Friday, 30 October 2009

Buildings Sold, For Sale Oct '09

My monthly - or so - wade through commercial stuff for sale in Winnipeg !

Food Stuffs:

Since my last 'for sale' post in early September I see that Winnipeg's mysterious, self proclaimed 'best burger restaurant' is still up for grabs !

If you have a sweet tooth, the Baskin and Robbins franchise in Portage Place is for sale ! If you prefer a bit more spice in your life perhaps Spice World on Main Street would be more to your liking ?!

JS Furniture:

Their former store at 640 Ellice Avenue has sold. JS moved recently to a new location further up Ellice to the 1700 block. I blogged about JS a while back when in a Uniter article about the West End retailers the store manager told them: I’ve been working here for 11 years and I have never seen a worse neighbourhood. You can talk till you’re blue in the face, it’s not going to change the atmosphere here”. Well, the 1700 block of Ellice is probably a better place for you, then. Enjoy your new neighbourhood.

It will be interesting to see who moves in. I don't know the square footage but you can see from the Googles that's it's a lot larger than your
average neighbourhood shop.

Calling All Hoteliers:
For the more adventurous types, the Sutherland Hotel is on the market. For $685k you can get a place to live, a brand new job with amenities such as karaoke, a full bar and restaurant that would beat anything that a suburban rec room could offer. Beat THAT for true live, work, play SKY Condominiums !

If you want to ease into the business in more peaceful surroundings check out the Southgate Hotel in Onanole or maybe this $1.2m Bed and Breakfast mansion in Elie - no karaoke set up at the latter, though.

Fit for a Princess:

For a cool $2m you can get yourself the former Penthouse Furniture Building on Princess.
If that's a bit too rich, for about a tenth of that you can score the storefront space at the Miller & Richardson Warehouse at 121-123 Princess (chunk a or chunk b). This is one of those nondescript, hidden buildings that I love. Often referred to as the Western Elevator Building for the sign still on the south side, it's recently been converted into condos "123 Princess Lofts" (see FreeP story). Here's a 1998 write-up of it's history from the City's Historic Buildings Committee.

Dauphin !
Train Ride from Churchill to Winnipeg
Beautiful place of the week: Dauphin's old Post Office (also former town hall). The ad in the Winnipeg Real Estate News is a little misleading. it says this fabulous 10,000 sq ft place is for sale at $99k. Though, when you check the realtor's listing, it's advertising a $249k main floor condo. I assume the $99k will get you a wee room in the attic. Still, a beautiful place in a town with some incredible old buildings (check out the historic walking tour brochure (pdf): this place is building is #5.

Schwarzenegger's Subliminal F-Bomb?

Heh. Something making the rounds in California.
Arnie sent the above tit-for-tat note back to the House that had a hidden message, or did it ? The San Fran Chronicle wants to know: intentional or not ? (It took me a few reads to notice it !).

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Remembering the Wolseley Elm

On October 31, 1958 a decades old battle to save the Wolseley Elm came to an explosive end.

The tree was said to have been planted around 1860 by Mary Ann Good, the daughter of landowners along the Assiniboine River. As the city grew up around it, the tree found itself in the
intersection of Wolseley Avenue near Basswood Place.

September 8, 1923, Winnipeg Tribune

The first official attempt by the city to remove the tree appears to have taken place in September 1936 when Alderman Blumberg brought forward a motion from the public improvements department to the floor of council to spend $70 and have it removed. 

Blumberg initiated the department's investigation after driving down Wolseley one evening and, not expecting there to be a tree in the middle of the road, almost ran into it. A colleague suggested that any driver surprised by such an obvious obstacle “...should be examined to see if he is fit to drive a car”.

In the end, the motion was voted down, though the department was instructed to see if some signage or reflective band could be put around it.

 September 9, 1936, Winnipeg Tribune

For some, the tree represented more than just urban greenery. A Winnipeg Tribune story from 1942 said that to supporters it was a final, symbolic remnant of the open land that was once there while others took it a step further, claiming that it was emblematic of "man's victory over bureaucracy". In the New Years Eve 1958 edition of the Free Press it was referred to as "Winnipeg's famed symbol of non-conformity."

The tree did have its detractors. In a May 17, 1938 Free Press story it was referred to as "...the venerable old elm tree in the middle of the street which has provoked either furious indignation or appreciative delight from passing motorists." 

There were other unsuccessful debates at city hall in the 1940s and 1950s to have the tree removed and there were even a number of attacks by vandals (also) who tried to do the job themselves.

