25 Sep

NDP Announces Revolutionary Funding Plan

Staring down his critics in advance of the upcoming provincial election, Manitoba NDP leader and Premier Greg Selinger today unveiled a new weapon to help them to not only balance the books to counter an exploding provincial deficit, but also to pay for his election promises.
At a ceremony today on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature, a number of NDP candidates joined Selinger in helping to plant the world’s first money tree.
“People always say that socialists are empty-headed dreamers living in a fantasy world who think that money grows on trees,” said a defiant Selinger. “With this money tree, we will again show our critics, and Mr. McFadyen in particular, that they are wrong. And the Jets are back.”
During the ceremony, Selinger shoveled the final bits of topsoil around the sapling that was nursed from its infancy in the greenhouse located behind the Legislative Building. Selinger held up one branch for the cameras that had a bud with a glistening golden hue.
“I think this one’s going to be a loonie,” said Selinger to a gathering of reporters and photographers. “And the Jets are back.”
“This is really a tribute to Manitoba ingenuity,” continued Selinger. “It will be able to grow even in a harsh winter climate like we have here in Manitoba and flourish in the summer months. This is one of the many reasons that I’m so proud to be a Manitoban. And the Jets are back.”
Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen was not impressed.
“This is just another act of desperation on the part of the NDP. A forest of money trees can’t keep up with Mr. Selinger’s spending habits,” said McFadyen.
The public is invited to view the tree, which is located on the southwest corner of the Legislative Building grounds.
20 Sep

NDP Makes “No Snow” Pledge

Under increasing pressure from the opposition as the Manitoba provincial election grows nearer, New Democratic Party leader Greg Selinger today promised an enthusiastic gathering in downtown Winnipeg today that, if elected, not a single flake of snow will fall on Manitoba this winter.
“There will be no snow in Manitoba this winter. And the Jets are back,” said Selinger in front of a gathering of rabid fans gathered at the corner of Portage and Main before tonight’s NHL hockey game.
“Manitobans have the opportunity to keep this province going forward. And the Jets are back,” continued Selinger. “Without snow this winter, our farmers can rest assured that we will not have a repeat of the flooding problems that we did this year. And the Jets are back.”
“I understand there might be some Manitobans who would like to see a white Christmas. Perhaps we can work it in for next year, but for this year, we declare Manitoba a ‘snow-free zone’. And the Jets are back.”
When asked how he planned to deliver on his promise, Selinger explained, “We’ve partnered with some extraordinary Manitoba companies who have pooled their resources to produce a revolutionary device that can divert atmospheric disturbances away from our province. And the Jets are back.”
“Whoo, hooo!” screamed one fan at the gathering. “Stanley Cup, here we come!”
Hugh McFadyen, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, had this to say when asked for a comment on Selinger’s scheme.
“We’re going to hire more nurses and doctors. And we’re going to introduce a new tax credit for um, something. We’ll be able to give Manitoba families the credit they deserve.”
Dr. Jon Gerrard, the Liberal leader, was not available for comment. A spokesman for the Liberal Party said that Gerrard was busy trying to scrounge up enough signatures in his own constituency to get his name on the ballot.

18 Sep

Railway Days

On Saturday, I took in the lightly-promoted annual Railway Days at the Winnipeg Railway Museum, located inside Union Station at the corner of Main and Broadway.

Railway Days was something I first heard about in one of my visits with Carli Ward at Grace Hospice. She was a train enthusiast and she showed me pictures that I still have from one of her visits and if I hadn’t heard about it from her, it’s likely I would never have heard about it. Shockingly, it’s an event that’s not even promoted on the Railway Museum’s own Web site. The lack of promotion is a shame, since there are a lot of priceless artifacts on display that give a good insight into the importance of the railway in Canada’s history. Even if you could care less about trains, I would recommend it as a worthwhile visit for the historical value.
It would be my third visit on Railway Days and fourth visit to the museum overall. While waiting for them to open, I took some shots around Union Station.

Upon walking up the stairs to the museum, you are first greeted by the railroad crossing sign:

To the left is some seating where you can watch some railroad movies:

There are a number of engines where you can climb aboard and look around:

There was also this car on display:

Unlike past years, there was not a VIA car available for touring, but there was a train waiting, so I got a shot of it:


There is a caboose that you can explore as well:

An old sign on display:

Inside one of the cars is a display featuring a number of old pictures as well as signal equipment used by the railway in years past:

These two shots are of the stations in Eriksdale and Ninette. I hope they have a plan to scan these photos digitally to preserve them for posterity.

There are even a couple of cars on display once used by the City of Winnipeg. This one is a car from City Hydro:

In addition to the railway cars on display, there are many other items of interest for the historian, including a display from the Transcona Historical Museum, maps of rail lines from the days of the early pioneers, and plenty of model railroads around.

