Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Green it. Mean it.

Just in time for the week of Earth Day, Winnipeg Public Library is introducing a new series Green it.  Mean it.  The goal of the series is to offer practical advice you can use to make better choices for the environment.  How can I make my home more energy efficient? What renewable energy options, like solar, are available and how can I use them at home?  How to xeriscape your yard? We’ll also be talking about zero waste living and green friendly food choices.

To kick off the Green it.  Mean it. series, we’re running four programs in May and June.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Electric Vehicles

Learn what’s available, what’s coming, which one is right for you, and where and how to charge it up! Presented by Robert Elms of the Manitoba Electric Vehicle Association.

River Heights Public Library
Thursday, May 23 6:30–7:30pm
Call 204-986-4936 to register
Or register online

Henderson Public Library
Monday, June 17 6:30–7:30pm
Call 204-986-4314 to register
Or register online

 

Vermicomposting

Learn to compost indoors with vermicomposting. Use red wriggler worms to change household organic material into nutrient rich worm manure. Fertilize and enrich garden and potting soil while reducing the amount of waste you send to the landfill. Presented by Green Action Centre Winnipeg.

Munroe Library
Thursday, May 23 6:30–8pm
Call 204-986-3736 to register
Or register online

Osborne Library
Monday, June 10 6:30–8pm
Call 204-986-4775 to register
Or register online

 

Bees and Urban Beekeeping

Bees are critical for agriculture and a healthy ecosystem. Learn about bee biology and behaviour, what to plant to help the local bee population, and what to consider if wanting to get into beekeeping yourself. Presented by Beeproject Apiaries.

St. Vital Library
Tuesday, May 14 7–8pm
Call 204-986-5628 to register
Or register online

 

Low Waste Living

Could you live your life without producing any trash? That’s the goal of being a zero-waster! Discover more about this low-waste lifestyle from people who actually practice it. You will learn how to make less garbage and find out which resources are available to help. Presented by Zero Waste Manitoba.

St. James Library
Tuesday, June 4 6:30–8pm
Call 204-986-3424 to register
Or register online

You can also register in person at your nearest library!


Don’t forget to check out our upcoming info guide, Green Choices.  The guide will provide you with information from print and online resources to help you make environmentally sound choices.  You’ll find things like:

 

Climate of Hope by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope

 

 

Climate of Hope: how cities, citizens and businesses can save the planet

By Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope

 

 

Climate Justice by Mary Robinson

 

 

 

Climate Justice: hope, resilience and the fight for a sustainable future.

By Mary Robinson

 

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore

 

 

An Inconvenient Sequel: truth to power: your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice and help solve the climate crisis.

By Al Gore

 

 

drewblog4

 

Bikes vs Cars a documentary found on our Kanopy streaming service.

 

 

Look for the guide in June and keep your eyes open for more green stuff.

~ Drew

 

Foreign Films, Lives Like Ours

I’m going to let you in on the best kept secret in pop culture: there is a place that makes films and TV series reflective of our daily lives, but with none of the “punch up” of drama or the exaggeration of sitcoms. Next time you are looking for something new and different to watch, an Asian film or TV series is a great bet.

There are numerous areas of Asian films: Korean, Japanese live action and anime, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Mainland China–all with rich and unique traditions and styles. They all share a tendency to make more films and television shows about daily life as it is than any other medium save literary novels.

It’s an intimidating field to try to navigate, and there are still many quality productions not in translation, but with streaming and home video, this avenue is more available than ever before. The library has a great selection in these areas and I hope here to provide some welcoming starting points or entertainment for just one night when you are looking for a break from your usual preferred watching!

moodforlove A frequent critic pick for best movies of the 21st century, In The Mood For Love offers a look at two individuals who live in the same apartment block, their spouses are having an affair and they are attracted enough to each other to consider having one themselves. This simmers at the back of their minds as they go to work and eat dinner, unsure of how they’d feel about themselves should they decide to do what they want, until finally a choice is made. A real slow burner, like a mystery that only comes together when you have the full puzzle.

