Thursday 23rd May 2019
Today was a full-on sightseeing walk around Winnipeg. The weather was glorious, sunshine and warmth and everyone was celebrating by wearing summer clothes after such a long winter. It isn’t going to last! Tomorrow’s forecast is for cold and rain yet again!
Winnipeg is a lovely friendly little city. We strolled along by the river, visited the Legislative Centre with its lovely park, war memorial and of course, Victoria sitting regally on her throne! The war memorial had approximately 1,200 names on it from WW1. That is a huge number from a small community (and that isn’t counting the tragic number of casualties). Another 120 names, approximately, were for those men from Winnipeg who died in WW2.
The Forks is a large park area at the fork of the two rivers that Winnipeg is centred on, the Red River and its smaller tributary the Assiniboine River. It is a lovely spacious area and houses the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. In front of this modern futuristic building stands the old Union Station, complete with a wonderful green domed roof and marble pillars and arches inside. Splendid! The old gateway to Fort Garry stands nearby.
Winnipeg had several forts erected by the trading companies like the Hudson Bay Company. The walls were more a statement of power than defences; there to show the prestige of the powerful traders who established Winnipeg as a central hub in the country’s trading routes in the nineteenth century.
The Museum for Human Rights is quite unique. The two main exhibitions were The Holocaust and the Mandela Exhibition which is on for a year. The rest of the museum focusses on Canada: the idea of this museum is to invite people to explore and reflect on human rights in Canada and globally. It is certainly thought-provoking, deliberately built on ancestral lands of First Nation peoples. It is incredibly honest, an admittance of the abuse of native Americans in Canada’s history as well as abuse of immigrants, especially Vietnamese, disabled and mentally retarded people, women and minority racial groups. For example, the history of anti-Semitism in the 1930s is an explicit and shocking chronicle of racial hatred: Jews escaping Nazi Germany on a cruiser were turned away from their destination, Cuba, having previously been told they could go there. The ship was then turned away by the US and then
by Canada, re-crossed the Atlantic where most of the nine hundred plus passengers found refuge in Britain, Belgium and Holland whilst some returned to Germany and died in the Holocaust. The creation of this museum is a tribute to modern-day Canada. It is something of which they are and should be very proud. We are really glad we spend time there today.
Winnipeg is good for food! We ate Vietnamese for lunch and Indian for dinner, both good. Also, the Indian was licensed; many Canadian restaurants are not! We find that most unusual! In Spain even McDonalds sell beer!
Tomorrow we leave Winnipeg and head for the Riding Mountain Provincial Park to the North West. Unfortunately, unless the forecast is wrong, we shall be driving in the rain. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, Manitoba
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