Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Read all about it: Free Press turns 138 today !

Yes, indeed. On November 30, 1872 Volume 1 Number 1 of the Manitoba Free Press rolled off the presses in a small building near present day James and Main Streets.

If you go to Manitobia.ca you can read the entire first edition - no Nick Martin does not have a column ;)

To read more from Today in Manitoba History ...

Monday, 29 November 2010

Rapid Transit: the more things change ... UPDATED

As I go though old newspapers for my research I often come across articles that make me say 'man, as a city it takes us a long time to get anywhere'.

Here's an example in which I have blocked the names to see if you can figure out what year it is from.
Answer posted here later in the day OR,if you're the impatient type, I've inserted it on one of my other blog properties.....

Bus options weighed for transit corridors

Winnipeg Free Press, xxxxxxx

While there is agreement Winnipeg could use rapid transit corridors, there is no agreement yet on the kinds of vehicles that would operate along them.

XXXX said the Southwest Corridor will likely be a diesel busway in the beginning, although he said he'd prefer Winnipeg converting to more and more electrically-powered buses.

YYYYY said he prefers a diesel busway for the South Winnipeg corridor because of the low cost to build an exclusive busway, estimated at about $75 million. YYYY added Winnipeg Transit could continue to use its current fleet in the new corridor, construction of which could be started in about two years if city council moves fast on a proposal that would see the private sector pick up much of the capital cost of the system.....

Transit networks in major cities have a combination of buses, light rail, subways and trolleys.
Winnipeg, which dismantled its trolleys in the early 1970s, only has diesel buses. It's the only city, with a 650,000 plus population, without a rapid transit corridor, XXXX and YYYY admitted.....

A note that the 'private sector proposal' included the long-term leasing and selling of land along the corridor for construction of commercial and residential complexes. The city would use the monies raised to offset their $25m share of the construction.


The Free Press article is from October 30, 1993. 'XXXX' is Terry Duguid, then-chair of the works and operations committee. 'YYYY' is Rod McCrae, then-commissioner of public works.

How long ago was October 30, 1993 ?

- That evening you could have caught an episode of the rookie series Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

- The sports page lamented the Jets' 4-3 loss to the L.A. Kings the night before. Highlights: thanks to a great face-off win by Jari Kurri, Rob Blake slapped one by Bob Essensa in OT. Winnipeg's Kris King got a major penalty for elbowing.

- The Nightmare Before Christmas and Cool Runnings were showing at the cinema.

- The NDP was fighting for official party status in Parliament as they were reduced to just 9 seats in the previous weeks federal election.

As of 2010 Winnipeg is still examining which mode of transport to use on a rapid transit corridor which has yet to be completed.

My next update will be in November 2016.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Farewell to West Central STREETS

Farewell to a West End institution !

West Central Streets community newspaper has been around for fifteen years chronicling the lives of those living in the section of the West End stretching from Arlington Street east to Carlton. The mandate was not to cover the neighbourhood 'news' but "to give voice to the interests, struggles and strengths of the people in the community". That it did.

St. Paul Street, Winnipeg

Produced by a revolving team of neighbourhood volunteers under the editorship of Erica Wiebe, each edition had a different focus both in terms of subject matter and the part of the neighbourhood covered.

Artists, community volunteers, 'old timers', new immigrants, first time West-Enders, recovering addicts, even yours truly, have appeared in the pages.

West End Mural

Over the years it has covered numerous workshops and community meetings on issues such as youth recreation, crime and prostitution. They began celebrating the murals of the West End, (years before Where Winnipeg caught onto them), talked about the history of some of the streets and introduced new institutions such as the Ellice Cafe and Theatre to West-Enders.

It's not always pretty. Stories of triumph and interesting characters shared space with those about life on the periphery of society and the victims, and sometimes the perpetrators off crime.

Central Park, African Market
The November / December 2010 edition is typical example. Features include:

- A woman from Nelson House who uses the West End Women's Resource Centre (which just moved to 640 Ellice).