 

yiyi Another one on a lot of critic’s best of the 21st century lists is Yi Yi. This film steeps itself in the minutiae of life: caring for sick relatives, trying to learn a new skill at school, but blossoms to an epic due to the number of character story-lines in the film. It’s breathtaking to learn about a whole family instead of just a few members. The beating heart is a middle class family of four, it’s a difficult year for them that begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, and each of them deal with the events in a different way. This film is a rare beast, about daily life, but breathlessly exciting, almost like a thriller.

wayhome A Korean film, The Way Home is perhaps the smallest scale film on this list, dealing with only two characters for almost the entire story. A grandson stays with the grandmother he has never met for one summer. He has a real chip on his shoulder and while his grandma does her best to accommodate him, he isn’t sure he wants to make any effort to see past her being mute and living far away from any technology. If you are looking for a movie that will leave you grinning ear to ear, here it is.

 

likefather Japan provides us with Like Father, Like Son, an excellent introduction to acclaimed director Hirokazu Koreeda. An upper-class couple discover their young son was switched at birth with a working-class couple’s child. The father has a distant relationship with his son, so he’s determined to “switch” the children back to the birth families… permanently. This one is a real tear-jerker.

 

corner Anime helps round out our list with In This Corner of the World, a drama that depicts daily life during World War II for one woman who has recently entered into an arranged marriage and moved to a town right by Hiroshima. The film is full of researched details about life at this time and features a strong emphasis on the different bonds between people. Looking for an inspirational watch about staying true to yourself in the face of hardship? This is the one.

 

onceupon We also have some excellent books that can help you navigate these unique cinematic traditions beyond just the slice of life genre: Once Upon a Time in China, and Contemporary Japanese Film being the most aimed at those unfamiliar with Asian film and featuring the widest variety.

 

Happy viewing and a very happy everyday life to you!

-Cyrus

Cuba on a shoestring

Snow. But it’s spring! Sigh.

I was lucky this year; I was able to visit Cuba for the first time. Wanting to escape this frozen city, I thought leaving in late March would be timely enough to come back to spring. Instead, I got back to fake spring…you know… when you get a warm day or two and then it snows? Fake spring. Or Winnipeg’s cruel idea of an April Fool’s Day Month joke.

To beat those winter blues (or in our case, spring blues) you need a getaway. A tropical, sun-filled, exotic getaway. If budget is an issue, then WPL has everything you need to visit Cuba as an armchair traveler. Here’s how to plan your adventure.

You know you are in Cuba when you see cars from the 50’s driving by. Locals do everything they can to keep them running since new cars are beyond the affordability of everyone except the government, the military and the diplomats. We hired a local company and were picked up in style in a 1950 Chevrolet Styleline. Rémundo, our chauffeur (and also a welder, electrician, upholsterer, painter and mechanical engineer) explained to us that he and his Dad had replaced the motor with a diesel one, used Hyundai parts to keep it running and installed an air conditioner in the grill and a GPS on the dashboard. To get a visual of the Cuban surroundings, borrow Cars of the Fantastic 50’s.

A holiday is not a holiday without some Cuban Cocktails. Rum is the spirit of choice and there are two popular local varieties: Havana Club and the pricier Santiago de Cuba. They come in a variety of flavours and colors which range from clear to a rich chocolaty brown. Our tour guide Ardita (and also a university professor of foreign languages) tells me that each one is used for different cocktails; the clear rum is best for mojitos, the buttery 3 year rum is used for piňa colatas and the caramel 5 year old rum is used for Cuba librés (essentially a rum and coke with a twist of lime). The 7 year old rum is best for sipping straight – it’s the good stuff!

