Have you guys seen the hilarious Twitter account @Stats_Canada? It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at some little-known facts about our great country. I’m not sure who the geniuses are behind it, but they may be involved with CBC’s This is That? (Or just working with them?) Anyways, over the last couple months a few of their tweets have caught my eye. For example, did you know that…
Last year, 2,213 babies born in Manitoba were named “Winnipeg Jets”
— Stats Canada (@stats_canada) September 17, 2012
16% of people reported missing in Winnipeg, MB are later found driving in endless circles around Osborne Junction
— Stats Canada (@stats_canada) September 10, 2012
And, not surprisingly:
56% of Manitobans are convinced they’ve travelled to the future when visiting other provinces
— Stats Canada (@stats_canada) July 25, 2012
This account is pretty much solid gold, and guarantees me a couple of laughs every day. Check it out! And in case you’re worried that they only make fun of Winnipeg and Manitoba, I assure you all cities and provinces are fair game. Here are some of my other faves:
78% of Canadians approve separatism if Quebec takes Just For Laughs Gags with them
— Stats Canada (@stats_canada) September 11, 2012
(and I don’t take separatism jokes lightly!)
30% of New Brunswick residents forget to name New Brunswick when listing the provinces
— Stats Canada (@stats_canada) August 8, 2012
Pesky New Brunswick
78% of Canadians are in favour of changing the name of the “Greater Toronto Area” to the “Greatest Toronto Area”
— Stats Canada (@stats_canada) August 22, 2012
I’d love to hear your faves, too!
A news release from the city reminded me that it’s time to band our trees again! The city “strongly recommends that you band your elm, ash, maple and ornamental (basswood, cherry and apple) trees as soon as possible.”
Banding trees results in some pretty unsightly trunks, but it helps prevent cankerworms from wreaking havoc on our beautiful urban forest. Over the last couple of months I’ve noticed a lot of trees tagged to be taken down, and my heart aches a little each time I spot one. Some of these trees must be decades old, and each contributes to the character of our city and the gorgeous canopies that shade our streets.
Last fall around this time, my awesome brothers-in-law did a tree banding blitz and banded each of our families’ trees. I asked them to snap some pics so I could share the process with others.
To band your tree, you’ll need foil-faced insulation, staples or heavy-duty tape for younger trees (like this one), a tub of Tree Tanglefoot and something to spread the Tanglefoot with – a putty knife or similar. I’m sure you can get these at lots of places around town, but I got my supplies at Jardins St. Leon. Here are Trees Winnipeg’s instructions for banding:
- Cut a 15 centimetre wide band of foil-faced insulation long enough to wrap around the tree trunk.
- Place the insulation side on the bark so that the foil is on the outside.
- About 1.5 metres from the ground, tightly staple the band to the tree trunk. Make sure you fill in the bark’s cracks and crevices.
- Spread a layer of Tree Tanglefoot on the band.
- Encourage you neighbours to band together to keep your neighbourhood green.
According to Trees Winnipeg, a good rule of thumb is to band the trees on the September long weekend and take them off on the May long weekend. If you want to save some time, the organization will also come and band your trees for the very reasonable price of $10-$15 per tree, depending on the size of the tree.
I’ve really enjoyed reading the new-ish blog “It feels like the first time” over the last couple months, especially the posts on Winnipeggy stuff. I had my very own “first” today, and as for this post’s title, well, you know what they say about imitation. Anyway, today was my first time using LeisureOnline to register my kiddo for swimming lessons. I really wanted to get him into this one particular class, as it is only offered twice during the fall session, and only one of them is at a time that works for us.
Having lived in Winnipeg for the past 4 (!!) years, I knew that the first day of registration on LeisureOnline (or campsites, or folk fest) can try the patience of saints, but I, myself, had not yet experienced it. The time I’d ever signed up for was a few weeks into the registration period, a couples country dancing class that we never even got to go to, because registration was so low that they cancelled it. (Probably “couples country dance class” should have tipped me off, but what can I say? I’m a nerd.)
Anyway. Since swimming lesson registration starts a day earlier than everything else, I knew I would be in for a special kind of frenzied chaos. A week ago, I made sure I had my login and password and the course code for the class we wanted. I practiced logging in and finding the course. I set myself an email reminder to register at 9am. I was prepared and was not going to do anything that could jeopardize my chances of getting registered!