"The Battle of Wolseley Avenue"
September 20, 1957, Winnipeg Free Press

The most famous showdown began on September 18, 1957. In what a Free Press reporter referred to as a "...26 minute knock down, drag 'em out battle..." at a public works committee meeting, complete with booing and jeering from onlooking aldermen who came to watch. A motion to remove the tree was passed.

The reaction in the neighbourhood was angry and immediate. First thing Wednesday morning area residents, most of them housewives, took turns forming a human barricade around the tree, some chaining themselves to it.

Above: LIFE Magazine, October 7, 1957

The plight of the women and their elm were making news across the country. Even LIFE magazine dispatched a photographer and caught some great images for their October 7, 1957 edition.

On September 19th the city decided to move in. Initial attempts to cut top branches stopped when an unnamed grandmother of six threatened workers with an axe and police had to be called, (it may have been the same woman as seen above LIFE photo warning off a police officer with axe in hand. 

After 90 minutes the site was swarming with more residents, police back-up, the fire department and reporters. Mayor Stephen Juba came down from city hall to try to diffuse the situation. After hearing from some residents he ordered the city crews away. It was pointed out later that under the city charter he could not give a direct order to city crews, to which he replied that if councillors voted to censure him he would resign.

In the end, a truce of sorts was called citing public safety concerns from a possible confrontation if work proceeded. The matter was put on hold and crews never returned.

October 31, 1958, Winnipeg Free Press

Some could not accept the fact that the tree was still standing. A few days after the stalemate vandals set it on fire, burning off the remaining leaves on its lower branches but causing no serious damage. In the summer of 1958 it was doused in oil and set ablaze then in a separate attack and was cut by a chainsaw.

Then, at about 4 a.m. on October 31, 1958, residents for blocks around were awakened by the sound of explosions. Streetlights were blown out, a hydro pole lay on the pavement and the Wolseley Elm was almost split in two. Bore holes in the base suggested that dynamite or other type of explosive charge was used.
October 31, 1958, Winnipeg Free Press

The section not felled by the explosion was the side already damaged in the chainsaw attack. The tree stood no chance of surviving and died a slow death over the next 18 months. 

In June 1960 a tree scientist from the University of Manitoba declared it officially dead. On July 18, 1960 city crews went in to remove its remains.

There were no protesters.

Wolseley Elm
Wolseley Elm Photo Gallery - Wpg Trib Archives

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Digital Ambassador

David Jacobson, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, blogs !

It's actually not a bad read in a travelogue, day-in-the life sort of way. He's not letting any state secrets or NAFTA negotiating tactics away.

Unlike blogs from some other political officials I've stumbled across in the past: a) it gets updated; b) it doesn't sound like a 23 year old staffer ghost-writes it; c) it doesn't sound like it's been drafted by a committee of communications consultants.

Jacobson's digital regime also includes a folksy flickr page and a Facebook page.

I wonder if Ambassador Doer will embrace anything like that while he's in office ?!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

'Gloom' Not at All Flu Clinics

Nice panic reporting by CBC Manitoba on H1N1 lineups:

"The first day of H1N1 vaccination clinics across Winnipeg and most of Manitoba drew lineups nearly three hours long at some locations. There were reports Monday of some people getting frustrated with the wait in Winnipeg and walking away."

Their main reports from the city were from the two shopping mall locations: Grant Park and Portage Place. Yeah, those would be busy locations. Did you try any others ?

I called two people I knew who were high risk and were going to get the shot today. Both went, not to malls, but to community clinics and both reported no problems getting in and out. One went to Holy Eucharist Parish Hall on Monroe. She reports that "It was great and quite fast and staff were very organized and friendly".

Choosing what would be the absolute busiest locations and reporting to people who might want / need the shots to basically not bother - you might not even get in, is pretty piss-poor. Scoot the CBC vans, (remember, the new CBC News is all about
pace !), and you may have been able to report that steering clear of malls and hospitals to get your shots could get you in and out without hassles.

- Clinic locations in Manitoba
- Clinic locations is Winnipeg (mapped)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Manitoba's Flu Battle Begins

Today flu clinics will be operating in a number of provinces as Canada's '09 -'10 battle with H1N1 begins.

Some random thoughts:
- Manitoba revamped the "Flu in Manitoba" website to include a 'q and a' about the vaccination and a 2009 fu clinic schedule.

- Thankfully, the H1N1 virus is returning to us looking and acting much the same as when it left, which doesn't always happen with influenza. As it hasn't mutated and remains rather weak we can take lessons learned from southern jurisdictions and apply them here. (See this week's EuroSurveillance for a number of country / region-specific reports - a summary article is here, the reports are linked on the right-hand side).