But don’t drink on an empty stomach. Cuban food is simple but tasty and easily re-creatable here at home with some of our recipe books like The Cuban Table. Ardita and Rémundo brought us to the most wonderful local restaurant in Matanzas, the Bella Vista where we had a table for two on the edge of the bay. The main plates were a large portion of meat: we chose from lobster, shrimp, fish or chicken. Side dishes consisted of white rice or rice and beans. My favorite take-away was how Cubans serve their salad. A large plate of veggies arrived: shredded cabbage, carrots and lettuce, chopped onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, beans and pickled beets along with two bottles, one of oil and one of balsamic vinegar. So simple, yet delicious!

But what about the beach? Sure Varadero is gorgeous, blue skies and white sand, but a day at Grand Beach in midsummer is comparable. I know, it’s fake spring and the hot weather is a distant memory.

Until then, you can get the scenery of Cuba by immersing yourself in some photographic books like Havana History and Architecture of a Romantic City . Or install a Varadero screensaver to warm your heart and avoid looking out our own desolate windows as we wait for our glorious summer.

But perhaps you need more than photos. Dive into Cuban culture by reading fiction from some of the local authors. In the Cuban episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain interviewed Leonardo Padura who is known for his mysteries set in Havana. You could also delve into the novels of José Latour who decided to write in English after being labeled an “enemy of the people” by the Cuban government. If you prefer something more classic, The Old Man and the Sea is a good choice as Hemmingway wrote it while he was living there.  Need something more political? You might enjoy a graphic novel about Castro or a biography about Che. Statues of Jose Marti are everywhere in Cuba since he is considered a national hero. We viewed one where he is biting a sword to depict his ability to cut with words; you might appreciate his Selected Works.

Or you could decide to host a Cuban party instead. Entertain your guests with some hot Cuban music! Grab some cd’s from WPL’s collection of Cuban musicians: Buena Vista Social Club, José Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Ernesto Lecuona, Chachao or Manuel Mirabal Vazquez. Surround yourself with the beautiful Spanish language! In fact, learn some Spanish with our help; WPL has an info guide with dozens of resources. I downloaded the DuoLingo app and managed to learn common phrases, how to order in a restaurant, get around at the airport and ask simple questions (Dondé es el baňo?).

Your trip to Cuba on a shoestring would not be complete without a Cuban cigar. If you don’t smoke, you can enjoy a short documentary called With a Stroke of Chaveta on our Kanopy app. It takes you into the world of tabaqueros who cannot imagine working, rolling cigars, in the factory without someone reading to them. Those Cubans, so literate! They actually have one of the highest rates of literacy in the world.

So, we may skip from winter to summer this year, but we can enjoy the beauty, flavours, sounds and sights of Cuba with a simple trip to the library. No budget required.

-Colette

V-O-T-E! Who will the winners be?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind these days – who will be the winner in this year’s MYRCA vote? The competition is  always fierce, but it’s even more so since this year there will be not one but two winners. There are two categories for MYRCA readers, Sundogs for grades 4 – 6, and Northern Lights for grades 7 – 9. The voting began March 18 and will continue until midnight April 10.

Throughout the year, the MYRCA committee members devote countless hours reading wonderful books by talented Canadian authors. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.  The committee members meet once a month to talk about what they’ve read. Over time more and more lists are created, which are then distilled into the final list for the year.

From that point on, the students are the ones doing the reading and discussion, then it all  comes down to the penultimate moment when they fill in the ballot for their favourites. The hardest part by far is waiting for the announcement of the MYRCA winner for the year.

There’s still time to do some reading before the end of the voting period. Here are a few of the titles to choose from. For a full list, go to myrca.ca

Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

In Jenson’s  dreams, he has no problem being brave, but real life is harder. Things like finding a partner for a class project and Math are super scary. When Jenson joins the school newspaper things are still scary, but also surprising.

