Sunday, October 23, 2016

Corydon Avenue

Corydon Avenue runs between Assiniboine Park and what is known as Confusion Corner.

After driving down Corydon Avenue several times by bus and car on my way to and from downtown Winnipeg, I chose a (too sunny) morning to walk and capture the sights of the street, that is also known as Little Italy.
It was pretty quiet at 10am, but I found at least one other person enjoying the nice weather
There are many restaurants, though not all with such decorative patios
or decorative rear walls by the garbage bins
What first caught my attention were the many murals showcasing the area (see also here and here for other pictures) sponsored by the Corydon Ave BIZ (Business Improvement Zone)
Down some of the side streets, the homes look this
with many mature trees
the band on these trees are to protect against cankerworms. I saw many, many trees with these bands. Cankerworms cause a lot of damage in Winnipeg and really like American Elm, Manitoba Maple and fruit trees.

But on Corydon itself, many homes were lowrise apartment buildings with little character

though at least this one was getting a facelift

and this one has a few grand ideas

Scattered around, were these sculptures with painted images representing different countries. After I got home and did some research, I see I missed quite a few of them as according to the website there are eight  to be found (I only saw five). this one is Argentina
 on the left is Spain, and the right, France
some business had rather unusual names...
and unusual canopies on the rooftop patios
Before I set out on my walk, I had high hopes of sitting on one of those patios with a coffee or latte, but  after commenting at one store that was open about how quiet it was on the street, I was told that none of the restaurants opened until dinner time. Sure enough, on a ride down the street in the evening, the place was hopping with people!
another urban walk for Jo's Monday Walks
with a few signs thrown in for Lesley's signs, signs
and some murals for Monday Mural

Monday, October 17, 2016

St Boniface and the Grey Nuns

A photographic view of the Cathedral and the Convent in St Boniface taken in 1858
The Cathedral shown above (the second church on this site) was destroyed in a fire in 1860 and was rebuilt.  A much larger cathedral (the fourth) was later built in 1906, but in 1968, it too, was destroyed in a devastating fire. Below is what is left. A much smaller and more modern (and, dare I say, less interesting) fifth church was built behind the ruins in 1972.

This convent, which housed the first group of Grey Nuns to come to the West, was constructed in the mid 1800s of white oak logs and over the years repaired and enlarged to meet changing needs. It is the oldest building still standing intact in Winnipeg and is also the largest oak log building in North America.  As a mission house, it provided facilities for the Nuns’ various works of health care, education and charity, which included caring for the aged and for orphans, treating the sick, and instructing children. It was the first institution of this kind in the west. The Grey Nuns would also travel to the Indian and Métis settlements to teach and provide medical care.  (Métis are children of First Nation mothers and Voyageur fathers. Voyageurs were French Canadians who transported furs by canoe during the fur trade.) 
The dwindling number of nuns moved out in the 1950s and, mostly in an effort to avoid demolition, was given a National Historic Site status. It has now been rehabilitated for use as a museum.
In 1844, a request was asked of the Sisters of Charity in Montreal for help with education and medical services in the Red River Settlements. Four were chosen and they undertook an arduous trip in canoes paddled by the voyageurs, lasting 58 days, travelling 1800 miles and doing 150 portages in the cold and rain, living in wet clothes, eating bad food, harassed day and night by mosquitoes, encountering snakes, and sleeping outdoors for most of the time. These were tough women!

They were Sister Marie Marguerite Eulalie Lagrave (age 38) a trained nurse and a musician; Sister Gertrude Coutlée (age 24), a teacher for the children; Sister Marie Hedwidge Lafrance (age 29), very energetic and always ready to lend a hand with any kind of work; and Sister Marie Louise Valade (age 35), a teacher and the leader of the group.
Inside, you can see some of the rooms as they would have been in the 19th century. The size of the logs is impressive.

and the interior walls, some of which are left still standing, were made of  poplar poles
There are still a few Grey Nuns living in St Boniface. They wear street clothes now, but continue to meet the needs of the community with a variety of services from hospitals, long term care and community based health care.  They created a lay organization, the Despins Charities, to help engage the community in continuing their services.  Recently  a nearby Mother House was transformed into a retirement home for some of the aging sisters (of several orders) and for the community at large.

