Jan 9, 2009

City of Prairie Lights

Winnipeg at nightI arrived in Winnipeg and toured about in my kitten-mobile. Not too chichi but it does the job.

For map lovers, Winnipeg is the geocentric centre of North America. It's also the place that gave Winnie the Pooh his name.

Some of the city's neighbourhoods have seen better days and some are ultra modern. Happily, most of Winnipeg is between those extremes. I was personally impressed to learn that the Mayor is Sam Katz, but I don't think we're related.

I can honestly say that Winnipeg has romantic appeal. Wide skies, moonlit nights, fabulous bridges, and lampposts all stir the romantic heart. This city of prairie lights oozes romance. I almost expect Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman to stroll from the shadows on their way to Casablanca. Speaking of films:

Winnipeg is that kind of place. You feel it almost immediately. It is home to people from all over the world and, because of that, it holds a timeless appeal. I've discovered that the dazzling Golden Boy atop the provincial legislature building was purchased from France and spent most of World War I in a ship's cargo hold traveling back and forth across the Atlantic. How romantic is that? Actually, the entire legislature building is quite a mysterious place.

One of the older landmarks is the Arlington Bridge
brought to the city in 1910. Designed to cross the romantic Nile River in Egypt, it has the single honour of spanning the rail yards in the north central section of the city. I happily trotted across it.

Mops and Pops met in Winnipeg. I found the apartment that they lived in. The neighborhood is run down now and the nearby chapel they were married in has burned down. I wonder how they'll react to that news? But the city has preserved the old church tower.

Went over to St. Boniface via the Esplanade Riel bridge that parallels the Provencher Bridge. When you see it at night it is like walking the streets of Paris and feels very European.

Had a bite to eat in La Vieille Gare, where they had Franco-Manitoban Lucille Starr's The French Song playing in the background.
I tried to sing along, "Quand le soleil dit bonjour aux montagnes..." but the maitre d' (clearly not a song lover) asked me to fermer ma bouche. I think that means put a cork in it!

Every year in February St. Bee (as we anglais call it) has Le Festival du Voyageur with a neat snow sculpture contest. Maybe I'll stay and paw up an entry.

Later I went to The Forks, one of the oldest parts of Winnipeg. It is where the city was founded at the juncture of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. Lots to see and do! I even tried out the world class skateboard plaza. Wow! Afterwards, I was totally exhausted and had to have a cat nap.

Frau Bearbirds will love to know that I even met an Icelander or two in Winnipeg. Icelanders were early settlers to this region at Gimli, near Winnipeg. Gimli has beautiful mystical scenery.

Until next time.... I hope to sample some of Winnipeg's many gastronomic wonders.

Love and purrs.

P.S. See all the new comments below.
P.P.S. About the call of the loon referred to in her comments, Skared E.Kat also writes, "
Shivers, for sure. If someone has never heard them, try sound of the loon.
[For interest, unfortunately URLs to link to websites cannot be used in Comments.]


I'm replying here to be able to use a link:
Hi Cuz,

Wow! I did not know about the Titanic connection and neither did Mops & Pops or I'm sure they would have told me. Cannot wait to tell them! Gee, I hope this was not an omen for Winterpeg, but I guess not as it it is still going strong.

I googled and found Manitoba's Titanic victims and walking tour including, 393 Wellington Crescent (owned by Mark Fortune), which is the house you must mean. Mops used to live in Fort Rouge as a child, which is sort of "the other side of the tracks" to these fat cat mansions.<8-)

Now I'm on the prowl for the restaurant....found it, maybe: The old Ashdown house at 529 Wellington Crescent (see walking tour), now is a restaurant and perhaps there's a revolving floor? Gee, that could be like snacking meze style in the Mediterranean / Middle East with a revolving plate or table.

Bring on the "starter goodies", I'm starting to drool. Oops! It's
40C here.... help, icicle alert!


  1. marilyn booker Mummy MazzaJanuary 10, 2009 at 5:27 AM

    Lovely to read your blog from Winnipeg. Didn't know about the Winnie the Pooh thing so I have learnt something today. You are certainly getting around yor little paws must be worn out! Winnipeg looks like an interesting place. Pity about the singing especially after all our practising. Obviously he didn't see the professional. Take care, love & purrs.

  2. Dear Edel,
    The commentator on the value of 'gap year' thought it could lead to improving "soft skills": team-working, leadership and communication, organisational and interpersonal skills. While you doubtless have excellent purr skills, how do you see expanding them to the inter level enhancing your life? And as for your soft skills, you look pretty kitten-mitten footed to me already. Do you see a position with Deloitte Touche as a soft touch, purr'aps?
    Love your views on Winterpeg.
    Puss-in-fur-lined Boots

  3. Hi Mummy Mazza,

    Thanks. Glad you like the Winnie blog.

    The maitre d' sure did not like my singing. I think he's bit of a nincompoop when it comes to music. (Mops & Pops say not to name call, but he was a silly fellow.)

    After all, I was singing contralto so as not to disturb the other customers. And that was a real effort for my little voice box. Right now I'm a bit of a croaky kitten! Gotta run to find my Fisherman's Friend cough drops.

  4. Hi Puss-in-fur-lined-boots,

    Thanks for the feedback on Winterpeg. That's what Mops & Pops call it too.

    It does get a bit nippy in this windy city. But I'm keeping warm with my Merino woolies, long johns with a shirt and long pants all in one-piece that go down to my 4 paws. Toasty!

    My soft skills are already getting a workout. Dealing with "Monsieur maitre d'" (or Monster maitre d' as I think of him) was a test. When he rudely asked me to "fermer ma bouche" (put a cork in it), I sweetly replied in a very soft voice, "C'est ma plaisir". (it's my pleasure) Pretty purr-fect, non?

  5. Edelweiss,

    Wonderful! I would like to start for Winnipeg and Gimli immediately!

    Love, Bearbirds

  6. Ok, Edelweiss,

    How did you find all that stuff about the Manitoba legislature, huh? Spooky as well as mysterious! The sound from the centre of the black star was rather loon-ish, don't you think?

    Skared E. Kat

  7. Hi Skared E. Cat,

    Yes, that stuff about "the ledge" is spooky! See how I have increased my political lingo already?

    There are lots of loons in Manitoba, and they are not all politicos.

    The haunting call of the loon is extraordinary, don't you think? Gives me the shivers, but in a good way. My furry little bod goes all tingly.

  8. Hi Edelweiss,

    I love the history lesson on Winnipeg. I’m a history buff myself. Did you know there was a Titanic connection to Winnipeg? The house is still on Wellington Cr. Speaking of Wellington Cr, the old Masonic Hall, now a restaurant, has a garage floor that turns 360 degrees for easy exits. Check it out.

    Cuz in Clandeboye

  9. Hi there Edelweiss!

    If heading to the downtown area, check out the cafe called Voila. It's quite tasty.

    Your feline cousins,

    Aristotle & Newton (Jodi's cats)

    P.S. Jodi is on facebook:
    Jodi Preston-Hargreaves

  10. Hi Aristotle & Newton,

    Thanks for the restaurant tip. Voila sounds French. Maybe I can join you there and we can lick up a bowl of café au lait, providing you are not lactose intolerant as many cats are.

    Have you ever met my buddies Euclid and Leibniz? They sound like your kind of dudes.