Monthly Archives: July 2012

Wild Winnipeg Weather

Click the pic to check out my video of the wild summer storm that raged through Winnipeg Sunday evening and see its aftermath on my street.

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2012 Medieval Festival

Reid Dickie

Cooks Creek, MB

Saturday July 28, 2012

From the curious to the devout, the golf shirt-clad to the chainmailed and feather-bedecked, they came by the thousands to celebrate medieval times, watched over by the ever-benevolent Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception. 

Held every two years on the grounds of the church and grotto as a fund raiser for the parish, the medieval festival brought together jousters, blacksmiths, jugglers, dancers, sword fighters, caber tossers, falconers, pretty maids, fine lords and ladies and a fop or two to entertain and amuse. The most successful turnout ever for the festival lucked into a sultry Manitoba afternoon with temperatures over 30 degrees C, making it a challenging day for the hundreds of costumed people attending.

To watch my two and a half minute video of the medieval festival, click the pic below.

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Ray’s Diner, 43 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Our next stop along Manitoba’s only Heritage District gets us to Ray’s Diner.

Obviously no longer Ray’s Diner but still known as such for heritage purposes, 43 Main Street is much like its southerly neighbours as reported in my two previous posts in this series. A practical commercial space, also built about 1900, Ray’s Diner is a one-storey structure with wide display windows flanking the central entrance, flat shed roof and stucco walls.

As you can see in this earlier picture, the place had some nice brick corbelling just below the cornice and elaborate brackets on the tall pilasters separating the buildings. “Modernized” now, meaning most of its heritage character has been covered over by cladding and fake stonework, the building still contributes to the historic nature of Carberry’s Main Street.

Over the decades this location has housed numerous businesses including offices for auctioneer R. H. Lindsay, Knuckey’s Barber Shop, T. D. Stickle’s grocery, Al’s Coffee Shop and a hardware store run by Cliff Addison.

Pa Tuckett, who had a head of thick, black hair, remembers jawing with Knuckey the Barber. People called him A. J. While discussing the major issues of early small town life, A. J. always gave his customers a clean cut and a sharp shave. “He never drew blood, not even once,” affirms Pa.

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The Style Shop, 41 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The next stop on Carberry’s Main Street is a commercial space.

Still known as The Style Shop, this modest storefront has accommodated numerous and sundry businesses since it was built around 1900. Typical of one-storey facilities in small rural towns, The Style Shop building offers utilitarian form and an easily adapted interior space at a prime location nestled between Switzer’s Red and White and Ray’s Diner. Its rectangular design has a sloped flat roof and recessed entrance with flanking display windows. Originally a red brick building, these details have been stuccoed over and much of the heritage remains hidden under the refacing. This colour picture shows the old place with its refaced facade. It had ornate brick work similar to its neighbours. 

Over the decades the building has housed merchants Jones and Dundas, milliner Mrs. English, a bakery run by Webb and Green, a grocery owned by T. D. Stickle (the building was known as the Stickle Block for some years) and a restaurant operated by Lee Low.

When Pa Tuckett married Amelia Lusk in Carberry on a hot day in late August 1918, the beautiful bride was wearing a hat specially designed for her by Mrs. English who ran her millinery out of this spot. 

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Switzer’s Red and White Store, 39 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The next building in our jaunt through Manitoba’s only Heritage District – Carberry’s Main Street

Its original brickwork is caked over, a modest updating changed the windows and the entrance and smoothed away its character and history but the little space, known generationally as Switzer’s Red and White Store, adds its own reverberation to Carberry’s Historic Main Street.

This one-storey utilitarian storefront has housed numerous businesses, including implement dealers, butchers, grocers and furniture dealers since its construction around 1900. Similar in size and style to its neighbours – The Style Shop and Ray’s Diner –  Switzer’s is typical of the type of adaptable and practical commercial buildings that sprang up all over rural Manitoba in its town building days.

In this picture from Carberry’s early days, you can see the brick facade of Switzer’s and its adjoining neighbours.

Pa Tuckett told me about Gregor, short for Gregorian, Mason who ran a butcher shop in this building. He said Mason was the best butcher he ever met, always did clean, safe and fast work and still had all his fingers after two decades wielding the saw and the blade. “That’s the sign of a good butcher,” Pa said.

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Still…Just This

Once again – Ken Wilber’s timeless message.

In the heart of Emptiness there is a mysterious impulse, mysterious because there is actually nothing in the heart of Emptiness (for there is nothing in Emptiness, period). Yet there it is, this mysterious impulse, the impulse to…create. To sing, to shine, to radiate; to send forth, reach out and celebrate; to sing and shout and walk about; to effervesce and bubble over, this mysterious exuberance in the heart of Emptiness.

Emptiness empties itself of emptiness and thus becomes Full, pregnant with all worlds, a fruition of the infinite impulse to play hidden in the heart of your own deepest Self. If you rest in the Witness, settle back as I-I, and look very carefully for the Looker – if you turn within right now and try to see the Seer – you won’t see anything at all, for you cannot see the Seer. All you will find is a vast Freedom and Emptiness, in which the entire Kosmos is now arising. Out of the pure Emptiness that is your deepest suchness, all worlds arise. Your own impulse of looking has brought forth the universe and here it resides, in the vastness of all space, which is to say, in the purity of your own primordial awareness. This has been obvious all along; this you have known, all along. Just this, and nothing more, just this.

Ken Wilber from One Taste

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Hebron School

Reid Dickie

Cities weren’t the only place the post-war baby boom occurred. Suddenly the countryside was alive with newborns who needed an education. To remedy that, just outside of Hayfield, MB, a one-room schoolhouse – Hebron School – was reopened which I attended for two and a half years. My account of those days is called Hebron School – 1 Room, 8 Grades, 30 Pupils, 1 Teacher 

I hadn’t been able to find a very good picture of my old school until I was checking out the Manitoba Historical Society website, a regular haunt of mine, and found this great shot of the place. The Classical Revival columns that supported the little portico roof were a sharp contrast to the bucolic scene around – open fields, rolling hills and dry dusty roads. It gave me a warm yet lonesome feeling when I saw this picture of my first school.

Once again I am grateful to Gordon Goldsborough, Webmaster, Journal Editor and Secretary of the MHS, for his diligence and integrity at finding and reporting Manitoba heritage sites. He has tracked down 3600 so far and now we can discover them first on this great map on the MHS website and then out there on the road. Thanks Gord.

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Filed under 1950s, Family, Ghost Towns, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Bank of Montreal, 33 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Number six in our exploration of Carberry’s historic Main Street finds us standing in awe before a gorgeous red brick behemoth.

Its grandeur, though somewhat faded, its status as local landmark and its architectural presence make the Bank of Montreal Carberry’s most important building, as deemed by government heritage researchers. Completed in 1902, originally a Union Bank, the structure combines enormous size, ambitious architecture and a variety of uses to become a unique exception to typical small town bank buildings in Manitoba. 

The main floor housed the bank proper, the basement had offices, the second floor was home for the bank manager and his family and the third floor was a dance hall.  The extravagant scheme for the place came from architect George Browne who pillaged Classical Revival style to express the pride and ambitions of Carberry and surrounds. Other buildings Browne designed that still stand in Winnipeg include the Masonic Temple on Donald, Wesley Hall at the U. of W., YMCA on Portage and the Gault Building on Arthur.

Sitting next to a narrow alley and towering above other buildings, the bank dominates the streetscape. Its colour treatment of grey limestone, red brick and white trim is striking and alluring as is the combination of materials. The delicate symmetry of the facade is expressed in a wealth of handsome detail from the large elaborate chimneys to the elegant and steadfast limestone surround of the main entrance surmounted with a limestone balustrade and a bay window.  The limestone is local, the bricks on the front facade are imported and the rest of the bricks were from nearby Sidney. Study the place to absorb all its intricacies and enjoy the exceptional intent of the architect and his client. Bank of Montreal still has a large branch in a modern building at the south end of Carberry’s Main Street 

 A month after Pa Tuckett asked Amelia Lusk to marry him (and she agreed), she got a job with Union Bank and worked the rest of her career in this fine pile.

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Two Debbies – Fiction

Reid Dickie

The two Debbies are sisters-in-law. They each married one of the Wilcox brothers. During their teens and early twenties, the Wilcox boys, Randy and Earl, were strong-willed and wild, in love with fast cars, hard liquor and tonight’s girl. That all changed when, in the same month but unbeknownst to each other, both brothers met, fell in love with and proposed marriage to a Debbie.

