I’m often asked what I miss about living in Winnipeg. I’ve had many curious Mexican students over the years with aspirations of going to Canada. My friends in Leavenworth want to know what the big attraction is other than the bitterly cold winters. Other people I have met on my travels are from all over the world and know very little about the prairies or even Canada in general. So aside from the obvious of missing my children and my friends, here are a few things I do miss about living in Winnipeg.
I’ll begin with the change in seasons. Although frost often occurs as early as August, and it has been known to snow in June, the transition from summer to fall is resplendent with colorful leaves and Indian summer days. The slushy streets in the spring, although quite dirty and messy, were always a sign of warmer weather to come. Cracking thin ice on sidewalks to reveal puddles was always a favorite pastime. And that first sprinkling of snowfall was magical.
Assiniboine Park has a zoo, a conservatory, The English Garden and the Leo Mol sculpture garden. Lyric Theater is an outdoor theater featuring a variety of performances from ballet to rock concerts. The Pavilion hosts an art gallery. It is possible to take a ride on a miniature railroad. There are cricket fields and barbecues. There are bike trails and picnic areas and a duck pond. And in recent years restaurants have been added.
The Fringe Festival in The Exchange District featured a variety of entertainment on the open stage. Delightful children’s programs were held in the daytime. Different venues offered plays and concerts. Needless to say the beer tent was always extremely popular.
The Forks holds a lot of memories for me as well. When my children were young we attended several events and ate at the restaurants. When I come back to visit I often meet friends there for lunch and then we sit by the river and visit. It’s always fun to browse through the shops and of course pick up cinnamon buns and fudge to take home.
There are amazing performances at Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park. The Concert Hall is home to The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Manitoba Theater Center offers interesting productions. There are also a handful of smaller theater companies. And Folklorama was an annual event not to be missed.
As you have gleaned by now, the bar scene was not my thing although there are an abundance of them in Winnipeg. While I did enjoy the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball games, I was never a big Winnipeg Jets fan nor a Blue Bomber fan. But I always enjoyed watching my own kids play baseball and soccer!
I enjoyed checking out thrift stores and tea houses in the neighboring small towns in Manitoba. Flea markets and antique auctions were also favorites. And the fall suppers were awesome.
Occasionally I have a craving for the moussaka at Nikos or a salad at Sorrentos or a burger at VJs or a steak at Hy’s or the butter chicken at Clay Oven. But those cravings are satisfied when I come back for visits.
So there you have it. There are things I do miss. But it’s also a trade-off, as I have traveled and discovered new places and developed new interests. I now have new favorites. And I will definitely take the mountains in Washington and the ocean in Mazatlan any day over the snow in Winnipeg.
Autumn has long been my favorite season of the year. Trees and bushes show their glorious fall foliage. Once they fall to the ground they make a crunching sound under my feet as I walk along the street.
When my son was a toddler, we would head for Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg where we would collect leaves. He would squeal gleefully as he darted about looking for different colors and shapes. We would take our treasures home, wrap them in saran, and place them carefully in one of my heaviest cookbooks to preserve them. I actually saved that one cookbook with the last leaves we collected and it’s hidden beneath some photo albums in a bin stored at my son’s house. A beautiful memory.
Two years ago I spent a couple of days in Toronto. My friend Deborah lived by the lake and I recall our wonderful walk among the colorful trees in the neighborhood. I hadn’t experienced fall in a while as Mexico has a totally different climate and vegetation.
Last summer I discovered Washington state and I returned again this year to enjoy the summer and fall. Busloads of tourists come to Leavenworth to admire the amazing display of color at this time of year. The Autumn Leaf Festival held two weekends ago attracted hundreds of tourists. The Salmon Festival also happened recently. But we are now in the midst of three weekends of Oktoberfest, which means thousands of people flocking to Leavenworth.
Oktoberfest! This quaint Bavarian village is synonymous with the Oktoberfest celebration. Lederhosen and dirndls are worn by many. Entertainment abounds at three different venues. Bratwurst on a bun is just one of the many items on the menu. And of course there are numerous types of beer to choose from. Hotels and campgrounds are booked solid. Driving through town is more like a congested parking lot.
This weekend Apple Days was held at the Pioneer Museum in Cashmere. Yours truly got caught up in the spirit and volunteered in the vintage railroad ticket station. Entertainment varied from gymnasts to mariachi and more. Shoot outs were held on the hour. And of course an apple pie baking contest was featured. This gentleman was serving up sarsaparilla in the bar.
A wind blew in yesterday and a shower of pine needles has covered the ground. The aroma is heavenly. And my favorite tree in Cashmere has begun to change color.