A Farewell Tour

The past two summers I have ridden through Winnipeg. As my project started to wind down, I began to think of my evening rides as a “farewell tour”.

Every ride started here, at the corner of St. Mary and Carleton. I would ride down Carleton, to the right. This photo of St. Mary Cathedral in the background is more interesting.


St. Boniface cathedral, across the river in the french quarter of Winnipeg, is no longer a catherdral. It burned down almost one hundred years ago, and it has not been rebuilt since.


Riding south, beyond the river and over the flood diversion, is the prairie. The canola was late flowering this year.


Winnipeg has some very interesting neighbourhoods. I thought this house was quite special.


This is pedestrian and cycling bridge was newly opened in the spring. It was a favourite this to keep out of traffic.


I could only do the ride on Henderson Highway to Lockport a couple of times around the soltice. I can’t tell you the number of people who told me about Skinner’s hot dogs in Lockport. Well, I never found Skinner’s – apparently it’s over the bridge across the river. However I did have a hot dog at the Half Moon drive in.


This is Wildwood, my absolute favourite Winnipeg neighbourhood. I have to explain this. Wildwood sits on an immense whorl in the Red River and is designed as a huge quadrangle. Leading from the quadrangle and leading into the neighbourhood are a sequence of U-shaped back alleys. These are the only automobile access to these houses. What is pictured is the interior of the quadrangle; this what the front doors of the houses open onto. Can you imagine living in a city and opening your front door onto this each morning?


Here’s an aerial view of a route I road many times on both sides of the Assiniboine River. On the right is Wolsey Avenue, on the left is Wellington Ave (with very tony houses). On the bottom right there is a household driveway that leads into a public park and extends along tree-lined streets.


Here’s Wolsey Avenue at street level – very pretty.


Here’s another view along the Assiniboine River. Heavy rains upstream in Saskatchewan flooded Manitoba and (harrumph) forced me to take a detour along Portage Avenue.


The Red River also suffers floods, and the cycling paths suffer in sympathy.


In Assiniboine Park people play cricket. I can’t imagine why. So I took this photo instead.


And this is the footbridge over the river from Assiniboine Park to Portage Avenue.


The Manitoba Legislature is a surprisingly interesting building adorned with unexpected details – a habit sadly lost on modern architects. The limestone of this building (and almost all buildings in downtown Winnipeg) are practically stencilled with fossils. If you stop and look at a Winnipeg building you cannot help but find fossils – it is quite amazing.


Deer are a distraction – or a menace. This photo was taken west of the airport, for which I suffered multiple mosquitoe bites.


Water bombers at the airport.


Fort Gibraltar is across the Red in St. Boniface. I discovered this area on my very last ride last year.


And carrying on, under a railway bridge. Winnipeg is criss-crossed with innumerable railway lines, all of which are a nuisance to the cyclist.


What more can you ask for?


The wide, wide, west at sunset. There’s not another hill until Calgary.


Look at the whorl in the river – it is incredible. The bottom road from right to left is one I rode many times leading out to the floodway.


This is the finale of the day’s ride (or of half of the day’s rides). Note the traffic lights. If I rode hard enough, I could start at one end of St. Mary’s and catch each green light as it changed, all the way up the street. Maillot jaune!


6 comments on “A Farewell Tour”

  1. Chris wrote:

    Okay. Have I got this right? Your home is in Ottawa, but you have had a work placement in Winnipeg for the past two summers? I had kind of lumped the two together in my mind, but I see that they are over 1300 miles apart by road. Bit far for a commute, eh?

    Wildwood sits on an immense whorl in the Red River and is designed as a huge quadrangle.

    Casting my mind back to CSE Geography I can't help thinking that those folks should start worrying about oxbow lakes. Just saying. 'Whorl', I can't remember reading that word before. I thought it was a typo. Do you have Walnut Whips in Canada? Bon Voyage!

  2. Kern wrote:

    Walnut Whips? Whorls? Whatever! I confess I had to Google Walnut Whips, so I doubt we have them here.

    Yes, two summers as well as two winters. Winnipeg is apparently the coldest city on the planet with a population of over 600,000, and last winter was the coldest in decades. Been there, done that.

    Hopefully Mary recognizes me when I show up on the doorstep ...

  3. Patrick wrote:

    Very nice. The photos are interesting—a different world. I remember your previous post re Winnipeg and learnt something about the geography of Canada (and the amazing demarkation of farm plots that seemed to stretch most of the way across the continent, every field laid out exactly parallel to the equator. Geometry on a truly massive scale.

    Incidentally I know the word "whorl" as some kind of spinning spiral motif used in decoration. Those bends in the river I'd call meanders. I'd need to look up oxbow lake.

    At least you should have the bike Kern. Did you bring it back?

  4. Kern wrote:

    Yes, I shipped the bike back. But when putting her together last weekend I could not get the headset tightened properly. On closer inspection the flanged edge of an internal part was cracked and bent (i don't know headsets or their terminology). She is in hospital right now and I'm expecting a discharge notice this weekend.

  5. Hilary wrote:

    Interesting post Kern.
    You mentioned the cathedral of St. Boniface. I think he's a fairly obscure saint (not that I know much about such things!) but the highest point on the Isle of Wight is St. Boniface Down.

    Hope you got the headset sorted and that Mary recognised you on your return. 1300 miles is an awful long way from home!

  6. Kern wrote:

    St. Boniface ... according to my friend Wikipedia he was a missionary in Germany in the 700's. It seems he aided and abetted the Carolingians, and in doing so helped create conditions for establishing the Holy Roman Empire. Someone calls him "one of the truly outstanding creators of the first Europe". Not bad for a chap from Wessex.

    No word on the headset. Mary has decided she can learn to live with me again (maybe).

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