It always amazes me. You think at some point it wouldn’t, but still it does. The way that first big snowfall transforms the landscape.
Not so very long ago, Winnipeg looked like this:
On Monday evening, as Winnipegers tucked off to bed, weather forcasts warned us to prepare for the first big snowfall of the season.
By the time I woke up on Tuesday, the wind was howling, the snow was blowing and it was already deep enough to be causing all sorts of traffic troubles.
I decided to take a bus to work. I just didn’t want to deal with the stress of maneuvering my vehicle through fresh snowdrifts, and around other vehicles.
I knew I’d made the right decision when I got to work early and without any white-knuckle driving.
On my way home after work, though, the bus got stuck in a snowdrift at an intersection. Yes, the enormous 60 foot city bus, completely stuck. The traffic behind it was backed up. In the other lanes, car tires were spinning, but not much was moving.
So, I bundled up, got off the bus, and walked the rest of the way home through the hard blowing snow that was now knee deep.
Truth is, once I got going, it felt like an adventure. It was quite fun, and a lot of exercise to boot – several kilometres, for sure.
At some point, I couldn’t resist the idea of taking a picture. It was kind of silly because my phone was getting all wet and my fingers were numb, but I was having such a great time, I hardly noticed.
Now, it’s already Wednesday, and the snow finally let up late this afternoon.
I took a lot of pics, so I am sharing a few of them with you here today. There are a few more below, too. Hope you enjoy.
In the meantime, I am off to bed. The last two days of walking and commuting in the storm have left me ready for a good winter’s nap.
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Here are some of my thoughts and pictures from a long walk I took in Winnipeg, last Saturday. Hope you enjoy…
~ Carina Spring
In my last post, I announced that my blog’s technical troubles were finally resolved. Turns out that my celebrations were, um… premature. Yes, after my gleeful announcement, I joyfully pressed “publish”, and soon realized that the email was not getting delivered to subscribers’ mailboxes. Every time one problem gets resolved, another one pops up!
Honestly, autumn has brought a few challenges with it, and not just with my blog. When I stumbled on these words, yesterday, the mindset struck me as helpful:
“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”
~ Jim Rohn
Anyhow, on Saturday, when I went for a long-overdue haircut, I decided to walk home. I have been going to the same hairdresser for 15 years. Her salon is downtown, a fair few kilometres from my home, and in a different neighbourhood. It was a gorgeous day. Without thinking much about it, after my haircut, I strolled into the fresh air and started my walk. It took several hours to get home, though I don’t know exactly how long, because I didn’t pay much attention to the time.
The sun was in my eyes and I carried my big purse over my shoulder, and I felt kind of free: no plans, no car.
By the time I got home, around 5:00 pm, I’d taken a bunch of snapshots with my cell phone (those are the pictures in today’s post), and I’d accepted a friend’s spontaneous dinner invitation for 6:00 pm.
Hiking, even the urban kind, can be so relaxing. There is something therapeutic about walking by yourself, for hours, like a tourist in your own city. Now, I feel a vague kind of wanderlust. Like I want to wander. Everywhere. Even if it’s only around here.
When I was in my late teens, I figured life out by running kilometres and kilometres at a time. In those runs I found my strength, and I figured out that life was short, and that it all comes down to the present moment. I think walks like this one are another way for me to better understand life.
Here are a few more snapshots that I took with my cell phone, if you’d like to see what Winnipeg looked like, from my perspective, last Saturday. It’s a pretty diverse place.
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If you are a bit of an explorer at heart, you might find this interesting.
A while back, I read something about Winnipeg, Manitoba that really surprised me. And, at the same time, it didn’t. Winnipeg, nick-named “The Peg”, is the unique and interesting place I have come to call home for more than two decades. I have been wanting to write a post on The Peg for a while, and when I read the big news, I knew it was time.
A Little Background…
Now, before I get to the news, there is something you need to understand about Winterpeg (That’s our other popular nick-name. With our record low winter temperature being -47.8C before the wind-chill, you can easily guess why. In all fairness, we rarely get anywhere near that cold!). People have a tendency to complain about, or at least poke good-natured fun at this place. It’s too cold, there is too much snow in the winter, the drivers are bad, too many mosquitoes in the summer…
If you don’t believe me, check out this hit song, actually titled, “I Hate Winnipeg” (written and performed by a popular Winnipeg band), this Simpson’s clip that was often played on one of our networks, or this commercial (it’s a chuckle).