At 9 this morning I was working away at my desk and opened a separate window to get “in line” at LeisureOnline. I thought it seemed like a pretty good system: if the site is too busy, it puts you on a 5 minute countdown and tries to connect to the website again. You just sit there while the work is done for you. I kept working away, waiting to get onto the site. After about an hour and twenty minutes, elation! I was on! I logged in and quickly found the course I wanted. Hit “register”. Score!
Nope. I then got a message saying that I didn’t meet the age requirements for the class. (I’m not 6 to 36 months.)
Turns out that each member of the family has to be registered in the “family account”. When I signed up for LeisureOnline a couple years ago, it was just me and my husband. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d need to add my son, but of course, that makes sense. And so, I learned I had to call 311 or visit a pool in person to add him to my family account. I called 311. It’s busy. 311. Busy. 311. Busy. I feared this was a losing battle.
At 11:05 there were only 4 spaces in the class left. 311 was still busy. There’s no callback system, so I kept trying until I got through at 11:15. I get put on hold. At 11:27, a very friendly agent comes on the line. He adds my son to the account and asks if I’d like to register for something over the phone. Joy! Within 2 minutes I was off the phone, having snagged one of the four remaining spots.
So, two and a half hours of mild panic, annoyance, self-reproach, and then delight, I am now officially a Winnipegger who has faced the wrath of first-day registration with LeisureOnline and survived, thanks to a little luck and the helpful folks at 311. There’s a first time for everything!
As you may have heard, Portage and Main is celebrating its 150th birthday tomorrow, and Christian Cassidy suggested we blog our birthday wishes.
The intersection has been mentioned here on WoMH before, but my favourite post was Aaron’s “All Roads Lead to Portage and Main” – somehow the spot where these two streets meet is symbolic of Winnipeg as a place where everyone knows each other. There’s no six degrees of separation here. It’s more like one, or two, and I love that.
My birthday wishes to you, Portage & Main, our most famous intersection, are simple. I wish for you to remain an internationally recognized reference to Winnipeg — our humble, big little city, the heart of the continent — for another hundred and fifty years and more.
May you continue to inspire artists, musicians, and businesses who see you as the perfect namesake. Feelings of pride and comfort are inspired among those who recognize the reference!
Most importantly, I hope that someday people will be able to walk across you at street level. A well-planned intersection, shared between pedestrians and cars, can be a thing of beauty!
If we ever want to become a truly walkable city, opening Portage & Main to pedestrians would be the most visible sign of our commitment. (Until the city is actually allowed to do it in 2017, though, how about some improved navigational signage in the underground? Driving through Confusion Corner is a walk in the park compared to trying to figure out how to cross from one side of the street to the other!)
Many happy returns of the day!
Just saw Ace Burpee’s tweet:
Which prompted me to get on it, already.
My aunt is alive today because of someone else’s heart. It takes all of two minutes to sign up – and you’ll be leaving the legacy of a lifetime.
So please, consider signing up for life!
It’s been almost two years since I wrote a post called “What to Expect When You’re Expecting in Winnipeg” – which is the #3 most popular post I’ve ever written (two years later, I’m still getting comments on it)!
There are a few new things around town to report on, so I thought it would be fun to write a follow-up post to share some of them, plus a few notes from the trenches of my own experience. As always, I’d love to hear any suggestions/recommendations you have for resources and services around town. Here we go…
Winnipeg is now home to a wonderful new Birth Centre, run by registered midwives and the Women’s Health Clinic. It is the first of its kind in our province and one of only a few in Canada! For those of you not familiar with this marvelous new facility, it offers a wide range of maternity-related services, including pregnancy, birthing, and post-partum care services along with counseling and education services.
I had the pleasure of attending the Birth Centre’s grand opening last October and it is an absolutely gorgeous, peaceful, and well-planned space that any family would be lucky to use. (Check out photos here.)
There is tons of info available on the Birth Centre at the Women’s Health Clinic website – be sure to check it out! But be aware that there is a severe shortage of midwives in Manitoba. If you’re hoping to get a midwife so that you can use the Birth Centre – or have a home or hospital birth – contact one of the local midwifery practices as soon as you know you’re pregnant. If you don’t get in right away, you can ask to be put on a waiting list.
