Monday, 30 November 2009

Happy Birthday Free Press & Dream a Dream !

On Nov 30, 1872 the first Manitoba Free Press rolled off the presses !

Oh, and from the good things can happen to good people category ... a life filled with adversity, including the downside of media-fuelled fame:

Susan Boyle claims number one spot with biggest debut album in UK history
Scottish Daily Record 30 November 2009

Saturday, 28 November 2009

The More Things Change: Cycling Paths in Winnipeg

UPDATED: April 3, 2016

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed this post.

I recently had the chance to do more research on the topic and the beefed-up version with a number of corrections can be found in my Winnipeg Free Press article: The Path of Most Resistance. Other notes can be found at the accompanying blog post.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Tweed Ride, Anyone ?

Back during Winnipeg's first Ciclovia I started to research the early history of cycling in Winnipeg. I forgot about that draft post until buflyer sent me this link looking to create a Winnipeg Tweed Ride in 2010 (there's also a facebook page).

Tweed rides were held last year in a number of cities including Sydney, London, Boston, Washington and San Francisco. Great idea, I'm in !

I'll post the early cycling history for the weekend !

Thursday, 26 November 2009

A Park Worthy of Downtown ?

I see that renovations to Millennium Library Park are set to begin. That's great news.

For pics of the park see my post of last year. For it's huge amount of open land our Downtown boasts very few places to sit and read, have lunch or what have you.

I can't wait until 2011 when the park is set to reopen !

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Cool 3D Flu Virus Images !

Above is one of the 3D Graphical Representations of a Generic Influenza Virus put out by the CDC today !

Kinda cool !

Cool, but what about cute ?

You can give your entire family the flu for Christmas this year. How about
gonnorhea to that special someone ? Maybe ebola to your boss ?!

Streetcar Hunting !

This month's display on the main floor of the Millennium Library is dedicated to Winnipeg's streetcar history. Check it out !
Streetcar Display

Streetcar Display
It's been an interesting few months for the Heritage Winnipeg Streetcar Committee.

The only remaining intact streetcar is believed to be 356, currently owned by Heritage Winnipeg and in storage at the Winnipeg Rail Museum at the Winnipeg Rail Museum.
Streetcar 356
Some other remnants have been known about for years such as one in a pasture near Inwood and a couple that made it out to cottage country and converted to cabins.

Earlier this summer a public appeal went out in the Southman area for streetcars and the resulting news coverage yielded some interesting results.

Tips on a few new cars came in and Steven Sothers, who has been nicknamed the Streetcar Hunter, has followed up the leads and shares the finds here.

Though many of the cars are in worse shape than 356 the broken down bodies do yield clues as to construction techniques and some missing parts.


Piece of Wpg history found in Winkler's backyard
The Winkler Times 15 Oct 2009

Hunting for ancient streetcar treasure
Winkler Times September 2009

Desire to Restore Streetcar

Winnipeg Free Press 8 Aug 2009

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Is there enough child poverty to go around ?

I guess so.

Same day. Same country. Same story. Different provinces ?

BC child poverty rates worst in the land
Prince George Citizen
BC continues to be the worst province for child poverty, according to the 2009 Child Poverty Report Card released today.

Manitoba child poverty capital
Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba is once again the child poverty capital of Canada says a report card issued by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg today.

Promising News on a Killer Disease

Today from the U.N. perhaps some promising news on the HIV/AIDS front.

In their 2009 AIDS Update the U.N. is reporting data that shows the disease may have peaked in 1996 and that the rate of infection has remained unchanged since 2007.

There are still some grim numbers, though:

33.4 million people are living with HIV worldwide
- 2.7 million people were newly infected in 2008
- 2 million people died of AIDS related illness in 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa is still the hotspot accounting for 71% of new HIV infections in 2008.
Eastern Europe, though, is expected to be the focus of new infections in the coming years. Cases have been steadily increasing fueled by injection drug use and the fact that 50% to as many as 79% of cases are yet to be diagnosed.