Restart by Gordon Korman

When Chase wakes up with amnesia his mind is filled with questions. Why does his Dad make him nervous? Why is his stepsister scared of him? The stuff in his room tells Chase he’s a middle school hero, but that’s not the whole story.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Kamzin jumps at the opportunity to map the tallest, deadliest mountain in the kingdom. But when her sister sets off on her own to climb the mountain, Kamzin has a choice to make; save her sister from certain death, or beat her up the mountain for the glory.

Short for Chameleon by Vicki Grant

Cam’s life is all about being someone he’s not. He and his dad are rent-a-relatives who act as friends and family members for paying customers. Pretending to be someone else was working for Cam, until he meets Albertina and Raylene,  and starts to discover who he really is.

V-O-T-E! Who will the winners be? You’ll just have to wait and see.

-Lori

1919: Not only the year of the Winnipeg General Strike

For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.

Marcus Samuelsson

April 6th 2019 marks the 100 year anniversary of clean water from Shoal Lake first flowing out of the taps in Winnipeg homes. The postcard below from the Rob McInnes Postcard Collection features the intake of the Shoal Lake Aqueduct near the Manitoba-Ontario border.

The aqueduct was built by the Greater Winnipeg Water District between 1914 and 1918 and still serves Winnipeg today. Using gravity, it moves water through approximately 135 kilometers of concrete conduit from Shoal Lake to the Deacon Reservoir just east of the city; a pressurized system then distributes water throughout Winnipeg. Just imagine how this would have changed the lives of Winnipeggers 100 years ago.

In the early days, water from the Red and Assiniboine Rivers was simply taken and carried in barrels by horse-drawn wagon. Then, from the early 1880s until 1898 The Winnipeg Water Works Company supplied and distributed water; its source was the Assiniboine River, just downstream from the Maryland Bridge.

After the City bought out the Water Works Company, water was supplied by an artesian well system from 1899 but it only provided a limited supply. Contaminated river water from the Assiniboine was still used for emergencies like fires. The problem was, after pumping river water into the mains, illness would follow. There was a typhoid fever epidemic in 1904 and clean water became a priority for Winnipeg’s growth.

Although the well system was expanded it simply couldn’t keep up with the city’s rapid expansion and the search for a source of clear, soft water began. Shoal Lake was chosen for its high quality water, despite its distance from Winnipeg and the cost of the project. Fortunately, because of Winnipeg’s boom around the time the aqueduct project began, it was built large to serve the future “Chicago of the North” which is how the system is still able to serve our city.

For a variety of Winnipeg postcards, many from the early 1900s, browse PastForward, our digital public history. Visit the Local History Room on the fourth floor to see some of the original documents relating to the construction of the aqueduct.

While Winnipeggers are fortunate to have clean water to drink, the building of the aqueduct has had some unfortunate consequences for members of another community. Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is located on a peninsula that was cut off from the mainland in order to divert the murkier waters of the Falcon River away from the aqueduct’s intake. Shoal Lake residents received a running water system in the 1990s but experienced a cryptosporidiosis outbreak shortly thereafter. Having no roads made it very difficult to organize the completion of a necessary water treatment plant.

18 years is a very long time to be under a boil-water advisory but steps are being taken to connect Shoal Lake 40 to the mainland. Two all-season bridges have been completed and construction of Freedom Road has reached the Trans-Canada Highway to allow community members to safely access goods and services. The community is now raising awareness of the need for clean water. Drinking bottled water should only be a short term solution and the Canadian Government has pledged to end long-term drinking water advisories on First Nations reserves by March 2021 (click the link to see the progress so far).

If you would like to learn more about Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and their history surrounding the Winnipeg Aqueduct, check out Adele Perry’s book Aqueduct: Colonialism, Resources, and the Histories We Remember.

~ Christy

eMagazines: Just as glossy and help you save money, trees, and space

You might’ve heard that we offer eMagazines, but if that’s where your experience ended know that we can help you save money in the grocery aisle, save some trees, and help you step away for good from your guilt-inducing piles of magazine back issues. Because let’s be honest, getting rid of a National Geographic magazine is easier said than done!