- An editorial from a Cumberland area resident questioning whether it is violent crime, or the perception of violent crime, that's running rampant in parts of the West End.

- A 'streeter' on what residents think of the 'new' Central Park.

- In the 'New Neighbours' section, a former Winnipegger who returned from Ottawa after getting her degree. (She finds that "There are more people walking around ....Neighbours know each other and talk to each other. That's different from other neighbourhoods")

- A woman who moved into a 'pocket suite' five years ago and the adjustments that she had to make.

- A newly arrived family from Congo trying to find their way in a new country.

- A daycare director retiring after 31 years, interviewed appropriately by one of her former charges !

- In a Central Park focus, a profile of three of the people responsible for the African revival in the area.

It ends, as always, with a Community Exchange feature. A combination want ads / skills bank where you can find everything from a tree pruner to a jewelery maker to interpreter services.

Ellice Street Festival 2008

Unfortunately, West Central Streets never made it on-line. During the ups and downs that the West End has had in the past few years it would have been nice to have it out there to counter the 'it's all going to hell' stance that most media have taken at times to the area.

The main funder of West Central Streets was LITE and their funding, ($6,000 in 2009), has ended. The current edition, (November - December, available at a number of agencies and retail outlets in the area), is their penultimate one. A final edition will be available at the end of January.

It's a little piece of the West End that will be missed.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Do you think Subway, or Mr. Sub, will bite ?

Earlier this week, Montreal's Société de transport de Montréal announced that it is seeking corporate sponsors for its four subway lines. They won't be selling the 'naming rights' to the lines, affectionately known as Green, Blue, Yellow and Orange. Actually, after reading this Globe and Mail article about it, it's kind of hard to tell what exactly they want to sell.
They're not the first to float the idea. Philadelphia unveiled At&T Station in the summer. Earlier this month, Chicago's Transit Authority called for bids to the naming rights for their L Train lines, stations and even bus routes. Given the dire economic conditions in many U.S. cities which are leading to massive scale-backs in service,you'll see more cities going for the idea.

Winnipeg, of course, officially unveiled Sponsor Winnipeg in 2007. Everything from Zambonis to reading rooms (though not transit lines) were put up for grabs. By October 2009 things were looking a bit dismal.

How are things now ? Well, checking with the program's website doesn't reveal any clues as, oddly, it does not list anyone who has stepped up ?! Maybe it's supposed to be like a Secret Santa sponsorship.

From The Googles I've found a few examples: BFI for $1million; Brematson and Associates for $25k; Zellers for $300k and that appears to be it.

Yes, this is the Winnipeg Rapid Transit logo !
A rumour still persists that Winnipeg may actually have some sort of rapid transit line in place before the turn of the century. I wonder if selling stops and stations will be on the agenda ?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

1906 San Fransisco Earthquake - Before and After

Some great, eerie footage from early San Fransisco. 

It's film taken of a drive down a bustling Market Street in 1905 followed by footage of the exact same drive in 1906, after the April 18th San Fransisco earthquake and fire

The disaster impacted 490 city blocks, destroying about 25,000 structures. Seven hundred people were said to have lost their lives, though more modern accounts say that the death count was likely many times that. Most of the dead were never recovered.

They say that after 20 years all photographs are significant. The person(s) responsible for shooting film of what was an ordinary day on an ordinary main street in 1905 could not have imagined what they were capturing.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Hurrah for London's New Double Decker !

London's sexy new double decker (source)
Earlier this month London Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled a prototype of the new double decker bus design that will hit London streets by 2012.

King's Cross
Since deregulating some of the transit system in the 1980s the streets of London had become a hodge-podge of bus designs. You were as likely to see an articulated bus than a double decker. The deckers you did see were of the bland, boxy Volvo variety.

King's Cross
London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum
For a city that had always combined iconic design and transportation though the Tube, Black Cabs and the Routemaster, it's nice to see a return of something absolutely, unmistakably London, (and being able to hop-on, hop-off again will be nice, too !).