Western Europe is not out of the woods as gay males in the U.K. are seeing a spike in numbers. North American numbers have remained steady at 1.4m.

"The good news is that we have evidence that the declines we are seeing are due, at least in part, to HIV prevention.... However, the findings also show that prevention programming is often off the mark and that if we do a better job of getting resources and programmes to where they will make most impact, quicker progress can be made and more lives saved"
Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS

Not part of today's U.N report but specific to Canada, populations of concern include the over 50 crowd, gay men in B.C. and Canadian Aboriginal populations. In 2006 58,000 Canadians were living with HIV/AIDS.


Eight-year trend shows new HIV infections down
U.N. News Release 24 Nov 2009

- Links to UN Report including Graphics and Interactive Map

HIV infections and deaths fall as drugs have impact
BBC Nov 24, 2009

Monday, 23 November 2009

Moaning About My Mo'

Not sure how many of the guys, or ladies to be inclusive, have been doing the Movember mo' thing.

I gave it a shot. Not bad. I'll often grow a beard in winter so I knew that it would come in fairly well. I'm not a huge fan, though. I tried handlebars drooping down the side which looked kinda cool but it was more work that I thought.

Beards, especially the stubbly kind, are like a wild field. You can pretty much leave them on their own and, with minimal general maintenance, they're good to go. A 'stache of the handlebar variety, however, requires some attention and good hand eye co-ordination to keep the width and length of each bar the same. Being a morning shaver, but not a morning person, the handlebar portion has whittled away in failed attempts to even them out. The result is a fairly standard "dad" looking 'stache.

Thank goodness Movember is only one month long. Another few weeks and I'd be sporting a Hitler-style moustache.

Mo - mo -moustache party !
I saw this in the Village - a moustache party at Ragpickers ! There are apparently others out there as well to celebrate the end of Movember. Me and my whittled away upper lip can't wait for it to end !!

Because, deep down, we're prairie folk ...

...and prairie folk support prairie folk. Go Riders.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Chaplin's Back In Town !

I couldn't make last week's Gone With the Wind return. This week, I am hoping to redeem myself as another cinema great returns !

Charlie Chaplin's 1931 romantic comedy "
City Lights" is coming to the Concert Hall with the original score performed by the full Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. One show only: Thursday November 26 at 8 pm.

City Lights is considered by many to be Chaplin's best work and still ranks highly among Hollywood classics.

It was a Chaplin project from beginning to end. He produced, directed, edited, wrote the score and most of the screenplay and, of course, acted in the lead role in his 'Tramp' persona. He bankrolled it to the tune of $1.5m and shot it almost entirely on his own studio lot.

There was great anticipation for this picture. It was three years in the making and fans were desperate to see Chaplin back on the screen. Though 'silent pictures' were a becoming a thing of the past Chaplin knew that his Tramp's antics couldn't translate to talkies after all those silent years so he gave fans an interesting innovation: a full orchestral score. Add to that very favourable reviews from L.A. and New York and a visit to the city by Chaplin himself and the 'Peg was abuzz by the time it opened at the Garrick on April 24, 1931.

How were the reviews ? The Manitoba Free Press of April 25, 1931 said: "'City Lights' is the best work of a cinema genius. See it by all means and take your children". Of course Chaplin was already known to Winnipeg audiences. He toured through here many times with vaudeville groups. The Free Press seemed equally impressed with him during a stint at the Empress Theatre in November 1912:

If you want to check out tickets to the event.

Downtown Winnipeg
If you want to make it a full-Chaplin night, you should grab a beer and some nosh at the Windsor Hotel, (or at least walk by and wave to Chaplin on the balcony !). It was here that Chaplin wrote his family to break the news that he was leaving the stage as he had been offered a movie contract in Hollywood !

Charlie Chaplan
The letter appeared in a Chaplin biography and a framed copy on hotel letterhead, then called the LeClaire Hotel, can be found in the lounge.