The news: With your library card you can access three eMagazine services that offer a total (as of today) of 3,945 magazine titles. 

I. kid. you. not.

There are magazines for all interests: art, automotive, boating and aviation, business, current affairs, travel, design, entertainment and TV, LGBTQ, home and garden, history, science, news, photography, fitness, spirituality, music, and sports. 

To keep things simple, I’m going to point out key features of each service and highlight popular service-specific titles. But if you’re looking for a niche title, please give these services a search. There are a lot of gems!

I’ll also share links to step-by-step directions to help you connect with the service(s) on your computer or mobile device. If you prefer personalized help, please schedule a one-on-one appointment with us. We’re always happy to help you get these services set up.


  • Number of magazine titles: 3,700+
  • Languages: So many! Chinese, Arabic, French, German, English, Spanish, Russian and more.
  • Kids’ content? Yes!
  • Borrowing limit: Borrow as many as you like.
  • Borrowing period: Borrow for as long as you want.
  • Back issues available: Yes.

How about?

With more than 3,700 titles this is just a snapshot of the many great publications you can get with PressReader.

DIY set-up with PressReader:


  • Number of magazine titles: 212
  • Languages: Yes! Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
  • Kids’ content? Yes!
  • Borrowing limit: Borrow as many as you like.
  • Borrowing period: Borrow for as long as you want.
  • Back issues available: Yes.

How about?

There are so many more titles you can find with RBdigital like Family Handyman, Good Housekeeping, Men’s Health, The Economist, Popular Mechanics, and O Magazine. And a very helpful feature of RBdigital is that you you can set it up so that when a new issue comes out it’ll automatically borrow it for you!

DIY set-up with RBdigital:


  • Number of magazine titles: 11
  • Languages: Mostly English. Chatelaine comes in English and French.
  • Kids’ content? No.
  • Borrowing limit: Borrow as many as you like.
  • Borrowing period: Borrow monthly magazines for 7 days and weekly magazines for 2 days.
  • Back issues available: Yes.

DIY set-up with Flipster:

You can’t beat having a good magazine pile to access when passing time in a waiting room, but you don’t need to have them at home. Save space, money, and trees by borrowing the electronic version from us! Plus, for two of these services (PressReader and RBdigital) you can keep borrowed issues for as long as you like, so bookmark those favourite recipes, DIY projects, and exercise plans and revisit them again and again.

~ Reegan

Hair-raising Podcasts

This year I made an amazing discovery. I tried my first podcast, which, naturally, was Winnipeg Public Library’s Time to Read. Through this discovery I realized what all the excitement and fuss about podcasts was about. I can now say that I am a faithful listener to the Time to Read podcast, though I haven’t always read the books discussed, as the easy banter between hosts is excellent and I always learn a few new things every time I listen. After realizing how amazing podcasts are I decided to further explore this sensation that has been around for a while (and which people have been talking about for years, I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake). As I have mentioned many times before in my blog posts, I am a lover of horror novels and certain horror movies, some are too scary for me to watch, as my sister can attest,* books are okay though. I get goose-bumps, I sometimes am disgusted, but usually, usually, I’m okay sleeping with the lights off after devouring a horror novel. Yet I digress. So I am a fan of horror novels, I bus to work every day, and I am unfortunately prone to car sickness if I attempt to read on a moving vehicle. My solution? Audiobooks or, handy, dandy podcast episodes which are just like audiobooks and offer often short, quick hits that help pass the time on my commute to work. Both are easy enough to download to your phone, MP3 player (I think those still exist?) or iPod and listen to offline throughout the day. The library offers a wonderful selection of eAudiobooks through Overdrive and RBDigital, simply download the app and you can listen to them offline, and best of all, no late fees!