The Weekday Off
I’ll admit that I have certainly complained at times, especially when I’ve had to drive to work in a blizzard. Or when my garage door froze shut and I was almost late for work. But I digress…
Overall, there are many wonderful things about Winnipeg. One just has to learn to see them. In fact, I have come to see Winnipeg as “a weekday off”. Let me explain.
When I was in university, my summer employment often found me working on the weekends and having Monday and Tuesday off. Some people didn’t like that schedule, but I saw it differently. Sure, it wasn’t “The Weekend”, but there were many unexpected advantages to a weekday off. It was easy to make appointments and run errands, and there was always a choice spot wherever I went… be it a provincial beach or a city café! In time, I came to love, in some ways, even prefer the “weekdays off”.
And that is the perspective I try to share when we all start getting down on Winnipeg. It’s a week-day off. If you look at it from the right perspective, Winnipeg has many unexpected advantages, and is a wonderful place with much to offer.
So what’s the big news I recently read?….
The Big News
Well, you can imagine what an unexpected and pleasant surprise it was to read that Winnipeg has been named, by non other than the National Geographic Traveler, as being one of the top 20 cities to visit in the world! Top 20 – On the same list as some pretty amazing places, like the last remaining Himalayan Buddhist kingdom; an island in the South Atlantic Ocean that is full of penguins; one of France’s finest vineyards; even places like Bermuda, and New York city. I won’t go through all 20 places named, but feel free to check it out for yourself. (Here’s a link to the web-site edition… though I still want to read the print edition for the full article.)
Now, when the conversation starts to turn towards the obvious difficulties of living in this climate and city, I remind us: Hey, we’ve been named one of the top 20 cities in the world to visit. And people pause, smile and nod in agreement. That’s true, they say.
The National Geographic Traveler has given my positive perspective a lot of credibility.
By now you might be asking, Okay… so what are some of these cool things about The Peg?
Here is a quick list. Just some of the reasons why Winnipeg is kind of an awesome place (to visit, and yes… to live!):
We have wonderful restaurants with authentic cuisine from all over the world.
A world-class zoo, the oldest ballet company in Canada, a vibrant arts community, interesting galleries and museums- including the new National Museum of Human Rights.
Many beaches within easy driving distance of the city. In fact, Grand Beach has been listed among the Top Ten Beaches of North America.
Lots of beautiful parks and trees, and the Forks (The place where our two rivers meet, The Forks has a children’s theatre, and is full of shops, galleries, restaurants, cafés, and special events – both indoors and out).
We have the longest ice skating river trail in the world (at 8.5 km), and a popular winter festival (Le Festival Du Voyageur), as well as many other festivals, many of which take place in the summer.
We are a diversely multicultural city, and also a distinctly bilingual city, with celebrated vibrant French communities amongst the English majority.
We have the typical cold, snowy prairie winters. It may not be easy, but if we look at it objectively, it’s an interesting experience. That fluffy white snow is rather magical, if you dress for the weather. One can also try winter sports, or stay inside feeling super cozy and warm. Bonus: Bragging rights for being tough enough for the Manitoba winters!
We also have beautiful, sunny, hot summers, and fleetingly colourful autumns.
The city is surrounded by cool towns such as Gimli (one hour away), provincial parks, and a national park only 3 hours away. There are lovely farm fields all around, and lots of nature to be seen, all within easy driving distance.
If you are really adventurous (and don’t mind spending a bit of money), you can take a trip to visit Churchill, and see real-live polar bears and beluga whales in their natural habitat.
The house prices and cost of living are still relatively low! This means that one can have quite a high quality of life on an average income.
The provincial slogan for our license plate is “Friendly Manitoba”, and most of us really are.
On top of everything, there are some interesting facts about this city. Did you know that Winniethe Pooh was named after Winnipeg? Or that the character of Bond, yes… James bond was probably inspired by a real-live Winnipegger? Ditto for Snow White.
That’s not all… Just for fun, click here or here to find out more.
Sure, going to the Caribbean to soak up some sun does seem like a top choice for a vacation, you won’t get any argument from me. But still… Winnipeg is an interesting place for the brave hearts! How exciting that our square “Peg” has made the top 20s in this round world!
Do you have an unusual or little known favourite destination?