Sadly, during my self-guided tour, I noticed only one other person in attendance younger than the age of 55. It is unfortunate that more people of all ages do not take advantage of this obscure, but valuable resource tucked away in a seldom-visited corner of the downtown area.
18 Sep

Ode to the Provincial Election

It’s Greg and Hugh, both wanting to be your honey
While bribing you with your own money
Under the NDP, the financial house needs mending
Yet Selinger brags about his wild spending
Throwing money at Chipman and building a 30,000-seat saloon
Flood victims struggle and roads crumble, making him look like a buffoon
We turn to McFadyen, a man with no substance at all
Yet can smile wide when you meet him in a store or mall
He stands for nothing despite many a plea
His only redeeming quality is that he’s not a member of the NDP
If asked whether two plus two equals four, he would stop and lament
Then issue a statement that read “no comment”
Manitobans need a real option
Not more taxes and spending or an unknown concoction
17 Sep

True North Makes Capital Expenditure Without Government Aid

Naysayers alert.

This time, you’re going to have to admit you were wrong.
Winnipeg’s True North Sports and Entertainment today unveiled a significant capital expenditure without asking for a single dime from the public.
“We put up a tool shed behind our new practice facility. Someone was clearing out a rusty old shed on Craigslist, so we pounced on it. After some hard bargaining, we managed to knock down the shipping charge and today, it arrived,” said a spokesman for True North.
“I’m not at liberty to disclose the financial terms of the deal, but the total cost might run into two figures. I know everyone here connected with True North feels a strong sense of community and this is something that we felt we needed to do to give back to our city and province.”
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was unavailable for comment since he was in the middle of feverish campaigning in a desperate attempt to stave off certain defeat in the upcoming provincial election, but a spokesman for his office issued the following statement on his behalf:
“This large private-sector investment made by True North and the Chipman family is what makes me proud to be a Manitoban. This shows the entrepreneurial spirit so common throughout our province that our government has been so honored to assist and help grow. The benefits of the public-private partnership we have nurtured with True North are again coming together to benefit all Manitobans. We congratulate the Chipman family on their acquisition and we look forward to further initiatives where public participation can again play a role.”
“Here I thought that Mark Chipman didn’t go to the bathroom without calling the Premier for a handout. Boy, was I wrong. I guess I owe him an apology,” said one observer at today’s press conference.
08 Sep

Matlock to Gimli by Bike

Last Sunday, I had the good fortune to go up to Gimli for another nice travel adventure, this time on two wheels. A friend and I drove up to Gimli and made the nearly 30-mile trek to Matlock and back.
For those so inclined and not familiar with the area we took a scenic path through Gimli and ended up at PTH 9 at South Colonization Road. From there, we followed PTH 9 south through Sandy Hook.

Between Winnipeg Beach and Gimli, PTH 9 has a full paved shoulder and speeds are reduced to 50 km/h through both Sandy Hook and Winnipeg Beach.

I passed on the fresh “pickeral”.

Near Salty’s Drive Inn, we turned to take a tour of Winnipeg Beach before heading for PR 232, the highway that runs through the cottage communities of Ponemah, Whytewold, and Matlock, collectively known as the Village of Dunnottar.

The caboose in Winnipeg Beach.

The sign for Dunnottar. Apparently, the operation of off-road vehicles is prohibited in “Dunnotter” that is presumably somewhere near Dunnottar.

A block off the highway is the historic Dunnottar train station that has been turned into a museum. I didn’t go in, but I would like to check it out on a return trip.

Approaching Ponemah Road.

As you can see, PR 232 has a narrow shoulder, but speeds are reduced and traffic is relatively light, consisting mostly of weekend tourists.
The view from one of the many scenic rest stops along the route.

An apple tree.

Farther along, in Whytewold, there’s another rest stop with a pier.

I had the urge to yell “shark”, but I resisted the temptation.

An Olympic rower, Colleen Miller, apparently competed in “Indianapalis” and “Tazmania”.

The Whytewold Emporium is quite popular, though I can’t personally vouch for the reasons why.

The pier in Matlock.

Looking at the northern tip of Netley Marsh from the end of the pier.

On the way back, we stopped at the RM of Gimli Centennial Marker on the shore of Willow Creek.

One of the many cottages nearby:

A sign from Peter Bjornson, the MLA for Gimli, one of Carli Ward’s former teachers at Gimli High School, and perhaps soon to be returning to his old job after the October election:

I made a slight detour to Moonlight Bay, where I noticed the high water level. Normally, these rocks aren’t covered by water.

For those so inclined, there’s a new Robins Donuts location in Gimli, in the main floor of the Lakeview at Centre Street and First Avenue.

This is the webcam that shows the Gimli Harbor to the world:

A look at Loni Beach from the harbor:

And a look at Willow Island from the harbor:

Having covered this route as a passenger in both a car and a bus, I knew this was a scenic route, but even I did not fully appreciate it until I covered it on two wheels. For anyone looking for a bike journey out of the ordinary, this is a destination I can highly recommend. Public parking is available in Gimli just off First Avenue, south of the Lakeview, where you can bring your alternative transportation and explore the eastern Interlake region at your leisure.