So, for this blog post I will showcase a few horror/thriller podcasts that might be of interest as well as offer some further reading recommendations should you really enjoy these podcasts. And, if you have not done so already, check out our Time to Read podcast, you can even see our wonderful librarians host a live recording at the Goodwill Social Club on Tuesday, March 26 from 7:30-9:00PM where they will be discussing favourite childhood books! (adults only)

Lore

lore This podcast features real-life scary stories taken from the history books. For all the history buffs out there or true crime fans, this would be an excellent podcast for you, if you like a little bit of unease or creepiness alongside those genres. In the creator’s own words: “Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.” If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. One of the episodes I listened to discussed the “re-animation” of a corpse, and naturally mentioned Mary Shelley, her husband Percy, and how his study of re-animating a body with electricity brought about her idea for Frankenstein. With this podcast there is no need to listen to the episodes in order, each is a stand-alone. Want more Lore? Creator Aaron Mahnke has written a book, Wicked Mortals which includes illustrations and further information of some of the creatures and people discussed in the podcast.

Alice Isn’t Dead

alice This podcast thriller/mystery story follows a trucker who is searching for her partner, Alice, whom she is certain is not dead (hence the title!). Through strange towns, meeting serial killers and witnessing devastating events where Alice seems to always show up, we follow her on her search for answers. This podcast has an excellent voice actor, some great sound effects that truly bring you into the story and fills you with suspense. Unlike the others on this list, this podcast must be listened to in order to follow the development of the story and to help unravel some of the mysteries. This podcast is part of Night Vale Presents, which also produces another podcast series on this list. Alice Isn’t Dead is also available as a book, which is described as a complete re-imagining of the podcast, and written by creator Joseph Fink.

Nightmare Magazine

kelley These podcasts are fictional short stories written by a variety of writers, including some well-known authors such as Carrie Vaughn, Christopher Golden, Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry and Kelley Armstrong. With such an A-List of authors as well as some fantastic up-and-comers, many of these episodes are top-notch, some of course may be better than others, or more your cup of tea than others, if that’s the case, simply skip to the next episode as each is a stand-alone. With a variety of narrators you will be sure to find a story that will give you the chills and make your heart race. If you like the stories from this podcast, as many are by well-known authors, simply search our catalogue for further books in their repertoire, we have plenty to keep you reading long into the night.

Welcome to Night Vale

night vale This excellently written and acted podcast takes place in a radio broadcast centre in, you guessed it, a small town called Night Vale. Though characters do reappear in different episodes, it is not required to listen to them in a particular order and, if you’re not enjoying a story, simply skip to the next one. Let me allow the creators to describe this podcast in their own words: “[Welcome to Night Vale] is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures and unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.” Want to read more Night Vale and delve deeper into the mysteries? Creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have published a couple books about the legends discussed in their podcast titled It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel.

Knifepoint Horror

This podcast doesn’t have as many stories as some of the others mentioned here, only a few are released every year, but the stories themselves are truly frightening and bone-chilling. Each episode is narrated by a single person, explaining the event from their point-of-view to offer a creepy first-hand account of a range of different supernatural stories. The stories here are top-notch horror and range in length from just a few minutes to over an hour, which makes for a perfect listening experience on your commute, you can time it to end perfectly! If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone many of these stories follow similar tropes.

Happy Listening!

-Aileen

 * As a bit of an anecdote, when the first Insidious movie came out in theatres my sister mentioned that she thought it was funny, so I went to watch it with her. It was NOT funny, and I proceeded to sleep with the lights on for many nights afterwards and shied away from even watching trailers of the sequels. What are older sisters for if not to terrify their younger siblings? ;)

What’s New in the Local History Room

Winnipeg Riot [Portage Avenue]

“Winnipeg Riot” postcard from the PastForward database

We are marking the centennary of one of the most significant events in our city’s history this year: the Winnipeg General Strike, which began on May 15, 1919, and lasted for over a month, helping to shape labour history throughout Canada for decades after.

