My father lives in Winnipeg and I visit him several times a year. During these weekend visits we mostly relax and catch up but we both enjoy going out to explore and see things. Never know what you might find when you do!
Like most North American cities (and maybe even more than most), Winnipeg is a rich mosaic of people from different countries. This cultural and ethnic diversity is highlighted in a series of festivals throughout the year the most notable of which is Folklorama, an annual 2 week celebration. Immigrants and their descendants set up “Pavilions” around the city (often in school auditoriums or community centers) in which the traditional food, song, dance, and artifacts from that country are displayed and celebrated. For example, the South Korean pavilion, in addition to tasty Korean food, will host expert TaeKwondo demonstrations nightly during Folklorama. Another example — everyone loves to go to the Italian pavilion because of the great home cooked food! You get the picture — there are dozens of these around town.
But this visit was in September and Folklorama was over for the year. Instead we decided to go to the Manitoba Legislative building to enjoy its lovely fountains and grounds and walk along the Assiniboine River. Not more than a few minutes into our journey we stumbled upon a parade of Sikhs that could just as easily have been in India as Canada. Lead by a Cowerson of very pale-skinned bagpipers (note: most every parade in a Commonwealth country has bagpipes in it!), a colorfully garbed group of Indian descent marched by twirling balls and batons, pounding drums, or parading with flags.
The parade kind of tapered off around Memorial Park, across the street from the Manitoba Legislative building, where there was a large gathering of Sikhs — and anyone else who wanted to join them! Rice and curry were being served free of charge, along with bottled water, and folks were just standing around chatting and having a good time. The beautifully colored clothes of the women were incredibly photogenic so my right index finger kept clicking the camera’s shutter. It seemed that a large tent was set up for entertainment later in the day, though we didn’t wait around for it to start.
I never did find out exactly what they were celebrating but we had a pleasant time enjoying the parade and mingling in the gathering. Here’s some of what we saw that day.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)