Image Gallery of new bus design The Guardian
London’s Double-Decker Bus for 21st Century Revealed psfk.com
The new Routemaster bus is a design cacophony The Guardian
Inside the London Transport Museum My Flickr Page
A City's Transportation History West End Dumplings

January 2012 UPDATE:
Bus Prototype Hits the Streets

Monday, 22 November 2010

Stan Rogers wuz here

Well, okay, not really Stan Rogers, but the next next thing.

On Saturday afternoon there was a showing of the documentary One Warm Line: The Legacy of Stan Rogers  at Cinematheque. It was part of the Canadian Folk Music Awards  programming around town. Four of the people who knew Rogers best were there to celebrate: his wife Ariel, son Nathan and Rogers' musical friend and guitar maker Grit Laskin and his producer Paul Mills. Each performed a couple of tunes and shared some great stories about the legend.

A story I liked was about Barret's Privateers and how it was written in just 25 minutes ! A kitchen party broke into a sea-shanty session. Tired of having to sit back and sing-along with the choruses, Rogers disappeared upstairs and returned a few minutes later, with pen and paper in hand, and a shanty of his own !

Rogers died in an airplane fire at the age of 33 and Canada lost one of her great voices. Covering his death, a Canadian Press story quoted Rogers as saying "I want to reflect my times and leave something behind the world can look at 100 years from now".

Well, just 27 years later, a theatre full of people gathered on a cold, wintry afternoon to listen to his music and sing-along the choruses of Northwest Passage and Mary Ellen Carter. You can't get much more 'Canadiana' than that ! I think another 75 years from now you will find people doing the same !

Nathan Rogers, is a singer/songwriter in his own right, nominated for best contemporary artist of the year. He has certainly inherited his father's great baritone and can do a powerful cover of Stan's tunes. Listening to some of his original music, he certainly inherited his father's gift for telling a great story.

Nov. 6, 1981 Winnipeg Free Press

A couple of Rogers family notes:

- There is a new CD coming soon from Fogarty's Cove Music. A digitally remastered Very Best of Stan Rogers.

- Nathan Rogers will be teaming up with Len Podolak for shows this Monday and next at Shannon's Irish Pub.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

For Sale / Sold November 2010

My semi regular look at for sale and sold properties in and around Winnipeg. Click here for September.

Ever dream of being a small town hotelier and own a bar where, truly, everyone knows your name ? (And who you're sleeping with, and why your first wife dumped you and about that stupid trick you tried in high school that got you picked up by the Mounties etc., etc.). The historic Elm Creek Hotel is for sale for a mere $325k.

Mmmm... the North Star Drive INN on McGregor is for sale ! I've not been but from the reviews it seems like you'd have a legacy to live up to ! If year-round and suburban is more your style, Rally's in Elmwood is also for sale.

Former Salvation Army Citadel
Ah, the poor former Salvation Army Citadel. Like many of our heritage buildings she's been invited to the renovation dance but at the last minute was left sitting at home. A great looking building, a great location. It can be yours for $395k. Heck, maybe the Salvation Army could move back in !

Well, look who has been sold again. The Hample Building. Maybe with the neighbouring Avenue Building coming along nicely, this might be the Hample's chance at a new life. Stay tuned !

Need to move your staff to somewhere more inspiring ? How about this former church on Valour Road ! It has 5,000 square feet, nice tall ceilings and a couple of huge stained glass windows by Leo Mol. Buy it for $219k and, eventually, the windows could be worth more than the building !


- Aside from a few vacant residential lots, not much for sale on the city website. That must mean that someone has bought the old Kelvin CC site on Henderson.
- The Great Canadian Travel Company building on Fort is for sale.
- Step'n Out, formerly of the Exchange District and now on Provencher Boulevard is up for sale.
- Are the Aspers selling off Canwest Tower ?!?! No, wait a second...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Antibiotics and Superbugs - Updated

In recent years the growth in antibiotic-resistant infections has become a major public health issue. So-called 'superbugs' have gone from isolated outbreaks to being almost endemic in some health care facilities and are spreading into the community at large.