The Winnipeg Public Library will be hosting a series of lectures at the Millennium branch, beginning on Wednesday March 20th, from noon to 1:00 PM, and continuing on for the next four Wednesdays.  For more details you can consult our newsletter – follow this link to our program calendar.

Also, come have a look at some of our new reads in the Local History Room:

Local author Gordon Goldsborough has recently released a sequel to his previous excellent book about our province’s hidden history, entitled More abandoned Manitoba : Rivers, Rails and Ruins.  The book is richly illustrated (thanks in part to clever drone photography), exploring abandoned sites around Manitoba, describing their features, what caused them to be abandoned, and their link to the larger history of Manitoba.

Cover image for Wisdom from the homeless : lessons a doctor learned at a homeless shelter

Wisdom from the homeless : Lessons a Doctor Learned at a Homeless Shelter  is both a timely wake-up call and inspiring read.  The stories in it’s pages are from people who attend Winnipeg’s Siloam Mission,  the homeless men and women as well as those who help take care of them.  It “is about the wisdom that people with nothing can teach all of us in affluent North American culture”.  Dr Neil Craton writes about his experiences as a physician in Siloam Mission’s medical clinic, treating all kinds of wounds, but also learning lessons in kindness and respect from his patients as fellow human beings persevering through pain and difficulties with joy and compassion.  His stories also include the experiences of other volunteers and staff working in the shelter and how it changed their lives and their faith.  The book is easy to read and benefits from great photography.

Cover image for Prairie fairies : a history of queer communities and people in western Canada, 1930-1985

Bringing to the forefront the previously marginalised history of the LGBTTQ community of the Western province was the aim of history professor and author Valerie Korineck in her new book Prairie Fairies : A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930-1985.  It focuses on five Prairie cities: Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, and Calgary, exploring the regional experiences and activism of queer men and women through oral and archival histories.  In the first part of the book, spanning from 1930 to 1970, we learn about the public hangouts (restaurants, clubs, etc.) where queer people could assemble prior to creation of an organized movement  The second part is about the role played by different activists and other community actors in the 1970’s and onward that helped create spaces for gay and lesbian individuals dedicated to their communities and transforming the local social and political landscape.  Though this is a hefty academic title, it is filled with personal anecdotes and stories that makes it quite accessible to the more casual reader.

Gimli Harbour & Fishery : An IIlustrated History by Andrew Blicq explores the rich stories of the men and women who, over the last 140 years, have ventured out onto Lake Winnipeg in search of a living and a future.  We see a way of life that grew fishery through archival documents and photos, seeing the evolution of the boats, the various industries and businesses that helped keep Gimli prosper, and the stories of the families for whom fishing was an arduous yet rewarding calling.

Image result for north east winnipeg historical society volume 2

Finally, we have just received the second volume of the community history North East Winnipeg Area History : Elmwood, East Kildonan, North Kildonan  which offers a look back on some of the earliest inhabitants of one the oldest neighborhoods in the City of Winnipeg.  In addition to providing detailed histories of local pioneering families (some going back as far as the early 19th century), this volume describes the early road system in Winnipeg and methods of transportation such as the Kildonan Ferry.  Of particular note is the section devoted to Glen Hamilton and his home which eventually became famous for its séances, where attempts were made to communicate with the spirits of deceased loved ones, some famously photographed.

Come and check it out!

Louis-Philippe

A Tourist at Home

Call me an optimist, but I truly feel Manitoba is one of the best places in the world. Where else can you find the awe inspiring flatness, breathtaking beaches, deserts, white water rafting – don’t even get me started on the food! Allow me take you on a day of touring Manitoba.  If you are not convinced, do yourself a favour and take a look at HomeFree: Exploring Manitoba by Adam Kelly! So, bring along your sun screen, comfortable shoes, and a full cooler for a BBQ dinner.

