Two weeks ago, I traveled to
Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, for the first time. I knew little about Canada’s “Gateway to the West.” I’ve met a few people who grew up here. I remember a movie, , that screened at the Vancouver Film Festival several years ago. That’s about it. Well, my first impression was very positive. (Winnipeg in December might have been a different story.) My Winnipeg top 10: My Winnipeg
GREEN, LEAFY NEIGHBORHOODS Coming from the glorious summer gardens of Kitsilano, Vancouver, I was pleasantly surprised to find Winnipeg’s Armstrong’s Point just as verdant, with a canopy of soaring trees and lawns as plush as carpets.
B&B BREAKFASTS At Beechmount Bed & Breakfast, I woke to fresh fruit, homemade muffins, yogurt, and a perfectly formed omelet (here, filled with tender asparagus spears).
WALKABILITY From my B&B I could walk to Yoga North, the Iyengar yoga studio in town, in less than 20 minutes–and to the Forks, along the Assiniboine River, in 40 minutes. I noticed a decent number of joggers and cyclists. While I found Winnipeg quite walkable, however, it’s definitely car-oriented. Buses run infrequently.
LOCAL ART Here you can find unique pottery and other artwork, including pieces made by First Nations people, who constitute 10 percent of Winnipeg’s population.
PUBLIC ART I don’t know if they’re permanent or not, but near the Legislature building I saw a bunch of bear sculptures that resonated with me and my Berkeley background. Go Bears!
BOON BURGERS In Wolseley, the vibe is west coast / left coast. At Boon, the neighborhood’s burger spot, everything is vegan. This is a “grilled buddha patty” (chickpeas and brown rice) on a kale, arugula, and beet salad.
STELLA’S This Winnipeg institution reminded me of Vancouver’s Aphrodite’s or Berkeley’s Rick & Ann’s. Here’s the arugula salad with vegetable barley soup.
WINNIPEG ART GALLERY Sure, it’s not London’s National Gallery or New York’s MoMA, but a small-scale museum has its benefits. It’s less overwhelming and allows more focus. After all, I could spend hours, maybe a whole year, studying a single photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
SECONDHAND BOOKSHOPS Winnipeg has almost 20 secondhand bookshops. I’m always hunting for Somerset Maugham’s more-obscure works that libraries don’t carry. I found this vintage hardcover first edition (Doubleday, 1946) for $7 at Zed Books.
YOGA NORTH The preceding Winnipeg moments were fringe benefits. My main objective in Winnipeg? A successful result at my Intermediate Junior I assessment. On June 19-21, I passed, as did my five terrific fellow candidates from across Canada: Terri Damiani, Jane Kruse, Vic Mehta, Roberta Vommaro, and Martina Walsh. Here’s my souvenir tee shirt from Yoga North, which did an impeccable job hosting the assessment. I had my eye on it from day one, but postponed buying it until I knew for sure that Winnipeg would be a happy memory.