Winnipeg's National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) is a partner in Antibiotic Awareness Day 2010.

On Thursday, November 18th, they will be hosting nine free webinars by Canadian experts in the area of antibiotic use and resistance. For a full list of webinar topics, how you can join, and a list of other resources visit the Antibiotic Awareness Day website.

On Friday November 19th there will be a presentation at the U of M Bannatyne Campus entitled  Antibiotic Use and Resistance.

See here for a 'q and a' on antibiotic resistant infections.

Clostridium difficile bacteria, "C-diff" (source)

Some recent media articles on the topic: 


Antibiotic Awareness Day in Canada
News Release

Antimicrobial resistance: revisiting the “tragedy of the commons”
World Health Organization Bulletin, Vol 88, Nov 2010
When the NDM1 enzyme-containing “superbugs” struck in India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom earlier this year, media reports blamed medical tourism for its spread. But in this interview, Professor John Conly, Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Calgary, argues that the overuse and misuse of antibiotics leading to antimicrobial resistance is the more important topic.

C. diff outbreak continues at St. Joe's
The Hamilton Spectator, 15 Nov 2010
The C. difficile outbreak at St. Joseph's Healthcare has grown by another case, bringing to 27 the number of patients contracting the painful and insidious infection since the beginning of October.

Several cases of C.difficile, MRSA at Ontario hospital
The Canadian Press, 13 Nov 2010
A hospital in Peterborough stopped admitting patients to one of its units as of Friday because of an "uncommon" outbreak of three different bacteria, including two superbugs.

Drug-resistant superbug cases rising in Canada
CTV.ca 10 Nov, 2010
The Public Health Agency of Canada says eight cases of NDM-1 bacterial infection, which is immune to most, if not all, antibiotics, have now been confirmed


The Abuse of Antibiotics, Part 1
The Abuse of Antibiotics, Part 2
The Abuse of Antibiotics, Part 3
The Epoch Times, 16 Nov 2010

CDC Launches Third Annual Campaign to Raise Awareness on Antibiotic-resistant infections
‎The Centers for Disease Control News Release, 15 Nov 2010
Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health threats. To bring attention to this increasing problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government partners will observe its third annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week on November 15-21, 2010.

A Variety Of Types Of C Difficile Are Now Common Across European Hospitals
Medical News Today, 16 Nov 2010
These findings underscore the importance of local surveillance to detect and control endemic and epidemic C difficile infection.

Britain has highest rates of dangerous superbug in Europe: research
The Telegraph (UK) , 16 Nov 2010
Britain has the highest proportion of a dangerous 'super-strain' of the hospital bug Clostridium difficile in Europe, according to a new study.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Remembering Louis Riel

Riel ca. 1885 (source)
All I can suggest or advise you is to prepare to meet your end, that is all the advice or suggestion I can offer.  It is not my painful duty to pass the sentence of the court upon you, and that is,  that you be taken now from here to the police guard-room at Regina, which is the goal and the place from whence you came, and that you be kept there till the 18th of September next, that on the 18th of September next you be taken to the place appointed for you execution, and there be hanged by the neck till you are dead, and may God have mercy on your soul. 

Justice Hugh Richardson, July 31, 1885 (source)

It was 125 years ago today, (not September 18th as indicated at sentencing), that Louis David Riel went to the gallows.

Despite the years, Riel is still a polarizing figure. Often showing that split between the East and the West.

There are some great on-line resources, many that include recently discovered primary sources, that give us insight beyond the 'crazy half-breed' persona that the government and much of the media labeled him with over a century ago.