Friday, 20 November 2009

1919 Stanley Cup final cancelled and the death of Brandon's Joe Hall

The 1918-19 Stanley Cup final between the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans was played under the shadow of an epidemic. The "Spanish" influenza was sweeping the globe, spread by troops returning home from World War I, and targeting young, otherwise healthy men.

The series took place in late March in Seattle and lasted a lasted a hard-fought five games. It included two overtime games, the March 26 match went to double overtime before being called a draw and the Canadiens won on March 31st to force the deciding game on April 1.

The Canadiens, who stayed at a hotel across the border in Victoria B.C., had their lineup ravaged by the disease. On the eve of the final game only three players: Pitre, Cleghorn and Vezina were healthy.

April 2, 1919 Winnipeg Free Press

At 2:30 pm on April 1, 1919 organizers announced that the final game was postponed indefinitely due to the illness.

Initially, there were attempts to downplay the illness. An April 3 telegram to Canadian media, supposedly sent by by Canadiens' Team Manager George Kennedy, said that the team was doing well with a few members "under the weather". That was not the case, though, as by that point Kennedy's own wife had been summoned to be by her husband's bedside due to the severity of his illness.

Things went from bad to worse as members of the Metropolitans also began falling ill

On April 5 sports fans were stunned by the news that 37 year-old Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall of Brandon, Manitoba had succumbed to the disease. (A later victim was manager Kennedy who never fully recovered from the effects of influenza and died in 1921 at the age of 39.)

Any hopes of resuming the final was put to rest and "series not completed" was engraved on the Stanley Cup.

More About Brandon's Joe Hall

Hall was born in Stafforshire, England in 1882 but his family settled in Brandon when he was a young boy. In 1900 he began making the sports pages as a cyclist, winning some regional races. A couple of years later his name became synonymous with hockey.

Early in his career, Hall earned the nickname "Bad Joe Hall" due to the fact that he was a rough, tough - and dirty - player. He spent a fair bit of time before governing bodies and watching his teams from the stands while under suspension.

One early instance was in a January 1904 game at the Winnipeg Auditorium as a member of the Brandon Rowing Club team. Some in the crowd were taunting him with calls of "Butcher" and "lobster" for his dirty play and Hall made "an alleged breach of etiquette towards the audience". (Other Manitoba  incidents can be read by clicking the above images.)

That 1904 team went on to challenge for the Stanley Cup final but lost to the Ottawa Silver Seven. Soon after, he was offered a pro contract with Portage Lake of the International Hockey League in Houghton, Michigan but turned it down to keep the Brandon lineup intact for another shot at glory.

January 3, 1906, Winnipeg Tribune

In November 1905 Hall finally went to Portage Lake but his time in the IHL was brief. 

In one of his first games on December 14, 1905, he was ejected for chopping a player with his stick. A couple of games later, against the same team, he went on a verbal tirade using profanities against a referee who then sent him off. When his outburst continued off the ice, the opposing team walked off in protest and forfeited the game. The management of the team said that he would be barred from ever entering their arena again.

Hall was back in Manitoba the following season. (It appears that he was not banned from the IHL, but a restructuring of the Canadian leagues allowed players to be paid to play at home rather than have to take up with cross border teams of the IHL.) Hall was part of the Brandon lineup that lost in the new Manitoba hockey league finals to the Kenora Thistles.

Hall's 1911 Bulldogs card (eBay)

Hall's troubles continued from team to team. A Winnipeg Tribune sports editorial of December 21, 1907 said of him:

"Hall’s one drawback as a hockey player is his temper, which, on the ice, he appears to be unable to control. Joe possesses the qualities of a great hockey player and if he could only dampen this feature, his worth would be doubled."

His saving grace, aside from the fact that he could be a good hockey player when he put his mind to it, was that he was considered a gentleman off the ice. A good-natured, family man who never got in trouble and avoided newspaper interviews.