- The biggest challenge will likely be treatment capacity. Research, including a large study headed by the U of M, shows that while the number of people who get severely ill was small, those that DO crash fast and hard. This resulted in the need for an immediate ICU bed and mechanical respirator, something not usually associated with treating the flu.

The Australian study found that ICU's were caught by surprise at how ill people got. Nationally, ICU admissions increased between 10 and 20% due to H1N1 infections during the peak weeks of their flu season. That's a lot of extra capacity needed to have waiting around manned, equipped and ready to go.

Given that a large percentage of our cases could be in remote locations this will pose logistical challenges as well.

- A Winnipeg Sun editorial today lambasted MKO's Grand Chief David Harper for comments hinting that some aboriginals likely won't get vaccinated, wary of the shot and more comfortable with traditional methods of warding off disease. I assume that the editorial is in response to this Canadian Press article. If that's the case, The Sun is crapping a bit hard on Harper. He appears to merely stating what 'the buzz' that's out there - if you look at polls such as this, most Canadians down south aren't too taken on the vaccine either.

In a CBC story from Friday Harper seemed to be with the program.

I'm not sure if beating up on a Chief who seems to "get it" in terms of the need to get set-up for vaccinations, though perhaps a little weak in the advocacy of it, just to generate some column inches of newsprint is any better than a chief beating up on the government just to generate some column inches of newsprint.

Local Group's National Flu Plan
H1N1 Daily Media

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Alert to 'Peg Bloggers: Piracy of Your Posts

Hmmmm ... I noticed today that someone has started a blog called Winnipeg Time
at http://winnipegtime.blogspot.com/, slapped a bunch of ads all over it and then, in a master stroke of time and brain-power savings, has proceeded to copy and paste word-for-word and picture-by-picture posts by Winnipeg bloggers.

I haven't scrolled through the hundreds of posts that have been skimmed dating from last Tuesday right back to 2007. In August alone, though, I found over 200 of my posts from This Was Winnipeg, Downtown Places and Dumplings.

I have also noticed dozens of posts from places like Siamandas' Winnipeg Time Machine (sample 1, sample 2), Winnipeg Love or Hate (sample 1 sample 2) and a lot of the news posts look like they may be from Chris.D. There are many I do not immediately recognize the source of, including many images.

If you blog about Winnipeg you may want to check it out. Google has an online form that you can complain about poaching to.

Veteran's Week '09 Poster Unveiled

Last week the Minister of Veteran's Affairs unveiled the 2009 Veteran's Week poster. This year's 'poster boy' is WWII Veteran Harold Wishart.

The creation of a Veteran's Week poster goes back to 1982 - you can see the full series here.

If you want one for display you can order them, and other Canada Remembers materials on-line through this Veterans Affairs order form. They also have them in various sizes at the local VAC office, 5th floor of CityPlace.

I see, too, that there is a Canada Remembers facebook page this year.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Will An 'Erect Peter' Help CBC News ?

Some big changes coming to CBC News starting Monday Oct. 26th in what network execs are calling the 'most sweeping reorganization in the broadcaster's history'. The most noticeable of the changes:

CBC Newsworld will be rechristened 'CBC News Network' with new graphics and set. The flagship program, The National, relaunches with a new set, features and an 'erect Peter', (Mansbridge, of course, standing instead of behind a desk).

Behind the scenes, the on-line, radio and tv newsrooms at the national level have all been amalgamated into one unit.

The CBC has, to put it in CBC-talk, 're-imagined' all of their news programs and there are some interesting things to watch out for:

Some regional news will return to the night schedule. A ten minute local newscast will follow the new erect Peter National.
I noticed earlier this year that the lovely Amanda Lang, a U of M architect grad, had been wooed over from BNN. With her comes SqueezePlay co-host Kevin O'Leary. They made an entertaining duo over at BNN and should make CBCNN's business coverage a little more interesting with the Lang & O'Leary Exchange (weekdays at 4:30 p.m).

CBCNN's political beat has done away with former Don 'thanks for dumping my broad-caaast' Newman vehicle Politics and the BBC News simulcast in favour of a new show hosted by Evan Solomon, formerly of CBC Sunday. Power & Politics (5 p.m weekdays) will feature a cast of characters including Kady O'Malley, formerly of The Hill Times and Maclean's.