Louis Riel Collection Peel's Prairie Province
The Trial of Louis Riel University of Missouri-Kansas School of Law
The Birth of Manitoba Manitobia
The Day Louis Riel Hanged Manitoba Historical Society

Other Resources:
Rethinking Riel CBC Archives
Louis David Riel Manitoba Historical Society
Louis Riel Historica Minute Video
Louis Riel Image Album  University of Manitoba

Monday, 15 November 2010

Transformations: Main and Alexander

Back in August the United Way of Winnipeg moved into their new $10m headquarters on Main at Alexander. At the time construction was ongoing but it is now pretty much complete. A look back at what has become a rather nice addition to the landscape, both physically and as a community resource ....

United Way  Relocation a Reality UW Media Release May 2009
New Address for United Way UW News Release July 2010

Construction photos 
(also see the United Way headquarters update page and my photo gallery)

August 2009

Sept 2009:

Nov 2009:
United Way Building
Jan. 2010
United Way Building
March 2010
United Way Headquarters
April  2010
New United Way Headquarters
June 2010
United Way Building 
 September 2010
United Way Headquarters
United Way Headquarters
October 2010
United Way Headquarters

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Combining elections and housing !

Election sign house !

I've worked on a number of election campaigns and there is sometimes the post-election issue of what to do with election signs. Often a candidate will keep them for another election but, for assorted reasons, they might not be needed or wanted.

On a couple of occasions I was contacted by high school drama teachers. Turns out the corrugated plastic is ideal for building sets. Lightweight, paintable and easy to store for reuse.

I found the above ingenious use of election signs in the yard of a house off of Bannatyne Avenue. A combination housing material and electoral history lesson ! I'll have to stop sometime and ask the guy how they hold up to the elements !

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Winnipeg, Armistice Day, 1918
Armistice Day Nov 11 1918 
Gimli MB:
Gladstone, MB:

Gladstone, Manitoba 
Kelwood MB:
Kelwood Manitoba
Neepawa MB:
Neepawa, Manitoba
Neepawa, Manitoba
Selkirk MB:
Veterans Memorial Gardens
Veterans Memorial Gardens
St. Andrews MB:
St. Andrew's Church
Winnipeg Cenotaph:
Winnipeg Cenotaph

Carberry MB:
Carberry MB War Memorial
West Kildonan MB (now Winnipeg):
West Kildonan War Monument
Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg:
Brookside Cemetery
Brookside Cemetery
Brookside Cemetery
Brookside Cemetery
Teulon MB:
War Memorial
Winged Angel (CP Employees), Deer Lodge Centre, Winnipeg
Wm Harvey Set Photo 27: Harvey
Wm Harvey Set Photo 26: CPR Winged Angel Monument (4)
Photo 23: CPR Winged Angel Monument 1 (plaque)
Argyle MB:
Argyle War Memorial
Lost Airmen, Memorial Boulevard, Winnipeg:
Lost Airmen
Rivers MB:
Rivers MB
Glenboro MB:
Glenboro MB War Memorial
Valour Road, Winnipeg:
Valour Road Mural
Valour Road
Commonewealth Women in Service, Memorial Boulevard, Winnipeg:
Women in Service
St-Pierre Jolys MB:
St - Pierre - Jolys
Douglas MB:
Douglas MB War Memorial
Minnedosa MB:
Cenotaph, Minnedosa
Soldier's Relatives' Memorial, Winnipeg:
Vimy Ridge Park, Winnipeg:
Vimy Ridge Park
Dauphin MB:

Dauphin Manitoba
Bank of Commerce Employees, Millennium Centre, Winnipeg:
Millennium Centre
Guay Park, St. Vital (now Winnipeg):
Guay Park
Parc Coronation Park, Norwood (now Winnipeg):
Parc Coronation Park
Parc Coronation Park
Miami MB:
Miami War Memorial
Belgian Memorial, Provencher Boulevard, Winnipeg:
Belgian Memorial
Belgian Memorial
Eaton's Employees, Portage Avenue, Winnipeg:
Eaton's War memorial plates
Eaton's War memorial plates
Domain MB:
Domain MB
Bank of Montreal Employees, Winnipeg:
First World War Soldier
First World War Soldier
U of M Medical Students:
HSC / U of M Campus
Brookside Cemetery:
Brookside Cemetery