Category Archives: Winnipeg

23 Sep

Random Thoughts – Old Country Transit, Brian Bowman, Grande Parade and More

1. I was astounded to read that Winnipeg Transit, cash-starved to the point that they’re faced with having to cut back on routes, will be spending a whopping $300,000 on a pilot project to put Wi-Fi on a dozen of their buses. Judging from just a sample of the comments I’ve been seeing on my Twitter feed, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Obviously, Transit remains as unreliable as ever with schedules acting as little more than rough guidelines, a source of much frustration for me when I lived there. Yet such serious problems along with mounting driver and passenger safety issues get nothing more than lip service from City Hall as they instead plough ahead pouring tons of cash into that silly Rapid Transit and other boutique projects. As Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck once put it, it’s like building a pool in the backyard of a house with a crumbling foundation.

2. No incumbent Winnipeg mayor since Unicity has been defeated at the polls, but as he piles on debt with reckless spending while allowing core services to deteriorate, it sure sounds like Brian Bowman is trying awfully hard to become the first.

3. This morning, I spotted a cyclist headed north on Merritt Street with a helmet strapped to his handlebar. His skull might get cracked open if he gets into an accident, but at least his handlebar will be well protected.

4. I know some people like to gossip, but I never saw anyone proud enough to put it up on a sign before.

5. I’m sure the neighbors appreciated the homeowner on Powerview Avenue who was blasting his radio so loud this morning that I could hear it from a block away.

6. Call me a skeptic, but I get the feeling that these bikes may be a little, shall we say, warm. Not just because of the heat.

7. “Your” not an English major, are you …

8. They don’t seem to get the “pictur” …

9. I spotted this interesting character/”community resident” downtown today. I was particularly intrigued by the plastic bags he was using for shoes and a shirt.

10. “Coorlight.” For the taste of the Rockie.

11. From the St. Catharines Department of Redundancy Department:

12. I know the Grande Parade is a big deal around these parts, but I never realized how big of a deal it was until I saw people laying out towels and chairs more than two hours before the first float. It’s just a parade, folks.

13. An older gentleman on Carlton Street genuflected as I passed by. Have I suddenly become the sign of the devil?

30 May

Book Release: Shattered Dreams

Hot on the heels of my fourth book, View from Section 26, I am pleased to announce the release of my fifth – Shattered Dreams: Diary and Downfall of a Utopian Socialist in the Heart of the Canadian Prairies. Very different than any of my previous books, this is a heavily sarcastic tale featuring idealistic social worker Gavin York, who sets foot in Winnipeg to begin his career, convinced of his opportunity to change the world. After enduring many trials and tribulations in Canada’s toilet bowl, Gavin eventually sours on his insufferable adopted home city and opens his eyes to the harsh reality of socialism and its disastrous long-term consequences once the unsustainable welfare state in Manitoba comes crashing down on him.


Although this is a work of fiction, it is based on many factual incidents I’ve encountered over the course of many decades in Winnipeg. The reader is free to judge as to its similarity to real life.

Click here for the paperback edition and here for the electronic edition.

26 Jul

One Last Tour of Winnipeg

Touring Winnipeg for one last time today
Only made me wish I had already flown away

The variety of debris on the streets I did not miss
Including broken glass, a condom wrapper and a bottle of piss

Profanity fills the air, it’s all around
Some even take the time to write it on the ground

A bum stands in the middle of traffic using a ski pole like a cane
Another spreads across the trail getting in his push-ups before it does rain


A car with Minnesota plates parks outside a hotel called Mere
For the love of Pete™, what are they doing here?

A cyclist approaching a stop sign neither signals nor stops
If only the city had some real cops

They flaunt their authority to me and you
Their motto is “Do as we say not as we do”


Another hole poorly marked and not well lit
You’ll likely only see the sign after you hit it


Someone digs through a garbage bin hunting for buried treasure
Or a cigarette butt that might give him a few seconds of pleasure

What will I do without seeing any of this ever again?
Rest assured I won’t miss much of this city on the plain

24 Jul

Goodbye, Manitoba

Now that my upcoming move is official, for those of you who are not already aware, I can announce that I will be soon be pulling up stakes and leaving the only city and province I have ever called home.

