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Tales By Fabulous Citizens

Hooked on the Peg

I was attending university in Southern Ontario, but came to visit my boyfriend during Christmas break.  He was a student at U of M.  That weekend, we shopped at Townsite in Market Square, gawked at the festive downtown window displays in Eaton’s and The Bay, bought books at Mary Scorer, ate lunch at Swallows in the Osborne Village and dinner at The Round Table.

That January, I sent in my request to transfer to U of W. I’ve been here ever since, which you may deduce (from a few of the references) has been quite a while.

Red River in the Spring

I used to live near what is now Crescent Drive Park and before the floodway was built I would go down to the river’s edge every day in spring to watch the ice break up.  It was amazing.  The jams and huge pieces of ice were something to see but what was most wonderful were the sounds from the river and the ice.  They were sounds that I have never heard since.  The groaning and creaking of the ice pressure was something I will always remember with awe and reverence i.e. Mother Nature doing what She does best.

The tarot bonding

we have always enjoyed having our tarot or tea leaves read at the chocolate shop or the old BBQ restaurant.  It was always a fun outing. We would sit there with anticipation, All dolled up waiting for a new tale of life to being and sometimes it came true…....

Trash can

It was so long ago, we lived in the Lord Selikk Development just off Main Street. Californa Fruits was just off King then.Yes there were many farmers markets on main street right next to the North End Chip shop our favorite place when we could scrap up 25 cents once we even got 5 plates of chips for $1.00. We were a little hungry and had noticed the owners of California Fruits would often throw vegtables inot the garbage we’d taken lettuce and tomatoes from the trash before. Maybe we or somebody else made a mess there. I don’t know for sure.  But one day us kids were checking the trash can for its bounty and low and behold appeared the owners and they were mad and started chasing us kids.  Man I ran, and the others ran too.  Everyone ran or tried to run off but they caught my friend lylen.  Poor lylen she was crying so hard and couldn’t run fast.  But we left her far behind.  To this day I still feel ashamed that I left a friend behind.

Born and Raised

  I am a native of Winnipeg and although i have travelled to various provinces in Canada in my youth in a program called Katimavik and had opportunity to go to Disney world in 1997 and Arizona in 2010, I always enjoy coming back home. I grew up in the Fort Rouge area of the city and lived on Hethrington from ages 2-11 and then our family of 7 made the big move to Arnold Avenue when my parents were able to buy a home. I sometimes go back to that area of the city to visit and reminice about the good old days.
  My parents both came from small communities outside of Winnipeg. My father was born in Elie Mb. and moved to the city after his father passed away when he was 12 and my mother was born and raised in St. Lazare, a small French community 200 miles southwest of Winnipeg on the Manitoba Sakatchewan Border. I also lived ther for 10 years after I was married.
  I remember as a youth when my Uncles came to visit and they were talking about going to Brandon. The only Brandon I was aware of at the time was Brandon Park which was 3 streets over from where I lived and went to play on many occasions with my friends from the neighborhood. I of course later found out that there was a town named Brandon.
  I mostly stayed in my area growing up and attended school just down the street. I always felt safe in my neighborhood amongst my friends and family.
  Many things have gone on in my life in the last 49 years and just 2 years ago I moved back into the neighborhood that I lived in before moving to Fort Rouge. I now live on my own (kids free) in my own little apartment on Home Street. My mother told me that when I was just over a year old we lived on Home Street close to Sargent Ave. and now I live just across from Vimy Ridge park where i remember attending a Black-o-rama Raggae type concert when i was around 18.
  Sometimes I wish I’d lived somewhere warmer and a little bigger but Winnipeg has always been home to me and I suspect that it always will.

A Calgarian’s Winnipeg Story

I was part of a children’s theatre tour out of Vancouver.  It was Twelfth Night on a teeter-totter.  Don’t ask.  It was playing for week at the Gas Station Theatre.  I thought it would be “a Cadillac tour” when I took the gig.  There would be no touring van searching for small town elementary schools on winter roads.  No, we would be flown from city to city and play actual theatres. The kids would came to us, not the other way around.  This should have been an easy gig.  Once you mastered acting on a giant teeter-totter, that not only went up and down but also spun 360 degrees, it was a piece of cake.  It could have been a breeze but there was a complete diva in the cast. 

There is a misconception in theatre that actresses are the troublemakers but in the past 20 years that I have been in the business, I have found that it is men who get away with murder.  Women know that for every role there are at least eight other actresses available—interested, smart, beautiful and talented dames ready to take the job.  But men aren’t so easy to find, especially older men… older men desperate enough to sign up to play Sir Toby Belch on a see saw. 

Ours was a particularly nasty chap. On the first day of rehearsals he insisted that his character required an Australian accent and not a brilliant one at that. He would bark orders at his fellow cast members and regularly let us know we were beneath him.  By the time our tour had landed in Winnipeg no one wanted to deal with Belch.

More than once he had been warned by our stage manager that when he was backing up in a scene, he stood the chance of getting hit by the see-saw. But he had played Stratford and therefore couldn’t make a mistake.  So in a Thursday matinee, when the teeter-totter thumped him in the back of his head, my first reaction was to laugh out loud. 

After the show he railed at how we had conspired to injure him. The house tech was chosen to take him to the hospital while the rest of us retired to the Second Cup across the street to drink hot chocolate and toast his speedy recovery.  We had an evening show that night and after a clean bill of health he was delivered back to the theatre where we made insincere noises of sympathy to assuage him so the show could go on.

He mentioned that while waiting to been seen by a doctor, the tech had told about a secret Guess Who concert in the warehouse district that was taking place that night.  So after the show we found ourselves at a storage warehouse paying $5 to see the Guess Who play. 