St. Boniface Virtual Tour
Last month, St. B launched an online “virtual tour” of their maternity ward. Video segments show footage of the hospital’s maternity ward facilities including LDRP rooms, hydrotherapy tubs, and showers, along with the process of getting saline water injections and discussion of medication options such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), narcotics, and epidurals.
This virtual tour is a good complement to the monthly in-person information session offered at the hospital, because it uses actual footage of the hospital facilities, showing a patient arriving at the hospital, going to maternity triage, and labouring**/recovering in an LDRP room. They also show scenes from the NICU and L&D rooms, as well as explain what happens during a more complicated birth such as forceps or C-section delivery. The videos are actually really informative, and I commend St. B on giving women and their families a chance to really get a feel for the actual environment they’ll be in during labour and birth. Here’s the first in the series:
While I’m talking about St. B’s maternity ward, I’d also like to mention how valuable it was to have access to a lactation consultant while in hospital. While it would have been beneficial to see her sooner in my stay (we were told the policy was not to put in a request until 24 hours post-partum, so we didn’t see her until a full two days in), it was tremendously helpful and reassuring to have consultations with such a tender, knowledgeable, and caring lactation consultant (thanks, Susan!). I hope St. Boniface will do all they can to employ more LCs; they provide a much-needed, critical service to any new mother having difficulties with nursing.
Public Health Services: Postpartum Home Visits, Breastfeeding Support, Infant Nutrition Classes
After leaving the hospital, what I didn’t really understand was that we weren’t being left to our own devices, dazed, confused, and sleep deprived. The Winnipeg Health Authority has a truly amazing team of public health nurses who do home visits to new parents in the days following discharge from the hospital. We had the pleasure of visits from two different nurses who were outstanding in their gentle, patient, knowledgeable homecare of both me and my son.
When we left the hospital, the LC I’d been working with said “It breaks my heart that I can’t tell you to call me with questions or concerns” – she only works with hospital patients – but she gave me a sheet listing breastfeeding support clinics across the city, hosted through the WRHA. You can either sit in on a support group meeting – where breastfeeding mothers and their babies meet for socializing and peer support – or book a time to have a consultation with a lactation consultant. I did both of these things and they were absolutely critical in surviving some of the major nursing challenges my little one and I faced. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful these services (totally free, by the way) are.
Through the WRHA I was also invited to attend a class on “starting solids” at Access Transcona. This was a really helpful session that cleared up a lot of confusing advice regarding first foods, allergies, and breast & formula feeding. The class was taught by a nutritionist who gave us tons of tips and instructions and dispelled a lot of myths. I’d highly recommend this class to any new parent!
When we took prenatal classes, one of our instructors was Becky Heather, who has since gone on to open Purely Baby, a centre offering prenatal education, fitness, massage, craniosacral and herbal treatments, and a variety of other programming including breastfeeding support groups, playgroups, etc. The centre is located on south St. Anne’s Road. I haven’t had the chance to visit or attend any of the programming yet (I’ve got my eye on the Moms Renewal Group!), but am thrilled to see more services being offered to expecting women and their families.
Birth Roots Doula Collective (which I have had several very positive experiences with) and the Manitoba Association for Childbirth and Family Education are two more options for pre- and postnatal programming and services.
Car Seat Inspections
Someone left a comment on my original post about the local firehalls offering free car seat installation checks. Thanks to that comment, we dropped in to have our seat checked at the Kimberley station, and were really glad we did. The guys who inspected our seat were super-friendly and gave us a lot of helpful tips. For a list of the locations that offer this service, their addresses and hours, check out the MPI Child Car Seat Installation page.
Winnipeg Public Library
I want to give another shout-out to Winnipeg Public Library. I mentioned in my original post that I’d made good use of the library’s extensive collection of pregnancy books, and that use has continued. Since giving birth, I have probably looked at every book on breastfeeding in the library’s holdings, and devoured countless books on infants and sleep, starting solid foods, entering toddlerhood, and of course, motherhood in general. Each new phase of my little guy’s life brings lots of opportunities to read a new book, and I’m so grateful we have such a wonderful library system here in Winnipeg. A couple of points to mention, for those of you who aren’t regular library users:
- Library cards are free and easy to get
- WPL will quickly transfer requested books to your branch of choice (for free), and notify you by email or phone when they arrive
- I have had really good luck with suggesting new purchases – I think they have ordered at least half of the books I have suggested!