My reasons for leaving the SPRM are numerous and could fill a novel that would make War and Peace look like a short story. It is a novel I do not wish to write. Rather than belabor the negative, I would instead prefer to focus on the many positive memories and friendships I have made during my time in this part of the world. For those of you who know me, please know that your friendship has meant a great deal to me over the years and it is one of the very few reasons that makes my decision to leave the SPRM difficult.

There are also many sights and places I will miss. Gimli. The bike rides to Lockport and Selkirk. Fraser’s Grove Park. Deacon’s Corner. Headingley. The White Horse. The memory garden at Grace Hospice. The bus trips around Manitoba and to Minneapolis.

Though I am saddened by the prospect of never seeing these places again, I am eagerly looking forward to discovering my new surroundings. Niagara beckons and I will soon be speaking to you from the Garden City of St. Catharines, Ontario. Good bye to my many dear friends and please keep in touch, as I will with you. I will soon have a new title for this blog, where I will continue posting updates as I cover the Niagara Region and surrounding area.

26 Jun

Winnipeg’s Next Mayor

Of late, I have been paying attention to the embryonic stages of Winnipeg’s mayoralty campaign as prospective candidates and candidateettes jockey for your vote in the hopes of succeeding Slippery Sam Katz at City Hall.

I think many Winnipeggers share my opinion that Katz has more than overstayed his welcome in the mayor’s chair and needs to go. His recent decision not to stand for re-election was perhaps the smartest move he’s made in several years.

The question now remains as who will succeed him. Thus far, the four most prominent contenders don’t look impressive.

For starters, there’s Judy Wasylycia-Leis. Only a dead-red socialist like her could inspire a run to the ballot box to support Sam Katz and it was likely only her candidacy that earned Katz another term. I’ve listened as she’s promised to magically fix all the roads and sewers with her Midas-like touch and put a critter in every pot, all while keeping tax increases modest and predictable.

If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

I used the line in the last civic election that Sam Katz is like a wart on your finger. Voting for Judy is the moral equivalent of cutting off your arm at the shoulder to get rid of it.

I was intrigued by Brian Bowman’s candidacy until I heard him speak at Socialism Illustrated’s so-called “News Café.” He calls himself a conservative, but he sounded every bit like a member of the NDP. I was shocked when he almost seemed to support the recent PST increase and he even had the nerve to suggest that if the province had held a referendum on the PST increase, as was required by law, it would pass. To quote a former friend of mine, “What’s he been smoking?” If he is a member of either the Manitoba PC Party or the federal Conservative Party, I hope he has enough honor to turn in his membership card. I don’t agree with Judy’s leftist leanings, but I at least respect her for being honest and straightforward about them.

Bowman may be new to the political arena, but he is one smooth operator. Too smooth, in fact. Reported connections between him and the Chipman family make me even less inclined to support him. I don’t want Sam Katz, Jr. as the next mayor any more than I want Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

Paula Havixbeck seemed to make the most sense to me and I would probably lean towards supporting her. She’ll probably garner some sympathy votes for being a single mother, but otherwise, I don’t think she has enough name recognition to win the election. She might also be getting in over her head.

When I heard Gord Steeves speak, he reminded me of the line in one of the Peanuts episodes when Lucy was talking about Charlie Brown. Wishy one day, washy the next. I would rather see him in office than either of Judy or Brian Bowman, but I certainly didn’t get much of a positive impression from him. He would probably qualify as the “do nothing, mind the store” candidate, attributes that could potentially make him appealing. Many past mayors and councillors have won elections as the least undesirable option, but I’m not sure he has a high enough profile to pull it off.

I think many in Winnipeg are thrilled that Sam Katz will be gone after this coming election. Who will succeed him, however, may be no better and could very well be worse, perhaps even much worse. Don’t be surprised if Katz’s legacy begins to look much better as the years go by.

