminal, was published in 2008. In 2009 Michael won the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. A third book, A Criminal to Remember, will be published this spring.

Joan Thomas began her literary career as a book reviewer. In 1999, she and Heidi Harms edited Turn of the Story, an anthology of Canadian short fiction. Joan's first novel, Reading by Lightning, was published in 2008. It won the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Caribbean and the First Novel  Award. Her second novel, Curiosity, has just been released.

Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!