I didn't count all the names on the markers and gravestones in the cathedral's cemetery, but there were many, including this long row of gravestones dating from 1950.

sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, October 14, 2016


The first Winnie-the-Pooh book was published 90 years ago today.
Although the book Winnie is 90 years old the real Winnie, an orphaned American black bear, would be 102.  A Canadian soldier and veterinarian adopted the orphaned cub when he found her while at a stopover at White River. He paid $20 to a hunter who had shot her mother for her and named her Winnie after his hometown, Winnipeg.
Winnie and Lt Harry Colebourn continued their travel overseas with Winnie becoming a mascot for the 2nd Canadian Infantry in WWI.  When Lt Colebourne was deployed to France, Winnie went to stay at the London Zoo.  It would end up being a permanent new home for Winnie as when the war ended and Harry Colebourne came back for her, he decided to let her stay where she seemed to be happy.  Winnie would live to the ripe old age of 20 - 2 years longer than the average American black bear.

At the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg is a stature of Lt Colbourne and Winnie. 

Harry Colebourne and Winnie during the war.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

St Boniface and Gabrielle Roy

a mural that shows early settlers, the cathedral, the school, bishops Provencher and Taché and Louis Riel.
a map on the side of the pedestrian bridge from Winnipeg to St Boniface shows the two cities separated by the Red River.
a view over the city and the fabulous Esplanade Riel.

Down Provencher Blvd, in front of the old city hall is a brief history lesson, a plaque that tells of the arrival in 1806 of the first white family to settle in the area who would become the grandparents of Louis Riel. Also of Father Provencher and Dumoulin who would start the first school and mission in the beginnings of St Boniface which would become the centre of French Canadian life in Western Canada.

There are walking tours that include the 'old town' and 'Gabrielle Roy' who was a prolific French Canadian author (1909-83). The only book I remember reading was The Tin Flute, but there was also an autobiography titled in English as Enchantment and Sorrow. Both of these won the Governor General's Award. The home she grew up in is now a museum.

The sign above that is a bit unreadable tells that she was "one of Canada's most prominent authors" and that she was a teacher and active in amateur theatre.  Her "first novel was published in 1945 and her writing, much of which were written in Manitoba, was deeply influenced by the prairie landscape and the genteel poverty of her early years.  Her simple style, combined with masterful descriptions of every day life developed a devoted international readership." On the left is a more readable sign on her front lawn.

scattered around are these plaques with excerpts from her writings, this one found outside École Provencher and the one below at the cemetery

Exploring the 'old town' on the main street was a little disappointing as there was very little old left.

but we did find an excellent chocolate shop
with tiny cups of spicy chili hot chocolate - and for me, a treat of pumpkin truffle.
as well as a side order of a surprise chance encounter with an old friend from the days when we all lived in Toronto!

part one of a new series of my recent trip to Winnipeg 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

wooden churches

Here is a joint issue Ukraine and Poland featuring Wooden Churches (Tserkvas) of the Carpathian Region. There are sixteen of these churches, with eight on each side of the border. In 2013 these were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
These Tserkvas  are Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholic and were built of horizontal logs with octagonal domes between the 16th and 19th centuries. The two depicted on this stamp are 
the Greek Catholic Parish Church of St. Paraskevi in ​​Kwiatoń Poland built around 1700 with the tower added around 1743 (left)
St George's Church of Drohobych, Ukraine (right). It is the oldest and best preserved church of the region, built around 1500. It was last renovated between 1678 and 1711.

find your way to other worshipful places at Sunday Stamps II
sharing with InSPIREd Sunday