Day 28 – Free Day in Winnipeg. I do like a fee day. I know I claimed today might not include much in the way of a blog, but I’m back at the house and have some time in hand. This was the first day on my trip that involved being in the centre of one of Canada ‘s major cities, having had great views of Vancouver and Calgary but not gone right into town on either occasion. It was my first visit to Winnipeg, the home of several of my wife’s relatives, and the sun did me a favour by coming out for most of the day.
My plan was to take a back-streets cycling (of cours) route to the amazing Museum of Human Rights building, located at the area known as The Forks, where two great rivers (The Assiniboine and the Red) meet. Then over to The Forks itself to get lunch.
En route I passed another vindication of the colour lime-green (alright, not the finest example, but they all count:
The tower is Shard-like (the London tower, similarly “incomplete” and open-looking at its peak) and the wrap-around structure has a blanket-like quality. I found a spot to lock up my treasured bike before heading in to look around, but spotted someone trying to make off with it. I had stern words with him, but he floored me with his exquisite and simple logic, pointing out that I had placed the bike there in the first place. What a guy.
I’d seen a big organised bike ride going through town and had the good fortune to bump into Sean Miller, working for Thrive Mental Health and involved with the running of the bike event. We talked about his personal struggles with mental health and the things that had made the difference and he very kindly gave me a copy of his DVD documentary “When The Voices Fell Silent”, which charts his path to recovery.
I was more than happy to take some pictures together to help promote the cause of Human Rights in relation to Mental Healthcare for Sean to use in his work, and I’m doing what I can here to help their cause. The museum is a definitive collection of the theory, practise and abuse of human rights throughout history, making iconic structures, images and displays to convey the meaning to each of us. I found it a very inspiring place to spend time, but when I got to the Holocaust section, with its simple and explicit approach to recording personal experiences and the methods of organising those atrocities, I was quite overwhelmed by what power there is in museum like this. The individual voices of real people is what you take away with you, and the multiplication by millions is what you try to imagine as you walk, freely and safely, away from the hall.
I took the elevator up to the top of the tower, looking out at a view that included many of the miles I’d covered yesterday:
Downstairs in the main Atrium I had the strange experience of seeing a giant-sized projection of a picture an attendant had taken in the entrance hall earlier, complete with the back-to-front CrossingCanada card I carry to hand out to people as I travel.
I had one more destination on my list, a building designed by my wife’s Uncle Jerry (Hi Jerry!) to house the works of the Silver Jean company and Western Glove, run for generations by his wife Mayta’s family, the Silvers. (Are you getting the connections?) The building is a really welcome bright and fun twist on this sort of Head Office – I only wish I hadn’t been here on a Sunday so I could have looked around and even bought a pair of their famous jeans, though I would have had to ship them home straight away!
I called Lucas back home to see if he wanted to go to a ball game that evening (I’d seen there was a game on) but he said he couldn’t make it as he had hockey. Just as well – when I got to the ballpark it was deserted. There is a game, just not here! As I headed back to the house I spotted a young lad having a nervous encounter wifi some more Canadian wildlife:
One sign that caught my eye, not because it’s funny but because the printed translation into the native dialect is fascinating and satisfying to look at.
And one that is: