Daily Archives: May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Bruce Cockburn

I first met Bruce Cockburn when he was an aspiring young folk singer who played The Onion, a subterranean folk club at Ryerson in Toronto in the late 1960s. This was before his first album was released. Bruce was a gentle soul who wrote delightful and intelligent songs and backed himself up as a virtuoso guitarist. Bruce was born today in 1945.  Here are a few gems from Bruce: “I wear my shadows where they’re harder to see, but they follow me everywhere. I guess that should tell me I’m travelling toward light”and “The second half of the ’60s really was a kind of learning period, in terms of writing, for me.” and “The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.” Bruce performs If I Had A Rocket Launcher.

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Filed under Momentous Day, Music

Manitoba Flood Update – Friday, May 27

Reid Dickie

The flood situation in southern Manitoba is beginning to stabilize with water levels dropping. I took a drive out the re-opened Hwy #75 south of Winnipeg this week and found many fields, especially around Morris and south, still covered with standing water from recent Red River flooding. Conservative estimates say 50,000 acres of Manitoba cropland will not be seeded this year due to flooding.

“High five, Team Brandon!” That’s how Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst summed up local response to the flood crisis. The Assiniboine River is subsiding slowly by about 4 inches a day. That’s not expected to change very much for the next two weeks. Good news for the 1400 people still evacuated from their homes on The Flats in Brandon, they will be able to return home this weekend working to a schedule the city has drawn up. Confident that the worst is over, the mayor announced a Victory Party for Brandonites will be held July 1st at the Keystone Centre to celebrate the sense of community and accomplishment that follows the flood. A parade and fireworks will bracket the day’s festivities.

Major flooding is still threatening farms, cottages and permanent residences around Lake Manitoba and an urgent call for volunteers went out this week. High schools and the general public responded and sandbagged many properties in the Twin Beaches and Lundar Beach area. The call for volunteers was urgent because Operation Lustre, the code name for the military’s Manitoba flood fighting efforts, is over and the troops, all 1800, have left the province, formally and prematurely thanked in the legislature. Between the high lake level, the likelihood of the prevailing northwest winds whipping the waves onto the shore and lack of government back-up to protect properties there is still plenty of anxiety around the lakeshore.

I drove out to Portage la Prairie yesterday to check out the amount of water in the Portage Diversion. Though it has declined a few feet from last Friday, the Diversion is still carrying an enormous amount of water into Lake Manitoba. Rain and showers are predicted for Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan for the weekend.

As the water moves northward, Lake St. Martin is flooding out a First Nations and threatening the area. The three Shoal Lakes in the Interlake have stabilized and are expected to slowly subside over the next month. Now that the major threat has passed in the south, the flood, though still happening, is being largely ignored by the mainstream media. The provincial government has stuck its head back in the sand and is pretending the flood is over.

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Filed under Flood, Natural Places, Uncategorized

Manitoba Heritage Building – Octagonal Wooden Silo

Reid Dickie

Octagonal wooden silo, Rural Municipality of De Salaberry, MB

Ghosts of a bygone era, their scale puny by today’s standards yet there is a mystery, a dense past contained within the weathered and lichened boards. This example, given a sensuous curve over the decades, is situated in the Rural Municipality of De Salaberry in southern Manitoba, one of three such structures in the RM. The local heritage buffs proudly refer to them as “our litttle Eiffel towers.”

Octagonal wooden silos and barns were  built mainly between 1850 and 1900, the advantage being the interior corners were less acute creating more storage space. Typically, polygonal silos  – some were 16-sided – had a hipped roof like this example, sometimes a dormer on the top as here which was used to fill the silo. More often a trap door covered the ingress opening.

The relics in De Salaberry RM were likely built around 1885 by the original landowners and used well into the next century. The silos were formally turned up when the RM conducted an inventory of local heritage buildings in 2009. They discovered 65 potential heritage sites from silos to churches to houses to various architectural styles that represented the various ethnic groups who settled the region, including French, Metis, Hutterite, British and Ukrainian.

Check out the fate of another octagonal grain silo near Carberry.

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Filed under Heritage Buildings, Pioneers, Prairie People