Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2008/10/07 Winnipeg: The Forks, Portage Avenue, Osbourne Street

I’ve flown over Winnipeg on the path from Toronto to Vancouver, but I’ve never actually been in the city.  As our first stop on a western road trip, Stephen, Roy, John and I arrived in the morning, checked into the hotel, and then had some time to look around.  One place that I had read about was The Forks.  We drove over, parked, and, as we walked towards the river, found a skate park called the Plaza at the Forks.

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As we got oriented, some skateboarders came to the park and warmed up.

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On our way towards the river, we passed a large covered stage, with an open field where I could imagine the audience sprawled out in the summer.

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The Forks is a National Historical Site of Parks Canada.  A gate formally marks the entrance.

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Just inside the gates is an orientation circle, with “The Path of Timeby Marcel Gosselin.   I hadn’t recognize this sculpture as a sundial.

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Behind the sundial, the wall tells the story of “The Meeting Place”.

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On the other side of the circle, the plaza leads to a walk by the Red River, a tributary of Lake Winnipeg.

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In three languages, a plaque describes the Red River as part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System.

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Stephen noticed the petroglyphys embedded in the rock.

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On this day, the Red River was placid.  Its history of flooding is well known in Canadian geography.

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Returning from the shore, we walked by The Forks Chimney, which has been converted to be the studios for CityTv Winnipeg.

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On the way to the market, a train is parked on the plaza, marking Winnipeg as a transportation hub, with Union Station nearby.

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The Forks Market was part of the Forks Urban Revitalization Project from the late 1980s into the early 1990s.

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The awnings suggest that the shops would spill outside in the summer.  All doors were closed on this fall weekday morning.

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The variety and prices of fresh local produce says that everyday people shop at the market.  This isn’t a boutique.

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As with most urban markets, I suspect a large portion of the fresh fruit is imported.

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The atrium brings natural light into the hall with permanent and temporary stalls.  Our travel from Eastern Time to Central Time meant that we were ahead of the noontime rush.  Stephen, Roy, John and I went different directions to pick up casual lunches.  We settled at a table right before a group of elderly bicyclists swarmed for lunch.

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Our meetings took us into central Winnipeg.  King Street is one of the major thoroughfares.

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I hadn’t thought that there would be a Chinatown in Winnipeg.  The community is mature enough to have put in a gate.

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Our hotel was on Portage Avenue.  From the upper floor, it’s clear that Winnipeg has relatively flat geographic features.

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Downtown Winnipeg does have a few tall buildings that stand out.

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A short drive south from the central core, the Osbourne Street village is a neighbourhood with restaurants, nightlife and small shops.

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We parked just off the main street and had drinks in a pub.

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Strolling down the street, we browsed menus, choosing fusion cuisine at Fude.  The service was friendly.  Stephen looked at the dessert menu before deciding on his main course.  Asking if he could have dessert as his appetizer, the waitress said “sure”.  Thus, Stephen started his meal with an apple pastry.

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When Stephen went back to the car to check that he had put enough money in the parking meter, he was surprised to find a ticket.  It wasn’t a penalty.  The neighbourhood has a program where cars are checked to ensure doors are locked and valuables are hidden.  We passed.

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