Mark Kelley, the National's former Correspondent for Nothing in Particular, gets a show called Connect which is going to 'involve' the public using new media such as Twitter, Skype, Facebook and I'm sure a few other social media apps that I have not yet heard of. Not sure about this one - I've yet to see a news segment or show featuring new media that doesn't come across as boring and awkward.

press for exploding pizza

I searched but there appears to be no return of the 'exploding pizza' gem ! Ah well, next round of changes, maybe.

Changes to National as CBC Unveils New Look - CBC
CBC Newsworld Gets New Name - CBC
Sweeping Changes at CBC - Media in Canada
CBC News Reveals New Look - National Post

Thursday, 22 October 2009

So, Maybe My Neighbour DOES Jerk My Chicken

Great, and cheeky, bus shelter ad campaign by TABIA, (the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas).
It's called 'Think Big-Buy Local'. A reminder in these tough times to support the little business person down the street.

'Chicken Jerk' is one of a number of posters being rolled out.

Heh !

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Glen4TO in the Race ?

Glen Murray is expected to announce in the coming days that he will be a candidate in the November 2010 Toronto mayoral election.

Aside from his campaigny-feeling facebook page, Murray now Twits with the moniker Glen4TO. Heck, he even has a personal trainer to help get him into performance mode, (note to potential future pols: GOOD idea !).

Murray, City Councillor from 1990 to 1998 and Winnipeg Mayor from 1998 to 2004, has seen his fortunes improve greatly in the past few days thanks, of all things, to the eHealth Monster that has been taking a Godzilla-like stroll through Ontario's politicos.

The immediate victim was sitting Minister of Health David Caplan who stepped down October 7, but the MinHealth on-duty while much of the Ontario eHealth kaka was happening was Ontario MPP and Deputy Premier George Smitherman. Before Miller had announced that he would not run again, Smitherman already made it known that he intended to take a shot at the job. With the eHealth Monster still on the prowl Smitherman is now reconsidering his leap to municipal politics.

So, that's one high profile candidate likely out.

John Tory
The other heavyweight contender is likely John Tory, now a radio host but former leader of the Ontario PC Party who flamed out when seeking a by-election seat in March.

Between the two men they were expected to suck up much of the media spotlight, fundraising opportunities and key political operatives around the GTA. If Smitherman bows out that would leave Tory, who has decades of Ontario political experience - aka: baggage, as the only Goliath in the race, leaving it to the media to choose a David.

Of sitting council members, the only person to officially sign up for the race is Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti. Coun. Karen Stintz announced today she would not be running. Counc. Shelley Carroll is still mulling it over.

Glen Murray
So, this leaves Murray in a bit of a sweet spot. The main stroke against him was his lack of a Toronto persona. Being a co-front runner will surely close a lot of that gap quickly, and cheaply.

Stay tuned !

**UPDATE: Murray to Run for MPP**

An historical aside....Winnipeg has had its own "serial mayor."

Francis Cornish
Francis Evans Cornish (1831-1878) was a colourful character with a love for stunts, disturbances and the drink. He served three times as Mayor of his native London,ON (1861 - 1864). In the 1870's he moved to Manitoba and became Winnipeg's first mayor serving one term (1874) before being elected to the Manitoba Legislature.

Cornish's Grave at Brookside Cemetery:

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Digital Archive Dreams !

I spend a fair bit of time digging around digital archives. Even compared to a just a couple of years ago the amount of stuff, especially on-line, is mind-boggling.

Something cool announced this week: on November 1st, 2009 National Geographic is releasing a 6 DVD set of it's ENTIRE archive going back to October 1888 !! It's technically a re-release as NG did something similar in 1997 but backed down to enter into a legal battle over the rights of a publisher to publish free-lance work.

On a related note, her are some digital archives that I sometimes dig into. The full list can be found on the sidebar of my history blog.

Virtual Heritage Winnipeg

Winnipeg Tribune Archives

Alberta Heritage Digitization Project

Peel's Prairie Provinces

Library and Archives Canada

Images Canada

Smithsonian Online Collections

Library of Congress Image Collection

UNESCO World Digital Library

Monday, 19 October 2009

That's How to Score a Council Meeting

Maybe I'm going to sound like a Luddite here but I have to share this great City Council meeting summary.

Copyright Gods forgive me, this page is from the Winnipeg Free Press Archives October 9, 1980. It's a great one page summary of the key issues and how council voted (granted this was a summary for election purposes it could also be used for single meetings).

Despite on-line newspapers, up-to-the-minute updates, live Twittering etc. this old-fashioned chart is great coverage of meetings past.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Remembering the Empire Hotel

It opened 125 years ago today !

