Home Sweet Home?

As I stepped out onto my balcony last week, I was hit with the fresh, rainforest, trademarked West-Coast air. Vancouverites experience this every time they walk out of the Vancouver Airport after returning home. This was the first time I had noticed it since my return to BC this past September.

I have been missing the Prairies lately. I did not realize how much they had become home until I left. I have been living in a type of home-limbo since. While I was in Winnipeg, I missed the rain. Now that I am in Vancouver, I miss the snow. I know I will miss the thunderstorms this upcoming summer.

This fresh coastal air however, brings me peace. Just as the wind rustling through the trees and tall grasses in the Prairies also brought me peace. I suppose people do mourn places, as they do people.


Cruise Night

It’s Sunday night in the city of Winnipeg. This means that it’s time to bring out the lawn chairs to the busy main drag, Portage Avenue, and watch cars strut their stuff. Really.

A beloved tradition in Winnipeg is Cruise Night. Every summer Sunday evening as the sun begins to set, car enthusiasts hang out and group up along Portage Avenue. Heralding back to the day of Sunday drives and 1950s car culture, Cruise Nighters hang out at the ice cream shops and burger stands, or simply plant lawn chairs on the sidewalk along this main thoroughfare to admire the cars passing by.

At first I thought this tradition was a little, well um, stupid; however, now that I have recently left Winnipeg, I realize that Cruise Night had kind of grown on me… just a little. Cruise Night is a very reminiscent time. John K. Samson, a Winnipeg musician from the band, the Weakerthans, has written a song about this event. It is simply called, Cruise Night.

Everything is cheaper here….EVERYTHING!

One way I really fit in here is my innate thriftiness. I am a coupon clipper, points whore (Air Miles etc), and so on. I have never had a problem bringing my own drink into a movie theatre or grilling a cashier if a price comes up higher than listed.

These natural attributes were not always welcome in Vancouver; but in Winnipeg, they make me friends.

It was noted that I am often late when picking a certain Winnipegger up from the Vancouver Airport. I explained that I am not late – I am just on time. As anyone from the Vancouver area will tell you, just on time is the aim when picking someone up from the airport. This way, one can just pull up and pick someone up in the pick-up zone, which strictly allows no waiting. If you need to pull into the parkade, even for a few minutes, it will cost the same as it costs to park at the Winnipeg Airport for an entire day….really.

The cost of parking at the Vancouver airport is $4.75/15 minutes: at the Winnipeg airport, it is $1. The cost of transit from the airport to anywhere in Winnipeg is $2.50…In Greater Vancouver it ranges from $2.75 to $5.50 plus a $5 surcharge if taking the Skytrain (Vancouver’s rapid transit)…which most people do.

Everything costs more in BC. I am sure there are some exceptions. Salmon might be cheaper. And maybe cedar. Gas is about 20 cents/litre less expensive in Winnipeg. My home insurance is about 40% of what it was in Vancouver. There are no provincial health care premiums in Manitoba. In BC, health care premiums are currently $69.75/month. In addition, every year that a college or university graduate lives in Manitoba, their tuition is rebated to them up to 60% over 10 years to a maximum of $25, 000.

Recently, I came across 8 double rolls of deluxe bathroom tissue for $2.99 in Rexall. I shouted in excitement to my friend down the aisle. Another woman heard me and ran to the aforementioned bathroom tissue sale, happily thanking me for the tip. In Vancouver, I probably would have been labeled low-class with that behaviour; however, in Winnipeg, I fit right in!

A Sure Sign of Winter

We do not have snow yet in Winnipeg but one sure sign of winter is upon us – we have started plugging in the car.

Winnipeg Weather, Nov 11'13

For those of you who live in places that never go below freezing, us Northerners must plug in the car or the cold will prevent the car from starting and all sorts of problems. Touch screens on iPods and cell phones etc also do not work in the cold which I suppose should be included in a post, “All the things that do not work in Winnipeg’s cold weather.” Hey, that’s not a bad idea.

Me plugging in our car one brisk morning

Me plugging in our car one brisk morning

Yet even more big time to add to the list!

We have articulated buses! Those are the accordion-style buses seen in big cities.


Winnipeg also recently built a transit bus station which looks like a Skytrain (Vancouver’s light rail) station. It’s kind of weird, in a good way.


Low of -9 in the forecast? Here’s hopin’!

Many of the buildings in Winnipeg are old – as are their heating systems. My husband and I are suckers for beautiful old buildings and as such, endure squeaky floors, windows that don’t stay open easily, and century-old heating systems.

We love our old apartment, which is approximately 100 years old. It has even been retrofitted in many ways, including having a dishwasher. The beautiful old radiators though have become our friends as well as our enemies.

393579_10150501122132419_106773661_nSo as fall approaches and the temperatures drop, the apartment gets chillier and chillier. We want the caretaker to turn on the heat but we are hesitant, as once that boiler gets turned on, there is no going back for about six months.

We are hesitant because the heat is controlled by a timer and not a thermostat. In the shoulder seasons in Winnipeg, there can be 20-degree temperature differences within a day, which the boiler does not account for: it just keeps turning on and off according to the timer. This means that it is either too cold in the apartment or too hot. It is usually too hot.

We are also on the top floor to where all the heat rises. It may be -30 outside, but it is +30 inside.  Right now, at the beginning of November it is not too bad, but the unusually warm temperatures during the day of about 7 degrees are making things mighty uncomfortable. Last night, there was a predicted low of -9, but sadly, it only reached -3.

Therefore, us Winnipeggers who live in these old buildings often pray, wish, and hope for the temperatures to drop. For now though, I will keep two alternate blankets beside the bed, each for a different temperature, and continue to alternate them per the current climate of the apartment throughout the night. If it were -15, everything would be perfect.