09 May

Ode to a Failed Bike Thief

A bum spots a bike that looks like an easy hit
Despite the onlooking crowd, he doesn’t hesitate a bit

He tries to pry the lock free
But soon realizes this is not a case for ingenuity

He gives the lock a mighty tug hoping it will break
This guy is lower than a snake

Time and again, he pulls with all his might
He finally gives up and disappears from sight

Disgusted, he returns and yanks on it one more time
But all his work didn’t net him a dime

If he put that kind of effort into finding a job
He wouldn’t need to steal and rob

03 May

Classic Bus Story

This morning, I saw a bus pulling out of the Polo Park bus loop. Someone on the sidewalk behind me must have wanted that bus, so he took off in full sprint after it. I got out of his way and watched as he put Jesse Owens to shame while the bus sat and waited at Portage Avenue.

I didn’t think he had much of a chance to catch it, but he completed the 40-yard dash in a time that would make NFL scouts swoon and made it to within spitting distance of the bus.

Then the bus took off.

A knife to the gut that only Winnipeg Transit can deliver.

Been there.

Done that.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or both.

20 Apr

Random Act of Malice

Seconds after leaving Deacon’s Corner today, I spotted a curious-looking item lying in middle of the shoulder.

In my travels, I see plenty of junk lying on the road and in the ditch. There are times I think there is more garbage on the side of Manitoba highways than there is in the Brady Road landfill site. Unfortunately, this was no ordinary piece of trash cavalierly discarded out of a motorist’s window.


As you can see, this is a steak knife, deliberately and carefully placed with the blade up, just waiting for an unsuspecting motorist or cyclist to drive over it and Saskatchewanize their tire. As I investigated further, I noticed that someone had kicked enough sand up to the base to keep it upright so the wind wouldn’t blow it over.

Inconsiderate behavior in this part of the world hardly warrants front-page news. This stunt, however, struck me as particularly insidious. The sick-minded individual who planted this booby trap on the highway might call it clever, but other words such as malicious and nasty come to mind. In any event, I foiled this person’s attempt at humor by kicking the knife off the highway.

Another day, another random act of malice in the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba.

09 Apr

More Manitoba Moments

A bum heads for a dumpster and pokes his head in
He moves on quickly, the pickings must be slim

Another aimlessly wanders across the road not caring where the cars were
Speeding traffic was evidently of little concern to her


An attention-starved jogger illegally runs on the street, this is rude
It’s too bad Winnipeg cops don’t have the balls to ticket this obnoxious dude


Someone is “hireing” a new employee
This place doesn’t see the need to use a dictionary

Moving indoors, a pillar of these great lands
Takes a leak and leaves without washing his hands

Then another stands next to me
Grunting like a stuck pig as he takes a pee

I followed someone whose pants had a large trap door
There was a rip down his leg two feet or more


If you order chicken “shnitzel” at this restaurant when they ring the dinner bell
Hope they can cook better than they can spell

Yet another adventure in the heart of this mecca of socialism
Leaves me only with an increased level of cynicism

19 Mar

More Rudeness in Winnipeg

Rudeness comes in all forms. In Winnipeg, it permeates every corner of the city and is hardly noteworthy when it happens. Politeness has increasingly gone out of style and the “Friendly Manitoba” moniker on the license plates is an urban legend that ceased to be appropriate more than a decade ago.

But when an elderly woman hobbling around in a walker displays the type of boorishness normally associated with a juvenile delinquent, even a hardened soul like myself pays attention.

While on Henderson Highway recently, I came up to a crosswalk. A man on the east side of the street pressed the walk button, waited for cars to stop and began crossing. At the curb on the west side was this elderly woman leaning on her walker who evidently also wanted to cross the street. With the cars stopped and lights flashing, she had ample opportunity to step out on to the street and cross at the same time.

But she chose not to do so.

Instead, she deliberately waited until the man had crossed and had both feet on the west side before stepping out into the street, thus delaying traffic much longer. She might as well have been holding a sign that read “Up Yours.”

Meanwhile, she had not cared enough to press the walk button again and the lights had long since stopped flashing. An inattentive motorist could easily have gone through the crosswalk without knowing someone was trying to cross. I can just imagine the outcry of support that she would have received if she had been hit.

We generally give the elderly much more respect than we do others. And in Winnipeg, this is how it is returned.

“Friendly Manitoba” indeed.