It was a double wedding. The four honeymooned together, or as Randy called it, “hornymooned.” Both Debbies recognized in these rough men the potential to be faithful husbands, special fathers and solid providers. They just needed a little tweaking. The Debbies are nothing if not great tweakers.

That’s how the two Debbies came to be sisters-in-law.

Both Debbies are nurses, one in the emergency room, and the other on the pediatrics ward of the same big-city hospital. They’ve seen everything. They are compassionate caring women, devoted to their patients and to their jobs. Why else, but for sheer love of the craft, would people work twelve hour shifts doing stressful work? They both became consciously aware, on the day they graduated from different nursing schools twelve years earlier, that this was a perfect fit; they were born to do this work. It is their dream job. And they just did it, while raising two children each, tweaking husbands and having fun.

That was the large lesson both Debbies learned from their mothers – have fun! It proved to be good advice under many circumstances, especially when dealing with unruly husbands or patients. Knock them off balance with a little fun. Why not? Life is short, as both Debbies see everyday.

That’s how the two Debbies came to be best friends.

Fun relieves stress. Having a best friend does, too. They arranged their schedules so, once a week, they have the same day off. Today they are both grocery shopping at Careway, the big supermarket chain, each with an empty cart and a long grocery list, neither looking forward to the chore.

They survey the large well-stocked colourful produce section and give the handsome produce man – his nametag says Luther – a good long ogle. Just loud enough so Luther can hear them, the two Debbies agree they’d like to see him wearing just the apron. They both smile at Luther before he goes on his break. Too bad. He was getting cuter by the minute. They decide to leave some hints for Luther when he returns from his break.

Debbie takes a long English cucumber, pairs it with two nice round melons and some parsley, and sets the phallic tableau on a bed of yellow beans. Debbie gets two eggplants and sets them on either side of a long yellow squash with bean sprouts tucked around each side. Debbie sets several little yellow and red hot peppers between red cherry tomatoes, tucking a set in among the arugula, another atop the oranges and another in among the grapes. Debbie takes two bananas and places them in a vaginal shape surrounded by broccoli. In a few minutes they left a dozen little suggestive tableaux, some obvious, others surprises to come across while browsing.

By the time Luther returns from his break the two Debbies are just walking away from produce, their carts carry their choices. It takes Luther several minutes to figure out what happened.

The manager of the Careway is indignant with the two Debbies as he confronts them on the floor of the store. They admit to having some fun while shopping but don’t own up to the dastardly produce porn. They let the manager fume and fuss over this, which he does! Profusely. They knock him off balance when their good natures suddenly turn sour as they accuse him of unprofessionalism and, without proof, placing blame where it doesn’t belong. The two Debbies get a couple of swift verbal kicks at the manager before they knock him off balance again by returning to sweetness and frivolity. This draw a bit of a crowd as the increasingly red-faced manager realizes he’s lost control of the situation.

“We’re the Shenanigan Sisters, I’m Sheena, she’s Treena, and our quite large husbands, Buck and Tuck, are around here somewhere,” informs Debbie.

Exasperated by these women who seem to be one step ahead of him all the time and, worst of all, don’t respect his position in the store, he has no option. He informs both Debbies they are no longer welcome in his Careway and invite them to leave immediately. Their response is laughter, so sudden and sincere that the store manager’s face turns impossibly redder with embarrassment. Other customers join in the glee.

The two Debbies abandon their half-full shopping carts, take down the name of the store manager, “so we can send you a Christmas card,” Debbie says, and, along with several other customers who sympathize with their situation, leave the Careway holding their sides from laughter, never to return.

By then Luther has discovered most of their creations.

Later that afternoon a pair of blue-haired ladies will get a chuckle out of their discovery tucked away in a manger of romaine.

That’s how the two Debbies came to be outlaws.

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Filed under Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Old Souls, Soul Building

St. Anne’s Anglican Church, MB Hwy #26

Reid Dickie

Built in 1864, St. Anne’s Anglican Church is one of the oldest log churches in continuous use in western Canada. Situated on a peaceful treed lot and surrounded by graves that date back to the building of the church, St. Anne’s  was constructed largely due to Archdeacon Cockran who was the founder of the Church of England Missions in the Assiniboine River valley.

