Thursday, 11 November 2010

10 days to explore Winnipeg & area

WINNIPEG CITY IS DIVIDED INTO DISTINCT PARTS: Winnipeg seems to be a city that needs leadership with vision to move it forward. Manitoba has deep roots in Canadian history. As a 'gateway to the west' it was a thriving city. The people we met were wonderful - friendly & hardworking.
An old area is SELKIRK STREET where pioneer families lived and ran a business ... like Gunn's Bakery, one of the few still operated by the family.
Our interest was that this is where my husband's family settled as immigrants in the 1910-20's.
One anomaly in this area is the HOLY GHOST Roman Catholic Church. It is a beautiful new building in an area of decay.
It's historic members were mostly Polish/Ukrainian.
Some of my husband's family were baptized in this baptismal font:
Many original statues and icons were kept.
These huge bells ring out a call to worship ....
A group of very skillful members made a beautiful series of wall hangings.
Modern glass windows line the hallway, illustrating the Crucifixion.
It is a beautiful church with a high fence around it.

Today the SELKIRK ST. area is run down and violence rules the night. Most houses were 1910-20 and have been neglected for years. Some had broken windows and were boarded up. This is still a community where newcomers to the city try to survive and move to safer and better housing. The buildings show better times in the past.
This one cries out for a philosophy of cooperation, where everyone is looked after.Many of the buildings offer services to the First Nations Peoples and immigrants.

For now, Selkirk St. reflects the community that was.

CITY CENTER: At one time, Winnipeg was one of the financial cities of Canada with manufacturing, head offices, and a center for transportation. The business area is a mixture of beautiful, stately old buildings and new glass towers.New high rises are mixed in with the heritage buildings.
You can no longer stand on the corners of Portage & Main. High walls line the square and steps lead down to connecting walkways for pedestrians.
This is part of an artwork that circles a 'roundabout' for pedestrians underground.There are several excellent statues in the downtown area. Winnipeg also appears to have a wide variety of live theaters. I'm guessing that the arts community is active.The Bank of Montreal is one of the most impressive heritage buildings.The inside is magnificent!Glass towers intermingle.
The Art Gallery of Winnipeg is very minimalist in a time when most cities are building wild architectural wonders! It houses the best Inuit Art in Canada and also brings in shows.The Indian Center is an impressive building, with a flavour of the First Nations designs.

From what I saw, much of the city housing was built in the 20's and late 40's, when economic times were good for Winnipeg. On the edges of the city are modern housing developments and malls. There are also a lot of apartment buildings, both 3 level and high rise - very sturdy rectangular buildings. There is a huge abandoned army base. Winnipeg was once a bustling center ... it now sprawls.

WALL MURALS decorate many buildings, some with historic reminders and some with urgent messages. This one shows a first nations man trying to break through the glass wall.
Other buildings had caricatures. I wonder if we should do this to heritage buildings?
I also found a FABRIC STORE. It was the old fashioned kind with every fabric you can imagine!

ACROSS THE RIVER FROM WINNIPEG IS ST. BONIFACE. It was a lovely town with many historic buildings, including the university.
The church was rebuilt behind the ruins.
The main walls still stand and the bells were rebuilt ... they ring out their message in beautiful clear tones.
There was a monument dedicated to Louis Riel
and at the university a statue. The statue was controversial initially and still causes discussion.

Well worth the visit! It was cold and windy, but sunny.
The first thing you will notice is new construction - it is the site of the new Canadian Museum of Human Rights.
Across the river, are the ruins of the St. Boniface Cathedral. I'm amazed at my little Fugi-film camera and the quality of the zoom photos.
As you walk along the path, there are signs commemorating the people who contributed to the creation of Manitoba.
One amazing instillation is Oodena.
Near the convergence of the two rivers is a natural shallow amphitheatre known as the Oodena Celebration Circle. It pays homage to the 6,000 years of Aboriginal peoples in the area. Oodena, Cree for centre of the city, features ethereal sculptures, a sundial, interpretive signage, a naked eye observatory and a ceremonial fire pit, making it a desirable venue for Aboriginal and cultural celebrations or a place to simply sit and marvel at its beauty.
It honours the indigenous people of the world.
In the center are 7 plaques, each giving the details of celestial bodies and how mankind has interpreted the star groupings.
If you look up, you see a long curved metal piece that raises to the sky, in line with each sign. If you look through the metal eye, you will be able to see the constellation.
If you climb up the sides of Oodena, there are stone monuments. Each tells a ancient story from a different country with an illustration.
This is the sun stone from Mexico.
I would love to come here on a summer night when programs explain the working of this project.
THE WALKWAY ALONG THE RIVER had been partially washed away during floods this year.
THIS IS THE ACTUAL 'FORK' WHERE THE RIVERS JOIN. We were able to walk across an old railroad bridge and look north and south.
So ... we said goodbye to the Forks, as we retraced our steps, the wind was now at our backs.

