Whose House? Melissa and Greg’s House

For Winnipeg Free Press reporter Melissa Martin and freelance photographer Greg Gallinger, home ownership has been a slow process of rolling back the 1980s.

“This building was built in the late ’80s,” Gallinger says. “When we first moved in here, the décor really showed it. There were mirrors everywhere. There are mirrors above the kitchen cabinets for some reason. Every closet door is a mirror. The bathroom is just an obscene amount of mirrors.”

However, the couple fell in love with the Osborne Village home’s open and spacious design, a sharp contrast from other homes in the area. The layout is particularly beneficial for their family of four cats.

“Our cats are pretty central to our existence,” Martin says. “When Greg and I met, he had Sully, I had Pete and Abeline, and we combined our cats. Then we adopted Princess.”

The neighbourhood is of particular personal importance to Gallinger, who cites it as a crucial step in igniting his passion for photography.

“I moved to Winnipeg initially to get into the film industry,” he says. “It didn’t pan out, but I got really into still photography, which is how I discovered the city. I didn’t have many friends or contacts here, so I’d walk around with a camera, exploring Osborne, downtown, the Exchange and the West End. It’s how I learned to really love this city.”

Princess the cat (left) MM: “We got her from the Humane Society in 2015. She’s going to be 17 this summer. She is the nicest, friendliest cat ever. Greg’s tried to take some photos of her, but she’s so dark that we’ve had to set up light boxes and stuff.”

Sully the cat (right) GG: “On Sunday nights, I have friends over to play Dungeons & Dragons. The first time I had them over, we had our playing mat out. Our Dungeon Master was setting up the scene, and Sully just jumped up and plopped himself right in the middle of the board. Then, suddenly, the scene became, ‘A giant cat appears!’ He’s always trying to insert himself into it.”

Abeline the cat MM: “I found her as a stray in November 2004, the day after the American election. She was a kitten on the street, super messed up and skinny and dirty. She came up to me looking for help, and I took her in.”

Pete the cat MM: “I don’t know for sure how old she is. I got her 13 years ago from someone who found her as a stray. Our best guess is she’s about 20. Her arthritis is really bad, but she’s surprising. Five years ago I said, ‘This’ll probably be Pete’s last summer.’ But she’s still here.”

National Newspaper Award nominations MM: “I’m really, really proud of these. They’re not awards. They’re just nominations. But getting two in the same year was a pretty big deal to me.”

Robot Restaurant plushie MM: “We went to the Robot Restaurant the second time we were in Tokyo. It was our last night there. We were like, ‘It’s going to be so touristy and stupid and expensive.’ But it ended up being the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Live music photos GG: “These are some of my favourite music photos I’ve taken. There’s Against Me!, Propagandhi and Savages.”

Published in Volume 71, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 16, 2017)

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