Tag Archives: mcc

MCC Thrift Stores Turn 40

Reid Dickie

Regular readers of my blog know I am a veteran thrift store haunter. This was a major source of fun and occasional profit for Linda and me starting in the 1980s. We developed what we called rummage tours that could hit as many thrift stores as possible in the fewest miles. We traveled the South Rummage Tour dozens of times over the years. Its route was Niverville, Morris, Altona, Plum Coulee, Winkler, Morden and Carman, a perfect loop south of Winnipeg with seven stores to shop and a nice day`s drive. I still do the South Rummage Tour now and then. All the stores are bigger now, more variety, more professional but still offer the thrill of the hunt, successful or not.

These seven stores are all Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift stores, an organization that is celebrating its fortieth year this year. I was doing some heritage recon in southern Manitoba today and stopped in at the Altona MCC thrift shop. I found these three spiffy neckties, two 1960s skinny ones and a nice wide silk from the 1940s, not a soup stain among them. My total cost: $1.25 for all three. I donated a couple of bucks as I always do.

Altona was the first town to have a MCC thrift shop because local resident Selma Loewen took to heart a comment made at the 1972 MCC Manitoba annual meeting by John Hostetler, director of MCC’s Material Resources department. He reported that MCC was reducing overseas shipments of used clothing, commenting “We need a machine that will turn clothing into cash.”

Selma thought up “the machine” that she excitedly told three friends about over tea.  Linie Friesen, Susan Giesbrecht and Sara Stoesz agreed a little store selling used items at cheap prices would work!  They opened the very first MCC thrift store on March 17, 1972 expecting it to last maybe six months. Today there are almost 200 MCC thrift stores in Canada and the U. S. Read the rest of the story.

Linda and me agreed that the humanitarian work done by the MCC around the globe was always worth supporting. If you can, please shop MCC thrift stores in your area. This is a list of all the ones in Canada.

On Saturday September 8, 2012 many Manitoba MCC`s will contribute to the annual Relief Auction Sale. The proceeds from the auction will go to support MCC food programs feeding thw world`s hungry. To be held in Morris, MB at the stampede grounds, the sale is a fun fundraising event. Here is the line up of activities at the auction sale. For more information on making donations to the sale or volunteering, go to mccmanitoba.ca

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Dog Day Drive on the Sweltering Prairie

Reid Dickie

Yet another 33 degree C. (over 90 F.) day in a perfect summer which demanded a short jaunt out of The Hive onto the lake bed southeast of Winnipeg! There was enough breeze to slake the heat. The air was full of chaff from plundering combines wrapping up the 2012 harvest. Three MCC thrift stores hit along the way – Niverville, Grunthal, Steinbach – with zilch to report from all of them. Surprising!

I paused in Sarto to see if Willow Plain School was open. It wasn’t. Instead I talked to Jake who was restoring the traditional blue window trim to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarto. Here’s Jake at work.

You’ll notice the onion dome at the front of the church is a yellow colour, part of its new coat of paint. Jake thought he’d be repainting them. Here’s a view of the church with its yellow domes. Sarto is on Provincial Road 205.

As I drove east along 205, I saw a number of unusual small buildings along the road about a mile west of Hwy #12. They turned out to be elaborate sheds. Called estate sheds, they are definitely not the kind you buy at Canadian Tire. Some resembled cabins, others playhouses and barns. All the designs had certain delightful, whimsical features.  Two guys were working assembling one of the cabin sheds in the heat. Henry and Ernie told me they came prefab and there are dozens of styles to choose from. All styles have double doors, either on the side or front, to easily access the shed and move equipment in and out.

The company is Triman Estates Mini Sheds in Neepawa, MB who can special order the sheds from Miller’s Storage Barns in the U. S. They come in dozens of sizes and shapes, colours and you can even customize them yourself. Find out more about the company at http://www.playmorswingsets.com/playmor-swingset-dealer/triman-estate-mini-sheds.

Three kms south of Steinbach next to Hwy #12 is St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. You can’t miss the tiny white chapel with the red roof, pointed Gothic windows and tall skinny steeple. In back of the church under shady oaks rest dozens of local parishioners.

The beach at St. Malo Provincial Park was thronged with sunbathers, swimmers, beach volleyball players and people escaping the heat.

This memorial to the deceased who have been shuffled around while the modern world “progresses” can be seen next to provincial road 311 half a km south of its junction with Hwy 59.

Here’s its B-side.

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

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

You have a great eye for tacky, Reid!

Reid Dickie

That statement came from my dear old friend Terry after we had rummaged through a couple of thrift stores in rural Manitoba yesterday. We went picking blueberries, that`s what we call it when we drive around and see the sights, just a couple of retired guys wasting gas. Linda and I did a lot of rummaging in thrift stores over the years. She had the classy eye. She could walk into a secondhand store or thrift store and immediately see the Moorcroft vase ($3 which we later sold for $800) or the stylish 1940s ladies`hat. I have the tacky eye and it was very productive yesterday. Here`s what I found at the Morris MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) store:

These are from the 1950s and they are postcard display boxes with a little oriental scene inside each one. There is a slot at the top back where you can slide in the scenic card. One is a souvenir of Perce, PQ. Cost: 25 cents each

 

Also at Morris MCC this amazingly tacky souvenir of the Athabasca Tar Sands, as if the tar sands need any further souvenirs to add to the millennia of degradation it will leave when the oil is all sucked from the sand. Cost: 50 cents. By the way, in Saudi Arabia it costs $1 to extract a barrel of oil; at the tar sands, it costs $26. Oil is about $100 a barrel these days so you figure out the greed potential here. I remind you again, we all need to know about abiotic oil.

 

At the Niverville Thrift Store I found two more very tacky items. This little ceramic bear is from Falcon Lake in eastern Manitoba and the Fahrenheit thermometer still works. Cost: 35 cents.

Besides tacky souvenirs I collect tacky religious items. This lamp was laying in wait for me in Niverville. After testing it out – it has a dull red glow in the centre of the picture which is convex – I brought it home even though it exceeded my limit of $2 for any one item. It was $3 but I felt since the shells were complete and original and the item was made in Italy, it had at least an extra dollar of tackiness.

 My total expenditure for the day: $4.85. A good day for my tacky eye. And a good day of picking blueberries, too.

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Filed under DickToolery, Diversions, Linda, Prairie People