When you wake up, stop for a great coffee at any one of our many local coffee shops.  Start your day with a 5 km walk around the historic Forks beginning at Fort Garry Gate, walk towards the Forks, down Tache, then return to Fort Garry Gate.  You can find this walk among others in Prairie Pathfinders Winnipeg Walks.

A short drive from Winnipeg, along the scenic River Road, you will reach Gimli.  From the lake front views, the film festival, and museums, you can get lost in Gimli, but today we only have time for lunch in one of the local fresh fish and chip shops.  Gimli Harbor and Fishery: An Illustrated History by local author and Professor Andy Blicq is about the history of this fascinating town – he can fill you in on the rest.

An hour north from Gimli is the beautiful Hecla Island.  Be sure to say hello to Lundi Moose in Riverton, one of Manitoba’s giant town statues. In Hecla you will find self-guided and interpreter-led hikes. One 5 km hike starting from the Gull Harbour Boat House  is perfect for all skill levels.  Prairie Pathfinders also have Manitoba Walks: Your Adventure Guide to Day Hikes & Town Walking Tours where you can find many other hikes throughout Manitoba.

To end our day we will be driving to Lundar Manitoba, about an hour and a half from Hecla.   The sunset views over Lake Manitoba are absolutely beautiful.  There is a provincial park here where you can lay your head, start a fire, and cook your dinner over an open flame. Try a perfect BBQ recipe from Winnipeg Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City’s Top Chefs by Robin Summerfield. I recommend the Chicken Burgers with Zucchini Relish on page 28.

For many more daytrips check out A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province.  You might be amazed at what you can find!

 

Happy trails!
Andrea

 

 

Irena

In 1942, Irena Sendlerowa, an employee of the Social Welfare Department, was working as a volunteer. Under the pretext of conducting sanitary inspections, Irena has been bringing clothes, food and medication to the ghetto. But after witnessing the Nazis inhuman treatment of the Jews she decides that she has to do more. Irena organizes her colleagues, family, and friends and together they begin to rescue children from the ghetto.

Irena is a French bande dessinée (BD) that follows the exploits of Irena Sendlerowa, a social worker who worked as a volunteer in the Warsaw ghetto. I had never heard of Ms. Sendlerowa, as I’m more familiar with Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt – men whose names are remembered because of their role in the Second World War. But there are thousands of men and women who contributed to fighting against the Axis, and Irena Sendlerowa is such a heroine.

The BD’s art reminded me of a child’s comic, it’s cartoonish style similar to Charlie Brown, and everyone who’s read Peanuts knows that nothing bad ever happens to Chuck, except missing the occasional football and falling down. But the artwork did not diminish the story it intensified it. The innocence of the artwork evaporates when you see children dressed in rags, or an elderly couple pushing a cart containing their possessions and dead bodies.

As the story unfolds you learn about Warsaw and its transformation under the Nazis. Laws are passed to strip the Jews of their money and legal rights. Eventually more than three hundred thousand were forcibly relocated to the ghetto before it was closed off from the rest of the world. In this climate of despair we see ordinary people helping one another to survive. Ordinary Polish citizens, many of whom have grown frustrated with the Nazi occupation, assist Irena in her mission. Despite the risks of being imprisoned or killed they put aside their fear and engage in an act of defiance in order to help their fellow human being.

The series jumps from the past, present and future – taking the reader along for an emotional ride. As a student of history I understand the importance of the holocaust but that does not make it any easier to read about mass murder. The Warsaw Ghetto is one of the darkest chapters of the Second World War and discovering a heroine who worked within the ghetto, then decided to risk everything in order to save the lives of thousands was unexpected and wonderful. The story is sad but it also has a lot of heart. Although you might shed a few tears reading Irena you will also find yourself smiling at the courageous acts of an incredible, resilient woman.

We have more books and films about Irena, if you’re interested in learning more about her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Daniel Bohémier