Its plan is a simple rectangular nave with an entry tower topped with a pyramidal roof and a pinnacle with a weathervane. The four corners of the roof sport wooden pinnacles as well. Three windows on each side of the church allow adequate light, aided by the window in the apse behind the altar. All windows including the skylight above the entrance feature Gothic Revival pointed arches and complementary tracery.

The above picture is of the entrance to the church. You can see the exposed log construction. A building technique known as Red River frame, which was once the most common building technology in Manitoba, was used to build St. Anne’s. The method involved creating a framework of vertical logs, then placing short horizontal logs to fill in the spaces. Of the few remaining Red River frame buildings in the province, St. Anne’s a prime and precious example.

This picture of the interior of St. Anne’s displays the simple altar and the original plain decor of the church.

St. Anne’s Anglican Church is located just south of Hwy #26 a couple of kms west of Poplar Point. Watch for signs by the side of the road. Shrouded by mature trees, you can’t see the church from the highway. Meanwhile watch my short video of St. Anne’s

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“At death we are released into imagination and what we see is…”

Dr. Kenneth Ring has done countless studies of people who have had near death experiences (NDEs) and compared their experiences with those of shamans from various cultures. I have brought together several of Ring’s quotes in this regard and offer them here for their clarity and evocative nature.

 “The plain of experience entered by NDEers is the same as that accessed by shamans. The key to entering is imagination, not imagination as viewed by outmoded Cartesian dualism (choice is between mind or matter) but a third realm that is objectively self-existent, the cumulative product of imaginative thought itself, an imaginal place. The third realm depends not on sensory perception or ordinary cognition but on certain altered states of consciousness that destabilize and disturb the two above states. The imaginal realm is ontologically real.

“Imagination then becomes a kind of organ of perception, a creative power, that discloses a world of form, dimension and persons which can be directly apprehended. What we apprehend is our own inner spiritual state, our soul. Thus soul and imagination are indissolubly bound to each other.

“The natural language of the soul is the image, as Aristotle stated. Soul is imagination. Imagination is a purely spiritual faculty and exists even after the body has disappeared. At death we are released into imagination and what we see is the soul’s own image which is light; one’s pure soul essence undefiled by character and body. This primordial light is refracted through the prism of the soul yielding an imaginal world.

“The shaman has learned to see with the eyes of the soul and experiences the realm with a fully awakened imagination.”

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Nelson Butt Building, 31 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

The fifth heritage building along the main drag is a beaut!

Although similar to its neighbour, the Murphy Block, the Nelson Butt Building makes a striking impression along Carberry’s Main Street, Manitoba’s only Heritage District, due to its distinctive design, use of colour and lack of alternation. Joseph R. Thompson built both these commercial establishments; the Butt Building was erected about 1896 and over the decades housed a variety of businesses including law offices, a bank and a butcher shop. In its early days it was called the Joseph Thompson Building. The place earned its present name by being home to the jewellery store of Nelson J. Butt from 1946 until 1992.

The streetview of the building is a symmetrical dance of depth where brick arc and wood angle sway and commingle in sweet baths of white or red, figure and ground. The dancing balance is embodied in the superb stepped corbelling along and below the cornice, enlightened by large display windows that bare and entice, sidelights and transoms in the recessed entry which promises unknown delights within.  Three sensuous white arches pride the roofline and the two pairs of second floor windows. In this early picture you can see the front elevation is virtually the same today as it was when it was constructed 116 years ago.

 A little tearfully, Pa Tuckett recalls the first time he set eyes on Amelia Lusk, a teller at the bank that once occupied the Butt Building. She was new in town, from Souris, and had raven hair that shone in all kinds of light, almond-shaped pale grey eyes with thick lashes and a reluctant smile. She took Pa’s breath away and left him trembling and speechless at the wicket, unsure what to do with his paycheque for $14.42. It was 1917. They got married a year later.

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Jousting is the new knitting!

I’ll probably go as a jester!

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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Murphy Block, 29 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

This is number four in the series on Carberry’s historic Main Street.

The Murphy Block, so named because it was owned and/or occupied by two of the area’s most prominent and successful businessmen: the Murphy Brothers, Gabriel B. and William George, was built by merchant Joseph R. Thompson in 1886. One of Carberry’s oldest business facilities, the Murphy Block stands as an excellent example of early prairie commercial buildings. Built of brick with a rubble-stone foundation, its practical two-storey rectangular design with a flat roof and recessed front entrance made for a solid, attractive and serviceable location.