- Your library card also gives you access to WPL’s online resources, which includes Consumer Reports – very helpful for researching those big baby-related purchases
We haven’t registered for any library programming yet (there’s something for everyone, from infants to adults) but it’s great to know there are so many offerings in French and in English. See also Nadine’s recent post on Save Money in Winnipeg for more ideas on how to get the most of the library.
Baby Consignment Shops: MCP and Once Upon a Child
You can spend a LOT of money on clothes and gear for your little bundle of joy. Too much money, if you ask me, when so many barely-used items are available to purchase second-hand from one of Winnipeg’s fantastic babies & children consignment shops. My two favourites (mainly because they’re in my neck of the woods) are Mom’s & Children’s Paradise (MCP) at 990 Nairn Ave and Once Upon a Child at 1600 Regent Ave W. I’ve been amazed at the quantity and quality of items available for purchase at these two places. Once, at MCP, I bought a onesie and the next day saw it on clearance at Superstore – so you can imagine how lightly used some of these items are. For those of you in the south end of the city, Bug N Boo is another option for infant & kids’ consignment, though I find their prices higher than those at MCP and Once Upon a Child.
I think that’s it from me for now, but I’d love to hear your comments about what expectant mothers in Winnipeg should know about services that are available to them.
** Although I think these videos are a fantastic idea, having had a less than optimal hospital birth experience with a lot of unwanted (and in my mind, unwarranted) interventions, I am cynical about the portrayal of availability of drug-free labour support. I say this not specifically as a criticism of St. B; I think there are some pretty significant improvements to be made to maternity care system-wide. Every woman’s labour and birth is totally different and totally unpredictable, but there are some universal changes that would benefit everyone.
My advice to anyone preparing for birth – inside or outside the hospital – is to be as informed as you possibly can about labour and birth. I started off with reading all the “standard” pregnancy books like this post’s namesake, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. After coming across Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s book, Your Best Birth, at the library, my eyes were opened to another way of approaching birth – a woman-centered, demedicalized view that emphasizes choice and empowerment through informed consent and understanding. Soon after, I watched The Business of Being Born (available on Netflix!) and read a bunch of other great books. Among those I’d recommend: ”The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Better Birth” by Henci Goer, anything by Ina May Gaskin, and The Midwifery Option by Miranda Hawkins and Sarah Knox for an excellent Canadian resource (there aren’t many of them…yet!).
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that having a doula was one of the very best decisions we made regarding pregnancy and birth. Our doula was a strong advocate for us when things got crazy during labour. She works out of the Birth Roots collective.
I admit it. There are things about Vancouver I miss. Living within walking distance from the beach. A green-grocer just up the street. Stellar public transportation. And the food… oh, the food. And for some reason, lately, I’ve been compiling a mental list of food I really miss from Vancouver.
My sister-in-law, who I lived with for a year in Kitsilano, suggested I post my list here and get suggestions on where to find equivalents in Winnipeg. Not a bad idea! But in writing them all out, I realized that half of what I miss about each of these dishes is the memory of the dining companion, the tradition, the setting – things that have nothing to do with the food itself.
So your challenge, kind readers, is to suggest the places around town that meet or exceed the deliciousness of each item on my list. Or just tell me about your own food memories – in Winnipeg or someplace else — I’d love to read about them. I’ll go first:
Cinnamon buns at Solly’s Jewish bakery and deli. My roommates and I used to walk down to Solly’s on sunny weekend mornings and get a coffee and cinnamon bun, then walk back and enjoy them on the beach. (On Sundays, it was better to sit and eat there, because they played the Vinyl Cafe.) Pretty much everything at Solly’s was amazing. Honourable mentions to the chocolate babka, rugelach, and bagels and schmear.
Chickpea fries at the now defunct Delilah’s. I had these once and still dream of them. Salty, chickpea-y, crispy and hot – I’ve tried to make them at home but it’s tricky without a deep fryer.
Shawarma at Falafel King on Denman. Everyone had their favourite shawarma/falafel place; this was mine. The tabbouleh was nice and lemonny, the shawarma flavourful, and the hummus bountiful. Apparently Winnipeg will soon be getting a restaurant devoted to shawarma (made with local free range chicken!) – can’t wait for that place to open!