The president of the Pacific Coast League said that "Off the ice he was one of the jolliest, best-hearted, most popular men who ever played." A Free Press writer agreed, saying that to those who knew him off the ice he was "Good Old Joe Hall".

January 21, 1913, Winnipeg Tribune

Hall played the 1910-11 season in the Quebec Hockey Association. He was perhaps beginning to mellow with age as he found his name in the papers more often for being a game star rather than for suspensions.  

He won the Stanley Cup with the Quebec Bulldogs in 1912 and 1913. A 1913 wire story said that Hall had a "unique position in the hockey world". His reputation meant that players were either wary of him or underestimated his hockey abilities which gave him the space to shine. His one drawback was the constant battle to keep himself from responding to the slashes and hits of opponents looking for the old Joe Hall.

In November 1917 the Montreal Canadiens picked Hall up from Quebec and he found himself playing in the starting line at times. In a January 1918 game the Habs beat Ottawa 5 to 3 and Joe was the game star scoring three goals, including the game winner.

As a member of the Habs he won the 1919 National Hockey Association championship which is what saw him and the team off to Seattle to play the Pacific Coast League champs for the Stanley Cup.

Despite playing for teams across the country, Brandon remained home-base for Hall, his wife Mary and their three children. He worked for the railroad on the off-season and invested in land around Brandon. (Source: Toronto World, Apr 7, 1917)

When it was clear that he may not recover, Mary was summoned from Brandon to be by Joe's bedside in Washington State. She, along with Hall's mother and sister, left immediately but they did not make it in time. A telegram came while en route stating that he had died.
Initial plans were to have Hall's body shipped from his place of death, the Columbia Sanatorium in Washington State, via Vancouver to Brandon for burial, but his final resting place ended up being Vancouver.

January 6, 1920, Winnipeg Tribune

The hockey community rallied around Joe's family. A trust fund was set up for the widow and children and  "Joe Hall Memorial Week" games were played throughout the province to raise funds. there was a game in Montreal as well. The Winnipeg game featured all-stars from various Winnipeg-based teams playing against the same from teams outside of Winnipeg. 

In all, Hall's professional career spanned 18 years. He was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

The 1918-1919 Canadiens'
Joe Hall
Hockey Hall of Fame
Hall's Death Reminder of 1919 Flu
Canwest Aug 26, 2009

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Nov 19: World Toilet Day

I almost missed it ! I was too upset over the Ireland loss yesterday !

November 19th is World Toilet Day. Sounds odd or funny but it's a serious global health issue. About half of the world's population don't have access to toilets and / or proper sanitation. Diseases as simple as diarrhea kill about 5,000 children per day according to the WTO. That's five times as many children that die of HIV/AIDS.

Oh, the WTO ? That's the World Toilet Organization. A non-profit made up of 200 or so educational, social and global health groups. Of course, they do have to have a sense of humour about themselves. One of the global events this year is The Big Squat and they do have an interesting links page of toilet related links, posters, songs amongst their more serious publications.

Hand of Gaul

I am wearing my Republic of Ireland football jersey today out of sympathy.

FAI to Lodge Official Complaint - Irish Independent
FIFA Insists No Replay -
More Ireland reaction - Irish Independent, RTÉ

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Marlborough had a Birthday Party !

... a 95th birthday party and I invited myself along !
Marlborough Hotel
Due to my day job I wasn't able to make it right at noon but I showed up fashionably late - still in time for some cake and to meet some of the senior staff. I didn't realize that there were tours involved - oh well, the 100th is around the corner and it's usually part of Doors Open.
The Marlborough doesn't receive the attention that, say, the Fort Garry does as an historic hotel, (and to be fair the building hasn't received the same TLC). Nonetheless, whenever I go I am always struck at the attention showed to the history of the building.

The historic eating rooms - Churchill's and Johanna's - are very well preserved and the building's history is celebrated through dozens of photographs, plaques, newspaper articles framed on the walls. Next time you pass by, or grab lunch at Johanna's as an excuse to visit, definitely take a look-see.