Meshing splendidly with neighbouring buildings, the block still sports something close to its original first floor facade. The simple wood and glass storefront offers large display windows with transoms, double doors with early hardware and a separate second floor entrance. Older pictures of Carberry’s Main Street reveal that behind the ugly cladding you see today on the second floor of the Murphy Block may still remain two beautifully arched windows and some fine corbelling along the cornice.

Pa Tuckett remembers that during the time W.G. operated his department store in the Murphy Block, there was a young woman named Edithina working as a cashier in the store. Pa recalls how pretty she was and that he was sweet on her but every time he asked her out, she refused. Pa never knew why.

The site also served as a hardware store run by Richard Wilkie and Errol Berry and, more recently, a fabric store called BP Fabrics. Today, though not an actual store, the two front windows are packed with someone’s interesting personal collection of antiques and collectibles.

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Filed under Carberry, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

This Week Along the Road

Reid Dickie

In just over two months, the mighty Avenger and I achieved our first 10,000 kms together this week. A pleasant Spirit Sands visit on Sunday with friends Liz and Kenn resulted in pictures of the latest flora along the trail. This is a beautiful wood lily. They dot the green landscape with vibrant orange and black, a favourite of butterflies.

Manitoba has two cacti: prickly pear and pincushion. In the transition zone between the mixed forest and the sand dunes, pincushion cacti are just coming into bloom, their scarlet buds a mere taste of their bright open blooms. The blossom will be replaced by a brown nut that tumbles off the round cactus, landing next to it and germinating there. Frequently, clusters of pincushions form as a result, some with dozens of individual cacti. Pincushions are delicate and usually die if stepped on.

Spirit Sands can always be relied upon to offer up at least one breath-taking cloudscape during every hike.

2011 Flood Update: Souris Will Swing Again! Many areas of Manitoba continue to recover from last summer’s floods. One result of the raging Assiniboine River was the strategic cutting of the historic Swinging Bridge in Souris, MB. The Town of Souris announced this week that the bridge will be replaced and work restoring one of the town’s major attractions is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013. The new bridge spanning the Assiniboine, to be built by Stantec, will be 184 metres in length. This is an artist’s rendering of the new swinging bridge.

During my 1960s youth, one of the highlights was seeing rock bands at the Brandon Summer Fair, the biggest attraction in southwestern Manitoba. Buddies and me drove the hour to see Witness Inc. (Kenny Shields) sing their first hit Harlem Lady in 1968, watch the grandstand show with an assortment of up-and-comers and down-and-outers performing.

Brandon fairgrounds had three large display buildings: Buildings 1 and 2 and the long building. Building 1 is gone but Building 2 remains, though much worse for the wear. It’s four distinctive gleaming domes dominate the grounds. A cherished federal and provincial heritage building, the old place is getting a complete restoration. Significant for numerous reasons – you can find out much more about the building’s history and restoration project at  http://www.brandonfairs.com/Display_Building/index.php?pageid=477 it’s heartening to see the grand old place reclaiming its former glory. And good on Brandon for its stewardship and recognition of heritage as an important contributor to their quality of life. I find it rather ironic but hopeful that Brandon, a city with runaway, out-of-control residential and commercial development, maintains a healthy connection with its past and finds value there.

My most vivid memory of the building is walking in the wide front doors and smelling lavender which was sold fresh in sachets by a vendor next to the entrance every year. Display Building #2 will be restored for the 2013 fair, a hundred years after it first opened for the 1913 Dominion Fair.

One of the oldest and most enigmatic headstones in Wawanesa Cemetery.

There’ll always be a Ninja, no, that’s Ninga.

Thrift shop find-of-the-week was at the MCC in Brandon which turned up a set of four 1950s glass tumblers with multi-coloured tulips on them in mint shape for 75 cents apiece.

This week I am Criddling and Vaning, hiking the moonlit sands and day tripping with an old friend so will have much to report next weekend. Happy trails, every mile a safe mile.

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Filed under Day Tripping, Earth Phenomena, Flood, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Natural Places, Parks, spirit sands, Uncategorized