If anyone has Winnipeg in winter figured out, it’s the middle aged man who was reading a John Grisham novel on a bench in the Assiniboine Park Conservatory a couple Sundays ago. I’d gone there with a friend, both of us armed with strong coffee and the desire to squash the winter blues with an iron fist of plants and humid air.
On the third night of the year I got into the backseat of my parents’ Mazda next to my aunt and uncle. My dad drove and my mom fretted over whether she’d fit in. We were headed to a chilly Exchange District studio, where my cousin and her friends hosted a hip hop dance battle.
lI love coming of age at the same time as a neighbourhood. Sherbrook’s renaissance has been pleasant for us all, and as someone who lives on the cusp of West Broadway and is also a bit of a premature grandma, I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to “go out” and “do cool things” while making minimal effort.
It felt a little guilty to bid adieu to summer in a city not my own. But the promise of a fantastic music festival featuring some of my all time favourites was too much to resist. And so, just over a month ago, I said my goodbye to summer in Ottawa.
Summer makes Winnipeg worthwhile. We emerge from our homes, squinting, tentatively shedding layers. Never fully trusting Old Man Winter won’t come crawling back if we let our guard down.
When I turned 18 I did the typical tour of Winnipeg’s cool places. The places I knew I should like, that came with high recommendations from older friends. Where you could see the best bands, get cheap beers, and finally see for yourself the places whose mythologies had become part of our city’s collective consciousness (“Did you hear they found a dead body in the walls at the Collective?”).
When I first had the idea to write a column celebrating Winnipeg, I knew a certain challenge would strike come wintertime. The time of year when it’s least possible to be a cheerleader for the Heart of the Continent.
One of the most tiresome refrains of the Winnipeg-hater is “There’s nothing to do.” And one of the most tiresome responses is “BUT OF COURSE THERE IS YOU JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK.”
Travelling is hard for a Winnipeg apologist. Spending time in a city that has it pretty together makes your own city’s shortcomings that much harder to swallow.
Some years ago, I spent a lost evening exploring the city in my parents’ station wagon.
There’s a war going on right now.
A little over three years ago, I embarked on a quest of epic proportions. After years of floating through life with no real aim or purpose, I had to make a change.
This behemoth of a novel is full of dreary, depressing scenery and dreary, depressing characters.
These days, everyone and their mom has a blog.