I was planning on pulling up some old tidbits and newspaper ads from the day but in an odd archival meltdown equinox the Winnipeg Free Press archives is trying to convince me that I am not a subscriber (which certainly
isn't odd), the newspaper archive at Manitobia AND the U of M Tribune archives all seem to be inaccessible ?!

c 1920s as The Olympia Hotel, post-the six storey expansion. The Kensignton Building, which housed the Olympia Café, is in the foreground.

Here's what I know:

The owners of the Olympia were four Italians, Panaro, Emma and the Badali Brothers, who came to Winnipeg in the 1890s and built food retailing businesses. The Badalis occupied a fruit store at Portage and Smith. When the Kensington building was built on the site they operated the Olympia Café on the main floor (presumably where the name for the hotel came from).
Marlborough Hotel
The Olympia Hotel, opened in 1914, was built by the firm Carter Halls Aldiger, (who brought you the St. Charles Hotel, Free Press Building among others), with architect James Chisholm (also). The original Olympia was just the bottom three floors, the stone section.

c 1915 with troops from Historic Building Report (see below)
The timing of The Olympia was terrible. A recession was on and World War I drove down any demand for additional luxury hotel space. The Olympia folded within a year. The feds needed places to house and marshal troops and that is how the Olympia spent it's next couple of years.
c 1925 as the Marlborough

The upper stories appear to have been added in two stages. The four in brick in 1921 and the top two in 1923. It was after this expansion that the hotel was renamed The Marlborough.

More recent additions include the 8 storey expansion to the north, including the Skyview Ballroom, opened in 1960. In 2004 a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion saw The Marlborough purchase the Garrick Cinema converting part of it to a waterslide park and leaving the rest as a theatre venue.

Legion commemoration:
Marlborough Hotel
A couple of interesting notes:

- Churchill's is named for Sir Winston Churchill, once a guest at the hotel.
- The Royal Canadian Legion was founded at the Marlborough in 1925.
- The Winnipeg Press Club was a long-time occupant in the Olympia Room.
- The Marlborough is Manitoba's largest banquet hotel.

Some modern snaps. Sorry, m
y pics aren't so great - the Marlborough with it's tall ceilings and dark lighting confounds my little camera !
Marlborough Hotel
Marlborough Hotel
Marlborough Hotel
Marlborough Hotel
Johanna's main window from the inside (note the Tiffany & Co. lanterns):
Marlborough Hotel
... and from the outside:
Marlborough Hotel
Video Tour - Winnipeg Sun
Olympia/Marlborough Hotel - Historic Building Committee Report (pdf)
Marlborough Hotel - U of M Winnipeg Building Index

Our History - The Marlborough Hotel

Winnipeg Poverty Survey Released

In Spring '09 the United Way's Urban Exchange panel put out a survey on poverty and Winnipeggers' perception of poverty. The report: Poverty in Sight: A Winnipeg Perspective is now out.

One thing I found kind of interesting was the response to the question 'has your life, or the life of someone you know, been affected by poverty ?'. The age groups with the highest affirmative answer, all three above 80%, were those that fell in between 35 and 64. Those in the 75+ category, (born in and around The Depression), had the lowest affirmative response among adults: 64%.

I wonder if the definition of poverty changed over the generations ?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Citizen Journalists Take Note !

An interesting item in Reuters today:

"The world's top purveyor of Internet video has launched YouTube Direct, whereby TV and online news editors can obtain video from so-called "citizen journalists" -- and even request such video be shot by amateurs seeking attention."

Here's YouTube 'splaining YouTube Direct in more detail:

Connecting citizens and journalists with YouTube Direct
Built from our APIs, this open source application lets media organizations enable customized versions of YouTube's upload platform on their own websites.

... and PC World's take on it !

