Tag Archives: Assiniboine Park

Winnipeg’s Winter Wonderland: The Assiniboine Valley Railway.

Last night Dar and I took our nephew Eric out for a night of Winnipeg Christmas tradition, we took a spin on the Assiniboine Valley Railway.

Assiniboine Valley Railway Logo

In the early 1980’s Bill Taylor, a model train enthusiast with a large property in Charleswood was doing an expansion to his house and had a vision.  He dreamed of taking the 1000 foot HO gauge railway that he had in his basement and moving it outside to create a train mecca in Winnipeg.

Entering the Assiniboine Valley Railway

A train full of happy people zips by in the night

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What the #@*& is that? Part 2

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on the wonderful and often weird architecture that dots the Winnipeg landscape.  In this offering let us explore some of Winnipeg’s parks and the downtown area for some truly bizarre offerings.

First on our neck snapping trip through town lets take a peek in Assiniboine Park just south of Portage Avenue. This metal monstrosity entitled Agassiz Ice sits like a shiny metal turd polluting the once clean vista of inviting grass and sunny blue sky. I’ll let sculptor Gordon Reeve tell you what he thinks of it.

Agassiz Ice in Assiniboine Park.

The sculpture “opens” just as a film does with an establishing shot of the park with the sculpture in the distance framed by the sky, trees and a river. As the viewer approaches along a predetermined route it appears to grow in size and what appeared to be a single sculpture becomes two and then three separate forms with a passage through. The hard irregular edges isolate a rapid succession of “cinematic frames” which are experienced in varying increments of time. The initial approach takes from twelve to thirty seconds before a significant change in point of view. Another ten to twelve seconds and as the piece is revealed the viewer is able to see and feel the cool polished metal.” Gordon Reeve

Metal masterpiece or shiny steel turds?

Poppycock, there is no predetermined pathway to this gauche monstrosity and it takes a good hour to get stink of artistic failure off of you in the shower before you feel clean again.  What a waste of metal and money.

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Leo Mol’s Bronze Babes and Working Men

Last post I promised everyone a return trip back into Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park.  More to the point I all but promised to show you the working men and nudes that made Leo Mol sought after sculptor the world over.

As I showed in my last post Mol had a grand love of the beauty and quiet of nature.  A very good friend of mine cared for Leo in his final years at the Taché Nursing Home where he was a resident.  In our long walks through the garden that bears his name she would speak of Leo with worried tones.  As one of the many nurses charged with his care she would often sit and visit with him, she spoke of the the way a mention of his artwork could snap him out of his haze and return a smile and razor edge to his mind as he discussed at length the processes and inspirations that brought life to his art.

I never got to meet Leo Mol personally, but like I often say Winnipeg is a small enough city to know someone through the company they keep.  In his work I could see a steady and measured hand, a quiet mind that enjoyed beauty in all of it’s forms.  A man driven and skilled enough to craft metal and glass and paint into the images that he alone saw in his minds eye.

Bronze nudes and the female form.

Family Group (1990)

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Leo Mol: A master with bronze.

With the arrival of spring here in Winnipeg I got to thinking about all of my favourite haunts. One of my favourite places to hang out and enjoy a nice sunny afternoon is Assiniboine Park. Within the sprawling acreage there are riding trails, formal gardens, duck ponds and the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.

Located conveniently adjacent to the foot bridge spanning the Assiniboine River, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden showcases the artistic mastery of one of Winnipeg’s own. Born Leonid Molodozhanyn in Ukraine January 15, 1915. He studied sculpture at the Leningrad Academy of Arts and was influenced by Arno Breker and undoubtedly war-torn Europe of the 1940’s. He immigrated to Canada after the war with his new bride Magareth and made Winnipeg his home until he died July 4, 2009.  His credits include the Order of Canada, Order of Manitoba.  He also held honorary doctorates from the Universities of Manitoba, Alberta, and Winnipeg.

Leo Mol’s work graces the Vatican, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and many churches and cathedrals in Canada including St. Mary’s Catholic Church in my home town of Fort Frances. Working not only in bronze but also in stained glass and paint; his commissions came from around the world.

Walking through the sculpture garden on a warm sunny day, perhaps in the morning with the sun just peeking over the treetops and the birds waking from a cheerful slumber chirping softly one can feel at total peace. The smell of dew fills your head as you walk through the paths and ponds in this bronze wonderland.

Take a walk with me now as we walk the paths in the park enjoying a beautiful day with the bronzes of Leo Mol.

Entering the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.

Entering the Sculpture Garden from the English Garden

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Winnipeg in Autumn: A Pictorial Review

Just the other day I was looking at my blog’s numbers and noticed that besides my pieces on Mrs. Mikes hamburger stand and Segovia Tapas Bar.  Among the most visited stories have been my work on Winter in Winnipeg.   Since we have had such a beautiful fall season here this year I thought was fitting to give my readers around the world a look at Winnipeg before the snow buries us, enjoy.

The Forks Market and Assiniboine River

The Forks Market is Winnipeg’s answer to urban decay. In the early 1990’s city counsel decided that the derelict train yards that once fed Winnipeg’s downtown area were to be converted into a public space.   For some 6000 years it was the natural meeting place of the Native Peoples who lived and navigated through the area as two major rivers systems connect here.  The Red and Assiniboine.

Winnipeg Downtown Skyline from the Forks Market.

Old Rail Lift Bridge and the Assiniboine River at the Forks Market.

Assiniboine River at Dusk.

Forks Market Courtyard from the River Walk.

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New Years Eve in Winnipeg

What to do, what to do.  Here it is just before 9 am on Dec 31 and I still don’t have a plan on what to do tonight.  Well maybe going through a quick list of what Winnipeg has to offer can help me make up my mind.

Starting at the centre of it all, Winnipeg’s historic Forks Market, is doing a family friendly First Night Celebration.  It’s a day long event, complete with ice skating on the winding trails that crisscross through the site. The frozen Assiniboine River forms the worlds largest outdoor skating trail.  Sorry Ottawa, but once again Winnipeg’s rink reigns supreme, check out the Video.  It promises to be a chilly day hovering in the minus 20’s Celsius so hot chocolate and coffee would warm up the body while waiting for the fireworks tonight.

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