Then and Nows Around Winnipeg

I've been spending time updating my other blogs. Here are some then-and-nows that I have found....

55 Donald, December 1963 & 2009

310 Donald 1951, 1961 (left) & 2009

The original McPhillips St. (Pumping) Station c unknown & 2008

Ellice and Balmoral Looking South 1950 & 2008

Security Storage / Kromar Building c unknown and 2009

Friday, 16 October 2009

Local Group's National Flu Plan

Locally-based International Centre for Infectious Diseases launched a website today called BusinessFluPlan.ca.

It has advice, templates and other resources aimed at helping small and medium sized businesses (less than 500 employees) develop plans in case the flu gets worse as winter comes. Part of the program is
a national tour of cities and webinar series coming over the next month or so.

If H1N1 does pick up steam I'd be interested to see
how sick leave policies will work and whether businesses, or governments, step up to the plate about them. The PHAC rule of thumb is that if you are sick, stay home until your symptoms clear up
which can be from 2 to 7 days. Hmmmm.....

I certainly don't want someone sick serving me, especially if I am in a vulnerable state like in a hospital or similar setting. Still, I cannot imagine many people taking that sort of time off. For people in many hourly jobs, say at a restaurant or retail, three days off means three days no pay. Even for those with generous sick leave policies a lot of people will try to work through an illness or come back to work while still showing symptoms.

A CROP poll released yesterday found that nearly 25% of Queb├ęcois would show up at work even if they knowingly were sick with the H1N1 virus. That's not going to do much to help contain things.


PHAC's "Business & H1N1" page.

HR: Prepare your business, staff for H1N1 concerns
Winnipeg Free Press Oct 10, 2009
Retailers and many other businesses are also providing hand sanitizers at every counter while facility managers have placed special hand sanitizer modules in front of their elevators.

Swine flu raises questions about sick leave policies
CBC News September 25, 2009
Smaller businesses that can't afford to pay employees to take time off when they are sick are struggling with what to do if a second wave of swine flu hits this fall.

Biggest pandemic worry for business: absenteeism
CIDRAP News Sep 25, 2009
Business officials who attended a conference this week on how the business world can cope with the H1N1 influenza pandemic said employee absenteeism was far and away their leading concern

Business panelists stress practicality to slow flu spread
CIDRAP 23 September 2009
To mask or not to mask, hand washing versus hand sanitizers, how long to stay away from the workplace if sick with novel H1N1 influenza, tips for travel—these were some of the issues addressed in a panel discussion yesterday during a business preparedness summit in Minneapolis.

Crossing fingers won't lick H1N1
Winnipeg Sun 22 September 2009
One business owner I talked to recently told me that the company's plan to deal with any potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus and the impact it may have on the business is to simply cross their fingers and hope for the best.

Survey: U.K. businesses see flu risk but have planning gaps
Financial Times Sep 21, 2009
A survey of 400 companies by the British law firm DLA Piper revealed that about half of them believe they are at high or very high risk for disruptions caused by the next wave of pandemic flu. About 80% said they were reviewing their continuity plans, but only slightly more than half had communicated the strategies to employees, customers, or suppliers.

Monday, 12 October 2009

U of M Study Gets to H1N1's Core

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) pre-released three H1N1-related studies today.
The largest study is that from a team of scientists led by the U of M's Dr. Anand Kumar. They monitored 168 critically ill H1N1 patients and found that, though the average patient age was 32, the fatality rate was 17% indicating that young people appear to be most at-risk to the H1N1 virus.
The U of M study appears to back up the smaller, related studies also published today:

Mexico Study:
58 critically ill patients; median age 44; fatality rate 41%.

Australia / N.Z. Study:
68 critically ill patients; median age 34; fatality rate 21%.

The research found that access to mechanical respirators is key as patients' respiratory systems appear to become quickly overwhelmed once they reach the point of serious illness.
Kumar says that the results are not cause to panic, as reported by HealthDay News:

"...the value of this paper is to alert and sharpen the thinking of the authorities in terms of making sure that we do have strategies in place to mitigate what's likely to happen.... As long as we prepare, it should be handled."

Critically Ill Patients With 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Infection in Canada
JAMA Oct 12, 2009

- Young Canadians Most At-Risk
Toronto Star Oct 12, 2009

- Sickest swine flu patients require heroic measures
Reuters Oct 12, 2009

For daily H1N1 media updates with emphasis on Manitoba and Canada see Dumpling's sister blog H1N1 Daily Media.