Category Archives: Winnipeg and Hometown Goings On

Christmas Giving: The Gift That Gives Back.

Hey folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve been around.  But I decided to poke my head out of my hiding hole for a little while and get on my hickory stump for a bit of an old country lesson.

The theme of this message is… It never hurts to help.

Now people I am not saying that you have to give up the family farm or put yourself in hardship.  But given the things people all around the world are going through it hardly seems wrong to chip in a little in any way to help those that have less than yourself.

It could be a dollar into a Charity Hamper, or a nickel into the that Salvation army kettle with the singing Santa. It could be donating some time to a worthy cause, like serving soup for those less fortunate.  All I am saying is that in this economic climate everything helps.

You may ask Bob…What did you do to help those in need.  Well my friends I deliver hampers to the less fortunate in Winnipeg.
I take a few nights out of my year and grab some like-minded friends and go spread the Christmas cheer.

I throw on a Santa hat and knock on doors for a cause, I don’t do it to help me but in some way I do.  I give my time and my effort for free, and all I get in return is the smiling faces of children who would otherwise have no Christmas.  I get the respect and hearty handshakes of immigrant fathers who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life.  Not understanding the generous ways of Winnipeg or even the tradition of Christmas.

In giving back to those who have less, we see more than just poverty.  We see the kindness of faith and the redemption of the spirit of charity.

I think that in giving back we can all grow, It does not have to be Christmas, but all faiths can give and become greater.

In the words of my faith Merry Christmas One and All

Bob

Winnipeg by Winnipeg: Exploring Winnipeg and Beyond gets picked for printing.

I write because I enjoy it, I’m not paid to craft these pages it’s a labor of love.  A few months ago local bookseller McNally Robinson issued a call in local newspapers for photo submissions for a book that would be about Winnipeg by locals. Thus the Winnipeg by Winnipeg project was launched.

McNally Robinson Store in Grant Park Shopping Center

McNally Robinson Store in Grant Park Shopping Center

 Over the course of almost five years of blogging I’ve amassed hundreds of photographs of my adoptive city, any number of which would be great for such a publication.  I spent hours digging through my archives looking for just the right shots for submission.  Lighting, composition, and content I knew were going to be judged to be worthy of inclusion in the book.  Last night was the book release event and I had made the cut with one of my photos gloriously reproduced and put into print for the world to see.

Photographers and guests crowd the store to capacity.

Photographers and guests crowd the store to capacity.

 Over one thousand photographers submitted photography and less than 100 were chosen to be included in the book, I was in rare company indeed.  Last night we all gathered together eager with anticipation to see the finished product in a swanky affair hosted at McNally Robinson’s flagship store in Grant Park Shopping Center.  Photographers were professional and amateur, young and old, from every strata of society, giving a true cross-section of life in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg by Winnipeg Cake.

Winnipeg by Winnipeg Cake.

 Photographs from the book were shown on a large screen as each artist was called to the front to receive congratulations and copies of the book.  Some of the shots were simply amazing, creative and revealing.  Showing not only the highlights of Winnipeg but also its darker and arguably more interesting sides.  Darkness and light, beauty and despair all coming together to make this city we call home.

St. Boniface Cathedral from the Red River.

St. Boniface Cathedral from the Red River.

 My shot shows Winnipeg relaxing on Canada Day, a single kayak paddles down the Red River in sight of the St. Boniface Cathedral.  One of many photographs taken at the Forks Market.  I am proud of my accomplishment in making the final product.  But my personal pride is secondary to the feeling I got last night when I saw so many Winnipeggers come together to celebrate our city with warts and all.

Celebrating with my copy of Winnipeg by Winnipeg. Check out my image on page 17 of the book.

Celebrating with my copy of Winnipeg by Winnipeg. Check out my image on page 17 of the book.

 Do yourself a favor explore Winnipeg; check out the back alleys and the boulevards.  Get to know its friendly citizens if not in person then in the pages of Winnipeg by Winnipeg.  You’ll be glad you did!

 

Winnipeg Meets Nunavut.

