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Canada Day weekend: free fun and fireworks

July 3, 2013

The move-in has been an extended process. The long weekend was spent unpacking, remembering things I had left at home, running back when I could, forgetting more things… Lather, rinse, repeat, ad nauseum. I’m still lacking things like dish soap or a garbage can, but I hope to obtain these things in the near future (a trip to Giant Tiger is in order).

When I first stepped out of my new residence on Friday, I spotted Andrew Milne and his truck, newly painted and emblazoned with the title “The Museum of New Ideas”. Turns out Andrew had unveiled it earlier in the day and was about to pack up shop.

Museum of New Ideas and Andrew Milne

Andrew’s first exhibition in Winnipeg drew quite a bit of attention.

The Museum is a travelling exhibition of new works, as well as a darkroom and studio. This particular show was focused on the history of textiles, specifically relating it to computing.

Andrew’s project is a perfect example of some of the cool things that pop up in Winnipeg’s Exchange district regularly (and randomly), and I thought it was a good omen to see it on my first night living downtown. I left The Museum of New Ideas feeling excited for my 6 week stay.

Canada Day weekend has to be one of the most pleasant experiences in Winnipeg’s core. People will openly greet each other when normally they may try to avoid eye contact. Two young guys on bikes zoomed past, and they yelled “Happy Canada Day!” to the world. Little things like that make this day a little brighter.

Many of my friends know that I can’t walk far before I start to complain about being tired. Normally, I find walking for long periods of time to be particularly harrowing, but living downtown without a car is rebuilding my stamina.

But even if I didn’t want to walk to the free events on Canada Day, there are options! There is a free shuttle provided by Winnipeg Transit to get you to and from the three major locations: Osborne Village, The Forks, and Assiniboine Park. People feel free to use these shuttles as they please, as proven by this image on Twitter (I am not sure how this fit on the bus, to be honest).

Considering my tendency to prefer wheels over walking, I intend to take other free busses this summer. I know I’ll be hopping on the Downtown Spirit if I am heading to Broadway for something, or onto the free Folk Fest bus when I want to go to Bird’s Hill Park for some music next weekend.

I’m a Winnipegger; I love free things. The free stuff this Canada Day weekend was a blast, starting off with an art gallery on wheels and ending with fireworks. Of course, because there were so many cool vendors in Osborne, I ended up spending a bit more money than anticipated! But I am happy to support local craftspeople like this rad chick from SkateBetty:

SkateBetty image

Sheena from SkateBetty at her first Winnipeg showing (Osborne Village, July 1, 2013)

Recent news has come out about an incident at the Forks on Canada Day. A young woman hit a child and a man with her car, then proceeded to bite a cop who was trying to get her out of her car. I’m sure you’ve heard about it already, but in case you haven’t, take a look at this Free Press article.

There is a bad egg every few dozen, but news like this is still shocking. I’m just thankful that no one was hurt, and I’m thankful that the majority of people on Canada Day were friendly and considerate. Judging by the cheers at her arrest, I would say that most of us feel strongly that this positive Canada Day spirit should not be soiled.

There is power in numbers, and while crowds of people blocking traffic may seem frustrating to a driver, to a pedestrian there is a wonderful sense of community and security. If you’re driving on Canada Day next year, please be patient and understanding. You could even roll down your windows and have a conversation. Just don’t bite anyone. Please.

Readers: What did you do on Canada Day? What has been your favourite Canada Day activity over the years?