The first time I visited Winnipeg, in the prairie province of Manitoba (which, by the way, has over 110,000 lakes)was in 1972 when I travelled by car with my best friend and her family. They were living there at the time, so I was able to stay with them and see all the sights. I still have the photos I took that summer, but remember those old sticky-type photo albums? Well, they are well stuck so I can't use them here. However, the internet has lots of great photos, so thanks to Google and Yahoo, you can see some right here.
The name "Winnipeg" comes from the Cree for "muddy waters" because it lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. It was a trading center for Aboriginals before the arrival of Europeans, the first fort being built by the French in 1738. Many of these French traders, and later British, married First Nations women and their mixed-race children were called Metis. It was one of these children who grew up to become Louis Riel, the leader of the famous Red River Rebellion, which paved the way for Manitoba to become the fifth province in Canada. You can read more history at Wikipedia here.
I remember our visit to the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, which has been named as one of the top ten national historic sites in the country by Canada's History Magazine. It was a lot of fun watching costumed interpreters recreate life in the early 1850's. It was interesting to see original walls and buildings, participate in hands-on activities and view original furnishings. You can read about the fort's history here.
When I visited in 1972, we went to the Assiniboine Park Zoo and I clearly recall seeing polar bears there. Other animals you can see there now include deer, bison, elk, bears, lions, monkeys, koalas, yaks, camels, and zebra. There is also currently a "Boo at the Zoo" and a Pumpkin Patch, both Halloween events.
An interesting story that comes out of Winnipeg is the fact that Winnie the Pooh was named after a Canadian black bear that Christopher Robin, son of A.A. Milne, used to often see at the London Zoo. The story goes that this particular black bear had been purchased from a hunter for $20.00 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in Ontario and named it "Winnie" after his hometown Winnipeg. Colebourn sneaked Winnie into England during WW1, and left him at the zoo in London while he went off to fight the war in France. After the war, Winnie was officially donated to the zoo, where Christopher Robin saw him. Of course, the toy bears have been practically every child's favourite toy from then until now. Below are the original Winnie the Pooh bear (left) and the one we know today and the one my children had when they were small (right).
I hope you've enjoyed your little virtual tour of Winnipeg, Canada's 7th largest municipality. And if you like perogies or cabbage rolls, be sure to visit Brandon, just 132 miles or 212 kms west of Winnipeg. We stopped there on our way from Vancouver to Ottawa in 1987 and had the most delicious perogies ever! It's because of the high number of Ukranians living in the area. Yummy!
ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Mrs. Nesbitt who is now assisted by a whirlwind of wonderful assistants, moi included. Check out the ABCW site and join in!
- Delta, British Columbia, Canada
- I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.