The Tommy “wet roller” burrito at Steamrollers. Steamrollers is a local chain whose claim to fame is steam cooking. It sounds weird, but it’s amazing. The Tommy is a spinach tortilla stuffed with spanish rice, chicken, and jack cheese, topped with garlic yogurt sauce and the restaurant’s famous tomatillo sauce. Load this baby up with the freely flowing and choose-your-heat hot sauce, and voila – pure perfection. Sadly, I’ve never heard of another place that does steam cooked burritos.
Butter chicken at India Gate (Robson & Granville). So many fond memories of this place. The time the wiry, elderly waiter called my mum a baby because she only wanted a #2 spicyness level in her lamb vindaloo. Or the time we had India Gate cater a Friday office wind-down, and somehow got them to provide containers of butter chicken sauce (sans chicken) which everyone used as a dip for papadums, pakoras, and basically anything else that could be dipped into it. Seriously – this stuff is the best, the standard I hold all other butter chickens to. I know plenty will say there is much better Indian food available in Vancouver, but I never had a chance to go to Vij’s.
Roll Dip at Vina (Pacific Centre Food Court). For the longest time I didn’t know what this item actually was, I only knew that it was delicious. Turns out a “roll dip” is just a deep-fried spring roll. It came with some sort of amazing fish sauce-based dip and rice noodles. Not the healthiest thing to eat in the food court, but definitely the most tasty.
Fries & garlic mayo at the now defunct Café Waazubee. I must thank a shortlived Lavalife suitor for introducing me to this dish. I don’t know what they did to make this simple combo so outstanding, but it was their signature dish for good reason. Skinny, crispy, hot fries and super garlicky mayo. Simple. Scrumptious. I’m sad I’ll never get the chance to eat them again.
Slice pizza at Uncle Fatih‘s. When I lived with former WoMHer Laurel, this was the closest pizza place to our apartment on East Broadway, and conveniently located just across from the Commercial Drive Skytrain station, which made it perfect for stopping at at the end of a night out. Or before heading out for the afternoon. Or whenever. The pizza itself was fine, but what made it awesome was squeeze bottles of ranch dressing and hot sauce that you could use to doctor your slice up. Spicy goodness, especially on a slice of Hawaiian!
Burger n’ Brew (AND) Siamese Dream Pizza at Nevermind. Nevermind was my local pub for a couple of years when I lived in Kits. Burger n’ Brew was a weekly feature, where you’d get your choice of burger (I always chose chicken), sides (you could even order half fries, half salad for the best of both worlds!) and a pint of beer for 10 bucks. Laurel and I spent many a Wednesday night there having “angry browser rants” about Internet Explorer [Yes, we're nerds like that] and ogling the hot bartender. The Siamese Dream (brought in from Hell’s Kitchen) was this amazing peanuty chickeny pizza topped with a spiral swirl of sriracha. We got to be pretty good at recreating it at home and now our little clan of friends has a bunch of variations of what we call “killer pizza” – check out Courtney’s here.
Tropical (coconut & pineapple) or Carribean (hot & spicy) dipping sauce from Flying Wedge. Dipping sauce for pizza? Evil genius. The extra calories from either of these dips were 100% worth it. Most pizza places offer dipping sauces but Flying Wedge is the only place I’ve ever noticed that makes theirs in-house. Mmmm.
Hummus from European Delicatessen (Davie). Former WoMHer Aaron once worked just down the street from European Delicatessen and introduced me to The Best Hummus in the World. I still dream of it. Insanely creamy, no overpowering flavours… would someone please bring me some?
Tuna melt at Benny’s Bagels (West Broadway). Who knew such a simple dish could be sublime? At Benny’s, you’d choose your bagel (I liked jalapeno) and they turned it into something stellar. I think they put a layer of cream cheese under the tuna salad, then topped it with more cheese. And probably sprinkled it with unicorn dust. Not too many places you can get an out-of-this-world tuna melt, and a pint of beer, and listen to the Be Good Tanyas at 1am. Benny’s was that place for me.
