May 13th - Winnipeg

The morning was spent walking around Winnipeg and then after lunch we took the car for a short car ride across the Red River to see the French Quarter.

Being 'a day off' we were in no particular hurry to leave the hotel. We had breakfast with Bob, Thelma and DeeAnne, while Kenny used the exercise room on the 21st floor. I had the best Eggs Benedict for breakfast that I have ever had!

Wendy, as usual when we visit a major city, had planned a walk to see some of the major sights in Winnipeg. First port of call was the Manitoba Museum which has very impressive displays of Manitoban wildlife, geology, and history. As you enter the first hall in front of you are a group of bison being hunted. Unfortunately, my photo does not show the hunter on horseback, who is just out of picture to the left!

We spent about an hour walking through the museum and if anyone is thinking of coming to Winnipeg it is well worth a visit.

The centre of Winnipeg has only one or two architecturally pleasing skyscrapers. Here are two views of the one we liked the most.


Our walk then took us past the Winnipeg Art Gallery, or WAG.

The initials brought to mind an old school chum of mine (he will know who I mean) who for many years has worked for the UN. It was therefore quite a coincidence to see in the park next to the WAG this monument to Manitobans who had died in the service of the UN.

Next to the monument was a very simple, but emotive statue to all the women from the Commonwealth who had given their lives in the two World Wars.

These monuments stood in front of the Legislative Building, a very imposing and grand structure, with a rather sombre statue of Queen Victoria in front of it.

On top of the dome is a statue of a boy covered in 24 carat gold leaf. The statue was made in a French foundry and put on a ship to be sent to Winnipeg, but the First World War intervened and the ship was commandeered for war duties. The boy remained on board and was finally sent to Winnipeg when the boat was no longer required for war duties.

As we walked round the Legislative Building we saw a group of painted polar bear statues. I particularly liked this one which had night skies and Northern Lights painted across the bear's back. It made me think what a shame it was that when we had the chance of seeing the aurora, it was always too cloudy.

Our walk took us along the bank of the Assiniboine River. Large parts of the river banks had been washed away by the winter flood water and most of the river path was cordoned off.

We reached the area known as The Forks, where the Red River and the Assiniboine River join and had a good snack lunch outside in the sunshine.

After lunch we walked back to the hotel via the railway station, another grand building designed by the same architect who built Grand Central Station in New York. It had a huge domed entrance hall.

After we returned to the hotel we took the car to see the French Quarter just across the Red River. We stopped at the ruins of Saint Boniface Cathedral. The facade is all that remains and it reminded us very much of the iconic ruined church in Macau.

In the grounds were many graves of French settlers including the tomb of Louis Riel who was the first President of the Provisional Government in 1869. Next to his tomb was this rather sad headstone to Chief One Arrow, whose last words to the Government of Canada were 'Do not mistreat my people'.

We then drove back to our hotel. This evening we are going back to the French Quarter to have a meal at a French restaurant located in a converted bus garage. Apparently at 9.30pm they have live music and this evening it's going to be soul music. It should be fun.

Tomorrow we are driving directly to Thunder Bay, rather than stopping at Fort Frances. It means we will have a long day, over 400 miles, but the day we gain will mean we can have more time driving around Lake Superior on our way to the US and Mackinac Island.

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Our ninth adventure drive, this time from Salt Spring Island, Vancouver Island in the west of Canada, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the east, with an approximate distance of 5,000 miles.