I’ve written these pages now for almost 5 years, since fate smiled upon Darlene and I and we were whisked away to New York City. Over the years I’ve covered many topics before finding my voice and becoming a cheerleader for my adoptive home town of Winnipeg. As any blogger will undoubtedly tell you writing is only half the job of running a blog, the other portion includes reading vast amounts of other people’s work and striking up constructive friendships that help hone the craft.

One such friendship that I cultivated is with the author of I’ll Have Nunavut, a blog by Suzanne Parm-Etheridge and her husband Ian.  Two people adapting to life in Canada’s far north.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Suzanne was coming to Winnipeg as part of a conference and would be staying less than 10 minutes from our home.

Suzanne and I with Darlene enjoying a nice evening stroll on Corydon Ave.

Suzanne and I with Darlene enjoying a nice evening stroll on Corydon Ave.

We met at the Forks Market where Suzanne stayed and journeyed out to UnBurger in Osborne Village.  Suzanne frequently commenting on Winnipeg’s beautiful parks and neighborhoods.  In return Darlene and I asked questions about the far northern reaches of Canada.  It was like we had been old friends for years.

From Osborne Village to Corydon Avenue the three of us strolled, enjoyed Italian Gelato and shared stories of our lives.  As the sun dipped below the horizon a starlight tour of Downtown Winnipeg seemed in order.   Suzanne loved the stories of old Winnipeg and really seemed to get a kick out of visiting Portage and Main, Winnipeg’s most famous intersection.

Darlene and Suzanne ham it up for the camera at Portage and Main.

Darlene and Suzanne ham it up for the camera at Portage and Main.

Thanks for visiting Suzanne, I hope I didn’t bore you with my long-winded explanations and rambling stories.  It’s one thing to have made a friend though our writing but it’s an absolute joy to have met you in person.  Come back to Winnipeg anytime!

To wrap it up here’s a great song about Winnipeg by two hometown boys Randy Bachman and Neil Young with Prairie Town.

 

Bringing Bruce Springsteen to Winnipeg: An Idea that’s Born To Run.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know almost instantly that I have three over-riding passions in life. I am crazy for our local sporting scene, being a huge supporter of the Winnipeg Jets and a Winnipeg Blue Bomber season ticket holder. I crow endlessly about Winnipeg food and the mavericks that slave day in and day out to feed this fickle city.  But one thing trumps both of those my love of live music and the ongoing spectacle that is Rock and Roll.

In fact the very reason that I began writing this blog is due to a trip Darlene and I won to New York City 4 years ago. We were lucky enough to win an all expenses paid vacation to see two nights of concerts honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Two stellar nights of shows spanning the entirety of rock and roll as we know it.  One man was part of both nights, a singular rock and roller with gravel in his voice, hammer and anvil guitar style and Arlo Guthry in his soul.  I’m talking about the one and only Bruce Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello Belt out The Ghost of Tom Joad. (Photo Credit - Rolling Stone)

Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello Belt out The Ghost of Tom Joad. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concerts.  (Photo Credit – Rolling Stone)

As a devotee of rock and roll, I’ve seen more acts than most people will see in a lifetime, but I’ve never seen anything the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. As concert time approaches random cheers and whistles grow into a single unified voice “BRUUUUUUUUUUCE” the people exclaim! Even now into his 60’s Springsteen is powerfully built yet charismatic and kind, like a favorite uncle who sits you on his knee to tell you a story. He commands not only his band but also the audience with a gentle iron fist. From the first second he strides on stage you know why he’s called “The Boss”.

Bruce Springsteen Working Hard as Always (Photo Credit Brooklyn Vegan.com)

Bruce Springsteen Working Hard as Always (Photo Credit Brooklyn Vegan.com)

Last week I was approached by Diane Geddes who is heading up the Springsteen2Winnipeg campaign, a drive of like-minded people who are rallying to bring Bruce and the E-Street Band to our city on the prairies. She asked me to add my voice to the growing number of Springsteen fans to spread the word Winnipeg Loves the Boss. How could I possibly say no?