Jalapeno Bottle Caps from Vera’s Burger Shack. Okay, almost forgot about this one – I don’t know how. The premise is simple: take jalapeno rings, batter ‘em, deep fry ‘em. Like onion rings only even more awesome. They’re served with a garlic mayo sauce. Grab an order, walk a couple blocks to English Bay and enjoy the ocean view – I only did it a couple times, but man. So good.
Okay, that was quite the trip down memory lane. If you’re still with me, I’d love to hear your suggestions for where I can some of these dishes locally. And which restaurants and dishes colour your memories of a particular stage of life – favourite ice cream shop as a child? Best value for dollar as a broke student? Go-to fast food place for late-night post-bar debauchery? I want to hear them all – Winnipeg or otherwise.
One of the things that drew me to Winnipeg was its reputation as a musical mecca. I don’t know where I first heard this, but my interest was probably piqued in high school, when a friend of mine passed through Winnipeg and brought me back a poster for Hayden in concert at the West End Cultural Centre (I was a hardcore Hayden fan, but there was no way he’d ever do a show in little old Lethbridge). I laminated it, and it lived on my wall for the next five or six years. Of course, Hayden’s not from Winnipeg, but somehow the association in my mind was that if the West End Cultural Centre was smart enough to bring him in for a gig, then Winnipeg was the kind of town that knew a good musical act when they heard one.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my then-boyfriend and I drove out to Manitoba for the 2000 Winnipeg Folk Fest – something that had been a dream of mine for years. It was at that year’s festival that I discovered Hawksley Workman and Martin Sexton, who became two of my favourite singers, and got to meet Dan Bern – what a thrill! I also heard Greg MacPherson for the first time, and we bought his Balanced on a Pin album and listened to it the whole way home. I loved the way he worked the province into stories told by song.
“I wore the sweater my father wore… the one he got from his girlfriend before he quit his job and met my mother. There’s a train that runs from here to Churchill. I never knew Churchill was really that far away.”
Something about these lyrics totally captivated me. I’ve always been a sucker for geographical references – especially Canadian ones – in songs (Martina Sorbara’s Bonnie & Clyde stands out: “And we’ll drive like bandits on the Queensway, we’ll hold hands like in the movies”), but to hear mentions of a place I’d always been drawn to felt like special insider knowledge. Like a siren’s sweet voice beckoning me.
Anyway, here are 10 of my favourite songs by Manitoba artists. Some of them have references to local places, and some of them are just plain great songs. Because musicians in Manitoba are insanely interconnected, there’s a bunch of overlap between singers and bands. Big props to CBC Manitoba for exposing me to many of them!
1. Petition – John K. Samson
The first time I heard this song, I was driving and listening to the radio, and I actually cried. Something about it just really hit me. The song’s about petitioning to get Reggie “the Riverton Rifle” Leach into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Whereas Reggie, on a playoff run, could make a dad go buy the new TV and put his youngest by the window, place the split antenna in her tiny hands.”
I don’t know. Just listen to it, and see if it doesn’t hit you hard, too. (Then go sign the petition!)
2. One Great City – The Weakerthans
Speaking of John K. Samson… I know, this one’s sort of obvious. But I had never heard it until I moved here. I remember exactly where I was: on Main Street driving towards St. Mary’s, just in front of the Commodity Exchange tower. Or maybe that’s a memory I invented to accompany the references to this lyric:
“A thousand sharpened elbows in the underground
That hollow hurried sound, feet on polished floor”
I’m really not sure, to be honest. And for a song to work its way into your consciousness like that is a remarkable thing, I think. I pretty much love every single verse, and it gives me goosebumps each time I hear it.
3. Bébé Rouge - Johnny Cajun AND Des mots d’amour - Daniel ROA (tie)
Bébé Rouge is a sweet little ballad, penned by Johnny Cajun singer Daniel Roy, about going for a date night at the Bébé Rouge restaurant in St. Pierre-Jolys. The lyrics don’t translate super well into English, so I won’t bother. My husband manages this band, and we actually got engaged during this song at a gig they did in Langenburg, Saskatchewan.
“Emmène moi au Bébé Rouge
J’ai juste assez d’argent
Pour un milkshake, à vanille
Deux pailles dedans”
Daniel Roy’s solo act is Daniel ROA and he’s a killer singer/songwriter/performer. I’m biased of course (he’s another of my husband’s clients) but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Des mots d’amour as soon as they hear it. It’s another love song:
“Si je ne te chante pas des mots d’amour
c’est parce qu’on se les dit a tous les jours”
Fun fact: Stuart McLean played this song on an episode of The Vinyl Cafe!