YouTube Direct: Why Citizen Journalists Shouldn't Care
Great news, citizen journalists! Not only do the mainstream media have a condescending name for your ilk, but they now have a tool to help them swipe your videos, thanks to YouTube!

Monday, 16 November 2009

2010 Manitoba Municipal Election Watch

Manitoba's municipal elections take place Wednesday, October 27, 2010.

As more media stories and election websites come about, I hope to link to them from here and make it a decent reference site for 2010. It will likely get revamped a couple of times so bear with me if it's a bit awkward looking right now.

My focus will be on Manitoba races but Toronto's is going to be fun to watch as well !

City of Winnipeg
City of Winnipeg Election Office
* Incumbents
Ward maps*
*Note: new wards for 2010. See the Ward Boundaries Commission page, the draft report and related media.

Past Election Info and Coverage:
- 1953 to 2006 Civic Election Results Wiki
- 2006 Winnipeg Votes coverage, results CBC
- 2006 Mayor's race coverage, results CBC

2010 Election Info, Issues, Coverage:

- Katz eyes third term CBC Dec 08
- Promises to keep: an update on unresolved civic issues WFP Oct, 2009
- Katz's council clout in danger WFP Oct 09
- Councillor angry over new campaign finance law CBC Nov 24 2009
- Thomas Announces Mayoral Bid - CBC Dec 16, 2009
- Do Not Go Gentle, Lil - WFP Dec 16 (Welch)
Push for better candidates could change city hall - WFP Dec 16 (Lett)

- Mayorin' aint easy - Policy Frog
- Katz voters no. 1 choice: poll WFP Apr 3, 2010
- Sam vs Judy and the Others - EndlessSpin Apr 3, 2010
- NDP Refuses to support veteran councillor (Smith) WFP Apr. 15, 2010

City of Brandon
Brandon City Clerk's Department
Ward Maps

Past Election Info and Coverage:
- 1977 to 2006 Civic Election Results Wiki
- 2002 Burgess' first win, 2002 casino rejection CBC
- 2006 Thoughts on 2006 Brandon election davidmcconkey.com
- 2008 Brandon rejects casino a second time CBC

2010 Election Info, Issues, Coverage
- Quick on the Draw - Mayor Burgess Wheat City Journal
- Decter-Hirst Announces Candidacy CKLQ
- The Campaign Begins Today Endless Spin
- Brandon Sun Op Ed Page Delivers Again Endless Spin

Other Manitoba Municipalities

Municipalities Election Page - Province of MB (down)
Manitoba Community Profiles - Province of MB
Dauphin Municipal Election Page

Past Election Info and Coverage:

- 1977 to 2006 MB Municipal Election Results - Wiki
- 2006 Election resources, results - Ass'n Manitoba Municipalities
- 2006 Municipal Election Page - CBC
- 2006 33 MB Municipalities Acclaim Their Politicians - CBC

2010 Election Info, Issues, Coverage
- Election year has arrived Interlake Spectator Mar. 2010
- Democracy in Action in Morden Morden Times Apr. 2010

City of Toronto
(Oct. 25, 2010)

City of Toronto Election Office
Ward maps, profiles

Past Election Info and Coverage:
- VoteToronto web page - NGO
- I won't run again - Miller

2010 Election Info, Issues, Coverage
- Toronto Star Coverage
- Torontoist.com Coverage

- Toronto 'Better Ballots' Town Hall Meetings

- Why Would Anyone Want to Be Mayor ?
TorStar Oct 09
- Ont set to limit municipal election donations TorStar Oct 09
- Mayoral Madness: Get in the ring ! EyeWeekly.com Nov '09
- Toronto Civic Election Reform Package Globe and Mail Nov 17 '09
- Mayor's Race is On - Toronto Star Jan 4, '10

Odds and ends

Images: Winnipeg's first council 1874; Ashdown 1906 campaign ad
: 'Your Vote..' 1906 J.Fahey ad; 'The Municipal..' 1881 Wpg Daily Sun