Manitoba, Winnipeg, June 14 and 16, 2008

20 07 2008

Step in the Wild Grassland Park of Winnipeg

Step in the Wild Grassland Park of Winnipeg

Yes, it turned out this part of Highway 1, the Trans-Canada highway across Manitoba, is a boring as had been reported. Sadly, there is a little bottle neck area where cross-Canada adventurers like ourselves can’t avoid it.

Ah, Winnipeg and Manitoba, we gave you short shrift. It’s not that we aren’t interested in Winnipeg, but we got there only in time to park at the airport and grab our flight to Vancouver. This weekend of home ground grieving caused us to lose our rhythm of travel, and when we returned we were so tired and lost we couldn’t think of anything to do but keep on truckin’, so we were only in Winnipeg long enough to grab a meal in the Osbourne district before we headed back onto the highway. In between parking and the Tex-Mex restaurant (Carlos and Murpheys) we also passed an inner city park that at first glance seemed totally neglected, but turned out to be a natural grassland park, which I thought was sort of cool.

However, in spite of this we weren’t totally bereft of Winnipeg experiences, albeit 2nd hand ones. I had purchased a copy of “Summer of My Amazing Luck” by Miriam Toews on the ferry to Victoria, which is the story of a young single mom living on welfare in Winnipeg. (I really loved one of her other books, “A Complicated Kindness”). Notably, in the book it rains for weeks and they are literally (or literarily) plagued by mosquitoes, until her friend emotionally blackmails her father for money and they escape for a few days on a wild goose chase of love to Denver. It was a good read.

Also, both of us watched Guy Maddin’s “My Winnipeg” on the plane (yes, amazing, especially since it was Air Canada, but it was one of those things where you choose your own movie). Bravo, it’s a cinematic triumph! The film is a very personal and somewhat Dada-esque account of Guy Maddin’s childhood memories of Winnipeg, all in black and white of course, and seasoned with his own obtuse but trenchant humour. In the film, Guy Maddin decides to work on his issues with his mother by subletting the apartment he grew up in and moving his real mother as well as actors to represent his brother and sister into it. The woman who sublets him the apartment decides at the last minute not to leave and is sitting in the corner the whole month, and his mother wants to have his father exhumed and put in the apartment but Guy Maddin thinks that’s too extreme, so instead puts a lump under the living room carpet to represent his father.There were many highlights to the film, but I will recount only that once long ago a squirrel chewed through a wire and the barn housing the racetrack horses caught on fire.

Scene from My Winnipeg

Scene from My Winnipeg

The horses panicked and ran into the river, which was beginning to freeze for winter. At the fork the horses got stuck and all winter there were a bunch of frozen horse heads coming out of the river! People would “meet at the horseheads” have winter picnics there, or stroll around them for dates. We thought Guy Maddin was making that up but we got reports really happened, so who knows? You’d think there would be more hoopla about such an event, but we can turn up no record of it.

So, even though we didn’t really have a 3-D visit of Winnipeg of today, that was Our Winnipeg. If we have time we will pop in on the return route and visit the Costume Museum of Canada.




2 responses

28 12 2010
harry krishna

absolutely amazing

7 04 2017
Richard Hovis

This horse head story is driving me crazy. Let’s assume that it did not happen. My question is “How did he set the scene up?” They look a lot like real horse heads in a panic mode, so how did he portray that? Yes, a big budget film could easily do it, because they have all the money and time that they need, but how did Maddin do it? I have not seen the entire movie — just a few seconds of that scene, and apparently the movie says that EACH YEAR people go and see the horse heads (presumably with horses under them), so that is where the possibility of the story falls through. Even rivers in Winnipeg thaw out during the summer. But, as implausible as it would be, I do think that the event would be POSSIBLE (stranger things have happened), but, during the Spring, you would just have a lot of rotting horses in the river.

Richard Hovis, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (where we still have Indians murdering and scalping whites very close to town, but of course it is covered up by the same group of government officials that cover up the reality of “Grays” (fairly big Aliens) living inside the Earth. But, of course, this will never make it “out”. People have tried in every way possible, with no luck. “They” won’t even bother to eliminate me, because both of us know the attempt to get this info out is entirely futile.

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