4. Invisible – Greg MacPherson
I already went into the reasons I’m a fan of this album, but I’d say Invisible is my favourite track. Windy and Churchill are great, too. Greg’s distinctive voice and thoughtful lyrics are a pleasure to listen to.
5. Rocket Girl – Doc Walker
Doc Walker’s been around for a long time, but they were riding a particular high when I arrived in Winnipeg in 2008. This song is 10 years old, but was getting a lot of play around the time I moved here, and this verse really caught my attention:
“She said, have you ever been to Alberta
Wheat fields as far as you can see
Have you ever seen the prairies
Someday I’ll take you there with me”
As a newcomer to Manitoba, I especially appreciated that lyric, because after years of nomadic living, it just reminded me of my original home.
6. Marjorie – Gomie
Gomie is the solo project of Dave Wasyliw of Doc Walker (Gomie is his nickname). His debut album You Are Here is only 31 minutes long, but those 31 minutes are packed with infectious, memorable, happy songs. It’s the sort of album you can just put on repeat, and before you know it, you’ve listened to it three or four three times in a row. All the songs are great, but Marjorie is probably my favourite. Bonus points: according to the Gomie website, the song Barber Shop is about growing up in Portage la Prairie.
7. Closer – Chic Gamine
Everything about this song is catchy and raw in the best possible way. The band’s trademark harmonies are gorgeous and lush. Just listen, if you haven’t already!
8. Sinking Feeling – The New Lightweights
Alexa Dirks’ (also of Chic Gamine) distinctive voice made me take note of this song initially, but it’s the memorable melody that keep them playing over and over in my head. Bonus points for this lyric:
“I could walk
Down to the red, red river
I know you’d be there waiting
But I can’t deliver what you need”
So Hard to be Together is also on high rotation chez moi.
9. The Frost – Red Moon Road
My sister-in-law saw Red Moon Road at Festival last year and couldn’t stop raving about them… for good reason. With some seriously awesome mandolin and delicate, pure vocals, this track is my favourite off their EP.
10. Two Broken Legs – The Sturgeons
On Saturday mornings, I usually listen to the CBC Weekend Morning show, and it was this song that prompted me to try, for the first time in my life, to win concert tickets by calling in! I didn’t win tickets that morning, but the Sturgeons are definitely on my list of bands to try to see live. (These guys are only 23 years old. Crazy!)
So, there you have it. 10 (11) of my current and all-time Manitoba musical favourites. I’d love to hear all about yours!
Psst! Did you know that Manitoban musicians are invading the legendary South by Southwest music festival starting today? The Manitoban did a big write-up on all the bands who are attending, and you can check out videos from some of them thanks to Manitoba Music’s roundup here.
At our big family supper last night, someone looked at the loaf of rye bread on the table and wondered what made it “Winnipeg-style”? Nobody at the table knew – and excluding me, everyone present was a born and raised Manitoban. In my experience, Winnipeg rye bread is very light and fluffy, comes in a long, oval loaf, and is impossible to stop eating once you’ve started. I’m not wild about caraway, and mercifully, most of the Winnipeg rye breads I’ve tried are very mild in the caraway department. (Come to think of it, most are quite mild in general, and not particularly rye-y!)
It reminded me that I’ve also heard of Winnipeg-style cream cheese – but again, what makes it so? A quick Google search reveals something called “Co-op” style cream cheese, but again, I’m not sure what that is – a brand? A variety?
So, culinarily-inclined Winnipeggers, please fill me in! What makes rye bread or cream cheese “Winnipeg-style”? And for that matter, are there other food items specifically called “Winnipeg-style?”
I’m late to this one, but better late than never.
Oh Ace Burpee Show, why you gotta be so funny?
I have to admit, it was a great feeling when I got to the end of the video and realized that I “got” every one of the inside jokes. My favourites are the ones about crossing at Portage & Main, store-bought perogies, and the special smell at Marion & Lag.
(See also S*** Saskatchewanians Say – funny too, but sorry Saskatchewan, lots of this is general prairie stuff!)