Now this story takes place in 1998 so there was no Burton Cummings or Randy Bachmann but Garry Peterson was drumming and Jim Kale was playing.  They had a lead singer who resembled Rex Smith.  He wore tight blue jeans and red high tops as he belted out ‘These Eyes’ along with the rest of their hits. 

There were 50 people in the audience, including us. They were an older crowd and I am sure many of them had been early fans of the real Guess Who back in the day. And these Winnipeggers were stingy with their praise. But for this Calgarian it was a night to remember. 

Turns out I knew all the words to almost every Guess Who song they played.  A seed, planted in the 70’s suddenly burst into life with this private concert. Yes, it wasn’t Burton or Bachmann, but it was the soundtrack of my childhood and I was so happy to be reunited with it. People said I was crazy when I predicted that The Guess Who were going to be huge again. I was proven right two years later when the original members reunited to tour the country. Even Belch had good time and we finished off the night at Papa George’s, singing each other’s good fortune at what we had just witnessed.

By 11 am the next day he had reverted back to his miserable self and but it mattered less. Through him I had been given a perfect Winnipeg night and you couldn’t ask for anything more on a teeter-totter tour.

-contributed by Lindsay Burns, a playwright and performer who last appeared at Sarasvati’s Femfest with her show The Vajayjay Monologues.  It was there she purchased her Winnipeg tarot cards, met Christinne Fellows (who she is a huge fan of) and marveled again at the beauty of Winnipeg and it’s residents.

skating home

I remember being 7 years old, and out with my brothers at Melrose Community Club one night, just smacking the puck around. It was early December. The weather just kept warming up all evening for some reason. Then, it started raining. And it rained for a good 30 minutes, freezing upon contact. Well, what was normally a 20 minute walk home became a 10 minute skate, flying down the streets of EK and laughing our heads off, sparks occasionally flying up from our skates when we hit a patch of open pavement.

past ~ present ~ future

My memories of Winnipeg mostly include about 4 city blocks.  You see, I lived there until grade 2   Our big house on a corner of Oak Street, the school across and church kitty corner and my friend Pamela’s house down the block.  In fact, my earliest memory is in Winnipeg when our Mom brought home my little brother.

Now when I think of Winnipeg I think of him again.  You see, he is back there again and has found it to be as welcoming as the first time he arrived!

I’ve been back there a few times in the past 40 some odd years since leaving, and am always amazed at how familiar it all seems.  The whole thing….not just the 4 city blocks of my memories.  Every time I find myself in Winnipeg I am overwhelmed by the feeling of coming home.  Is it something in the water?  In the Air?  In the Earth?  What is it in Winnipeg that does that?

So I sit and ponder Winnipeg and look forward to my next visit there knowing that I will be looking at it through different eyes this time.  Looking at the neighbourhoods well beyond my original 4 blocks of River Heights.  Looking to see if it still feels like home.  Looking to see if it will be the place I go back to - a full circle.

Thanks for the reading, Winnipeg Tarot Company!  Wish I’d been there to get one in person!  What a great project!......and thank you Winnipeg, well….for being Winnipeg!


Three recent additions to Winnipeg

Myself -
When I returned to Canada after 16 years in England, I traveled across BC, AB, SK and MB looking for a job. There was a job posted in Winnipeg that I found on the internet while I was here visiting my sister - unbelievably they wanted European experience in my specific field. I closed the internet browser. I thought it must have just been powerful wishful thinking… but I sent in my resume just in case!  They received it on 1st April and thought it was an April Fools joke, so it was awhile before we both realised we were a perfect match!  Fate brought me to live in Winnipeg, and I brought my British husband to live in Winnipeg, and together we brought a little boy into the world right here in Winnipeg!

My husband -
Initially I was worried about how well my husband would settle here, but he has wholeheartedly embraced Winnipeg and brings out the best in the city. For example, he’s now experienced winter like never before!!  He took it in his stride with daily walks on the river trail and learning to skate on weekends at St. Vital Duck Pond. He says “it is so sunny"without a word of complaint about the cold nor our long driveway to shovel! He’ll be just fine here!

Our son -
We were blessed with a little boy born in Winnipeg this year. It makes us so proud that his passport will say ‘Place of Birth: Winnipeg” as his home from the very start.

I look forward to experiencing so much of Winnipeg and Manitoba with my two guys in the coming years!!!

my encounter with the spirit

When I was 11years old, our parents took us to the fair. The fair was in the North End.  Anyway, while at the fair I got hungry and, seeing our house just across the bridge on Ross Avenue, I deciced to run home to go eat. I didn’t have no keys to get in so i climbed through the window. When I got in I opened a can of soup and had it with crackers. Before we moved into that old house, people that stayed there told my parents that the house was haunted and it wasn’t wise to move us kids in there, because there was 9 of us kids in all. My parents didn’t believe in ghosts then. As I was finishing my soup I heard something upstairs like some one was moving around. I had thought someone had broken in. I went hiding behind the couch to see who it was, and sure enough someone was upstairs. I just kept hidden behind the couch, then the footsteps came running down the stairs really fast but stopped before whoever it was came to the end of the stairs. I did not see who it was. I could see the end of the stairs. I waited for about a few minutes and I was listening for any sound but nothing. Then I got so scared I quickly got out of there so fast. As i was running back to the fair I remembered our parents telling us to stay at the fair and not go anywhere else, so I couldn’t tell them what I had just encountered.I couldn’t tell anyone. We stayed there for another 20 years and we never encountered nothing, but people that visited us would say they feel something or sometimes see something. But that didn’t happen all the time, just occaisionally.

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