This area is steeped in history. Twin Oaks was built in the 1850s, a school for the girls of the Red River Settlement and Hudson Bay officers.
St. Andrew's Anglican Church was established in 1828 and this stone church was competed in 1849. It is still operating.
The Rectory was built of local limestone and completed in 1854.
When we throw our wash in the modern washer, we need to think back to what women used to use.
This appears to be used for seeding with disks to cover the seed. It was one horse power.
The Kennedy House was built in the area called the rapids that now has a series of locks to control flooding.
We stopped at Skinners for their famous hot dogs ... alas, the sign is from by-gone days!
An old log home on the river.
The locals say this bridge goes from 'nowhere to nowhere' ... a political gift.
On the other side, we found the historic St. Peter's Church in the area of Selkirk.
Rev.Cockran, an Anglican missionary and Chief Pegius worked together in the early settlement to protect native rights.
These rail lines carried many a young person away and still unites Canada from coast to coast.
This grain elevator is still in use ... most of the old ones have been dismantled.
Part of the visit was to Tony's cousin's snug little cabin on Winnipeg Lake.
We had a tasty dinner at the local restaurant.
Below, the great Ox pulls his Red River Wagon ... both designed for the mud. In truth, it was the Ox who transported the early pioneers and broke the prairie sod.
A dragon made with plants on a wire base still swims in the pond.The flowers were over, seed pods created their own beauty.Little Chickidees will eat sunflower seeds from your hand.This is part of a sculpture commemorating the Chines workers who worked on the building of the CPR Railroad.The Leo Mol Sculpture Garden was build by a Trust and the City of Winnipeg. Scattered throughout the wooded garden are dozens of amazing sculptures.This log would make an excellent place for a bear to sleep the winter away.
Leo Mol's subjects ranged from historic pieces illustrating the work of the people,
and many were of young women ...
This little English Cottage nestles in the English Garden.
Time: First World War ... a young soldier buys a Bear cub and names him Winnie, after Winnipeg. The little bear became a pet of the soldiers in France and was later given to the London Zoo. A.A. Milne and his son Christopher visited the park and so the story began. Sculpture by William Epp.
A LOOK AT ART & THE ART GALLERY: The main show was Wanda Koop ... her work was abstract in very large format. The gallery also has the largest and best collection of Inuit Art in Canada.We were disappointed to see the Hudson's Bay. It looked as if it's last face-lift was in the 1950's. Suffering from lack of business it was being downsized to two floors. The photo below seemed like an art exhibit ... identical women without heads ... waiting to be dressed.
In a small CITY PARK, we discovered a field of bears ... gathered together after their initial showing in the city streets a few years ago.
We also found a Totem by Henry Hunt, a BC First Nations carver.WE VISITED THE MANITOBA LEGISLATURE BUILDINGS ... with the golden Boy on top of the dome.Queen Victoria sits on the front lawn.
The building entrance is very impressive.
Inside ... the architecture is beautiful with a large central area, lit by the dome. A pair of bison are stationed by the staircase.
The legislature seating is round ... theoretically bringing everyone into the discussions.
This window framed elm trees.
A quilt made by first nations quilters adorned the walls of the Minister of Water Stewartship, Honorable Christine Melnick.
Queen Elizabeth gifted Manitoba with a stone ... it will be the cornerstone of the new Museum for Human Rights being built at the Forks.
Winnipeg calls itself the 'CITY OF ELMS' with the claim to be the city with the most elm trees.
The old section of Winnipeg included the industrial heart that was at one time central to Canada, the gateway to the west. It included the TRAIN YARDS, where all trains met.
We had a great time visiting with Tony's cousins. LtoR: me, Agnes, Shryl and Tony.The weather was always windy with clouds and beautiful sunsets.
The FAN retreat was at LAUREATE LANDING, a Catholic school and conference site on the river. The setting sun touched the trees with gold.The grounds were peaceful, beautifully treed.A dike provided pleasant walks.
A little town south of Winnipeg, ST.NORBERT was the site Louis Riel and Monsignor Ritchot used to organize the rebellions. Nov. 1st 1809, the Metis 'barred' the road to the envoys of the Canadian Government on their way to Fort Garry to establish a new government. The intervention of the Metis forced the authorities to negotiate, bringing about the creation of the Province in Manitoba.
We visited a Manitoba Historical site on the Assinaboine River, unfortunately closed for the season. The Delorme House was on a skid held together by cables. It awaits it's rebirth!
The river winds it's way to join the Red River to the north.These rivers suffered several floods this year. Manitoba has no control over the amount of water flowing from the south.
Beavers add to the devastation of the shore ... note they fall the tree towards the water to take advantage of the floods to float the log.
After our pleasant walk in the park, we headed for the airport.


Art by Rhoda Forbes said...

Wonderful pictures. I love the bears in the park!

Gloria said...

Thanks for the tour, Vivian!