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Grain elevators, prairie sentinels, prairie cathedrals — all synonyms for the large structures that have dotted the Canadian prairies for more than a century. I recall when traveling across the plains as a boy, you could spot these wooden towers at great distances — often 20 or more miles away — providing welcome relief to the otherwise flat landscape. Each elevator was a storage facility that marked the location of a prairie town; the larger and more plentiful elevators were in a given location, the larger and more prosperous the town.
The business of the prairies is agriculture and mechanisms needed to be developed to get the bountiful grain crops to world markets. After some experimentation with bagging the grain, it …
I’ve visited many interesting and historic places in my life, and hope to see many more. Lower Fort Garry was the very first of these and, in a way, may have stimulated my desire to see and visit unusual destinations. As a boy we traveled here by school bus for field trips, learning of the fort’s history and seeing actors in period costumes telling us about the lives they lead in the 19th century. It was a hard life — much work, long bitterly cold winters, warm to hot summers filled with millions of mosquitoes. Not at all pleasant.
Lower Fort Garry was built as a Hudson’s Bay Company post in what was then Rupert’s Land (now is Manitoba). Fort Garry …
It’s Canada’s birthday today — Happy 149th to all my Canadian friends and relatives, eh?! What better way to celebrate than to feature the American White Pelican, but in Canada. Highly symbolic of the identity crisis many in the country have, feeling neither American nor Canadian.
Pelicans are great birds to observe in nature. There’s nothing like watching a group of them catch a thermal and ride it for hundreds of yards, looking more like a formation of fighter aircraft than living creatures. Among the largest of North America’s birds, the American White Pelican is almost pure white, but with black feathers in its wings visible only when flying. Immature birds, like the one featured above, often have some dusky feathers …
A beautiful classic car spotted while visiting my dad in Winnipeg. It was parked in the lot of a shopping mall — well removed from all other vehicles (wisely so, I think). One of my classic cars, a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. Obviously lovingly maintained. I didn’t get to talk to the owner, but I think the photos tell their own story.
The Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg is home to the provincial government of Manitoba — not unlike a USA state capital building. It’s an imposing structure sitting in the heart of historic Winnipeg on the banks of the Assiniboine River, not far from “The Forks” (junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the historic heart of the city). It’s home to the legislative assembly, its committees, and offices for the ministers of all government departments. Groundbreaking for the building occurred in 1913 but delays in its construction occurred because of material shortages in the First World War, and it was not completed until 1919. It’s official opening was in 1920 on the 50th anniversary of Manitoba’s founding.
The Legislative building consists …
The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting travel destinations on the prairies It is a place with a combination of artistry and craftsmanship, economics, money, and Canadian pragmatism.
There are two mints in Canada, one in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, and the newer one in Winnipeg. The Ottawa mint is a “low-volume, high quality” facility which makes special issue and bullion coins (eg. Maple Leaf gold coins). The Winnipeg Mint is a high-volume state-of-the-art factory that makes the money Canadians use on a daily basis. Every Canadian circulation coin is produced here –- that’s about a billion coins each year. The Winnipeg mint was established in 1976 …
Manitoba is famous for its polar bears, especially the wild ones around Hudson’s Bay. For several weeks each fall Churchill draws the attention of animal lovers from around the world, as they flock to this small port town for their chance to see these massive animals on the shore of Hudson’s Bay, waiting for the water to freeze so they can go out and hunt seals.
These polar bears are completely benign, not man-eaters but created by man. We came across this colorful display of polar bears behind the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg. Beautifully and cleverly designed and executed by the artists, now presented for your enjoyment!
I love going on leisurely roadtrips. The kind where you can stop along the way, enjoy a nice view, or explore an interesting destination.
Earlier this month my dad and I drove about 300 miles from Winnipeg to Swan River to visit an uncle and aunt that live there. It had been almost 20 years since I’d made this journey, and both of us enjoyed the drive. The land was mostly flat prairie, but as you approach Swan River it becomes more interesting because of the hills, forests, and the small towns and farms you pass.
Swan River is a nice small farming-based community of a few thousand residents in east-central Manitoba. It has modest hills on each side of it and …