There will be the naysayers among the crowd who say that Winnipeg is too small, too flat, too boring to have a hope in hell’s chance of attracting The Boss. These of course are the same people who said the Winnipeg Jet’s would never ever be back and that the Blue Bombers would never get a new stadium. I like to call those people WRONG! Just sitting here writing in my basement I can think of tons of reasons why Bruce would love to visit Winnipeg and why I think he would get just as much out of a visit as the fans. In fact I think I have enough for a top ten list!

Top Ten Reasons Bruce should bring the E-Street Band to Winnipeg.

10. Winnipeg is a blue-collar town. We work hard for our money, suit and tie is not the dress of the day. Bruce is an outspoken supporter of the working class.

9. Winnipeg is a Rock and Roll town. Radio stations like 92 CITI FM have been around for 35 years and show no sign of slowing down.

8. Howard Mandshein the Godfather of Winnipeg rock radio would lose his mind… Seriously!

7. Winnipeg is really just a collection of small towns.  People know their neighbors and friendliness is a way of life.  Our license plates say “Friendly Manitoba” for a reason.

6. Winnipeg has great food. From a plateful of North End Perogies to a Steak Dinner at 529 Wellington Winnipeg will feed you well.

5. Little Steven can shop for some new headscarves in the Exchange District. Stars from all over the world love shopping for trinkets at Ragpickers.

4. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is opening next year. Because Bruce’s Rock and Roll has a conscience, always has always will.

3. Investors Group Field is a great place to feel the love. Rock Royalty and Bruce’s buddy Paul McCartney just played to a packed house here.

2. Our Summer evenings last forever. In the Summertime the sun doesn’t set till almost 11:00!

1. Winnipeg Loves Bruce and the E-Street Band. From humble beginnings the Springsteen2Winnipeg movement is growing and growing.

Bruce wows the crowd. (Photo Credit - American Songwriter.com)

Bruce wows the crowd. (Photo Credit – American Songwriter.com)

We need everyone to jump on board here and make noise, tell your friends, tell your family, hell tell your dog and cat. Kevin Donnelly is listening, The E-Street band’s management is listening and Bruce Springsteen is listening. The time to act is NOW! Be vocal, be active and be proud to live in Winnipeg. Together we can bring the E-Street Band to Winnipeg, if only we believe!

To join the cause visit Springsteen2Winnipeg.ca

Here’s a little Snippet from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert that I was lucky enough to have been to.  Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello with the Ghost of Tom Joad.

Sir Paul McCartney triumphantly returns to Winnipeg.

When people sit around and talk about the average 70-year-old person certain things tend to come up in the conversation.  Retirement issues, health concerns, loss of hearing and perhaps even ambition.  For the exceptional pensioner they may talk about vibrancy and youthful appearance despite the age.  One thing is for certain though Paul McCartney does not fit into any group labeled ordinary.  I count my lucky stars that I have now seen this living legend twice and by all reasonable standards he just keeps getting better and better with age.

Welcome to Winnipeg!

Welcome to Winnipeg!

Let’s face it Paul is a rock and roll icon of the highest order and now into his 7th decade could very easily rest on his laurels and slip most contentedly into obscurity.  The fact that this ground-breaker and might I add billionaire chooses to go out on tour again speak volumes.  One of the most critical things I look for in any performance is whether or not the principals are enjoying themselves and I can happily report that it sure seemed like Paul and his band mates were having a blast on stage in Winnipeg!

Yours truly waiting for the show to start!

Yours truly waiting for the show to start!

Slideshow warming up the arriving crowd.

Slide show warming up the arriving crowd.

Darlene and I sat midfield in the lower bowl of the stands giving us an excellent wide-angle view of the entire stage setup. Two huge High Definition screens flanked either side of the stage helping with close up views of the band.  The evening began with cover versions of Beatles tunes played in time with a scrolling montage of kaleidoscopic images of Paul though out his life.  At 8:30 sharp the band took the stage to thunderous applause from the 31,000 in attendance.  The audience, as one would guess, spanned the age spectrum.  Families with children hand in hand eyes wide with wonder at the unfolding spectacle, teens decked out in tight shirts and silly grins.  Older women and gentlemen seeking to recapture their youth in the songs bound to be sung that perhaps they courted each other to.  The crowd had it all.

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