Lyons Mansion, Hwy #5, 1 km south of Carberry, MB
Robert Fern Lyons was an early settler in the Carberry area who owned 2700 acres of land and raised crops and livestock. A Conservative, Lyons was elected to the Manitoba Legislature five times between 1892 and 1914. Lyons built his mansion just outside of the town. Though long abandoned and disintegrating quickly, the crumbling mansion retains enough of the detail to suggest its original magnificence. Built around 1895, the red and buff brick two-storey house combines elements of Italianate and Queen Anne architectural styles into a striking and luxurious pile. The first floor features buff brick, the second floor red brick, both laid in standard running bond. The commingling of both coloured bricks on the second floor is fluid and dynamic. The asymmetrical massing of the house, round segmental arches over the windows and the accent quoins are all Italianate elements that give the house a villa feel. Queen Anne style is represented in the two-storey rounded rooms, the bargeboard and fish scale shingles on the gable ends, the ornate three arched windows, which open into the stairway, and picturesque roofline. I suspect this place will be torn down soon. Watch my 3 minute video tour of the shambles inside the old mansion.
Carberry and North Cypress Rural Municipality are Spud Country. Every year local farmers plant and harvest about 20,000 acres of potatoes, much of it processed at the nearby McCain Canada plant.
It’s buzz buzz buzz all the doo-dah day here with three more short videos squirted out and now uploaded to YouTube. I always take lots of pictures at heritage sites, especially churches because they are particularly photogenic – must be their aura. Since I can only use a few pictures in my blog posts, I’ve made short videos using pictures from three Manitoba churches. You get to see contextual views of how and where the building sits, shots of it from many different angles and some sound to accompany the vision. I have featured all three churches in blog posts. Click on the church name to read my blog post. Click picture to watch the video.
St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, near Gardenton, 2:39
Union Point United Church, Hwy #75, near Ste. Agathe 2:07
First and Second St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko 3:09
The road is long. In fact, it cannot be stopped. Sometimes, across open prairie, the road is obvious with lines and arrows; sometimes the road disappears into the bush or grass but it’s always there, unstoppable. The road possesses the souls of those who travel it in a particular way, not as a path or a conduit but as a Holy Mile, The One Mile, The Only Mile, Unending, Endurably Far, Replicating Itself to The Vanishing Point.
Yet, beside the road, the haunted souls of the long gone find solace and sanctuary in the tumbledowns, the neglected and abandoned places that once danced with the rhythms of lives but now succumb and succumb. Visit six lonesome places by clicking on the pic.
Since childhood I remember driving past this old, long-abandoned stone farmhouse set humbly but with a certain majesty at the top of a rise next to the highway south of Hartney, MB. My grandparents homesteaded in the area so I often saw the old house up there, lonesome and vulnerable.
It is constructed from the most readily available material on the prairie in this part of the province: field stones. The mason who collected the stones and created the patchwork hues had a special eye for colour and size. Now tumbling down, the stones are returning to their fields, the patchwork disassembling in the wind, snow and heat.
The Mansard roof is cut with six gabled dormers. Lightening rods puncture the roof fending off the electric storms that sweep across the land. Swallows find excellent nesting sites under the eaves. The sky scowls down.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to investigate this house but this summer I spent a cloudy afternoon capturing it. Combining still and live images of the exterior and interior of the house with some whimsical sound I created a two-minute video. Click on any picture to start the video.
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.
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.
I shot some footage of one of Carberry’s finest old heritage piles: the White House aka Gingerbread House. Read a previous post about this house and its history. Now part of Carberry Plains Museum, which you will also see in the video, the gingerbread house performs charismatically and unabashedly to some “original” sound I created by combining noises from freesound.org. Just click the pic above and it all unfolds for you.
See more heritage guff and such on my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/DickToolCo/videos
It was almost exactly a year ago that several acres of a timothy field turned into a huge sinkhole on the north boundary of Riding Mountain National Park as you can see in the picture. My reports and video footage of it remain some of the most-frequented posts on this blog and my YouTube channel. I returned to the site this week and shot a short video update about the sinkhole.
Afternoon turns into night. Time lapse photography from the porch of Yurt #4 at Spruce Woods Provincial Park. Click pic to watch my video
Located in the Kosiw district south-southwest of Dauphin, MB, near the northern boundary of Riding Mountain National Park, the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul is a fine interpretation of a type of traditional church architecture found in Western Ukraine. Overlooking pastoral rolling farmland, the cruciform wooden church with its five, eight-sided, metal-covered banyas (onion domes), including the large two-tiered central dome that opens into the church below, has served area pioneers and their descendents since 1921. The figure of the arched sash windows is doubly replicated in the attractive entrance to the place. On the same sheltered grounds is a well constructed wooden belltower, typically separate from the church proper, housing two bells. Watch my one-minute video of the church.
Click the pic to find out.
A blast from the past! Alternate take of “Frozen Warnings,” a Nico classic covered by beautiful Linda and myself somewhere in the early 1980s. (Find our original version here.) This time, join us on a taxi ride from near River and Osborne to Winnipeg’s North End via the Arlington Street Bridge. Alfred Avenue between Battery and Artillery is where Linda grew up. The Winnipeg taxi dispatcher works hard to keep the customer satisfied while we Dick Tool around, intoning a freakish duet. Local landmarks arise, Homer’s Restaurant on Ellice, the Windmill Restaurant on Selkirk and who remembers the Rickshaw Restaurant at 875 Portage? Rancid Randy, a feisty obese raccoon who frequented area backyards, can be heard pounding on a toy baby grand piano we set up near our trash can and tricked him into playing. That coon plays a nasty yano!
Despite the full moon and the deep background the places contain, things aren’t quite right. Aren’t they? Click the pic to find out.
I was going through my photographs of Manitoba heritage sites and came across this piece of Manitoba heritage that was lost to vandals in 2004.
Glenboro Canadian Pacific Railway Water Tower, Railway Avenue, Glenboro, MB
The very best example of an octagonal wooden railway water tower in Manitoba stood beside the tracks from 1904 until its destruction by arson in 2008. This design, the Standard No. 1 Plan was pioneered by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1903 and quickly became part of the Manitoba landscape. Between 1902 and 1925, the CPR constructed 75 water towers in the province every 80 kms (50 miles) which was how far a steam train could travel before needing water.
The Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism offers further details on the site: Constructed in 1904, the Glenboro structure is the best surviving example of an intact, fully-equipped water tower in Manitoba. The adjacent pumphouse fed water to the tank inside the water tower. A coal-burning boiler powered an interior water pump and prevented the water in the tank from freezing. In 1939 this pumping mechanism was replaced by an electric motor and pump installed inside the tower. A ball, or “float”, glided along a pole atop the tower to indicate the level of the water in the tank. The cedar water tank, with a capacity of 181,840 litres (40,000 gallons) of water, rests upon a framework of large wooden support timbers. By the late 1950s, the railway companies converted to diesel-powered locomotives which made the water structures obsolete. This tower once stored the community water supply for the Village of Glenboro.
Alas, the old water tower was burned to the ground by arsonists in April, 2008 and its rich and consequential heritage value went up in smoke. Several other fires were set in Glenboro the same night. Glenboro is plagued by a firebug who set several fires previous to the destruction of the water tower and since, recently in the summer of 2011.
Because of the in situ value of heritage sites, they are often in an isolated area without close human habitation or they are vulnerable due to lack of physical protection. Another Manitoba heritage site that has recently been vandalized is the Criddle Vane homestead near Shilo. The old house Percy Criddle built in the late 1800s today stands empty and open, its windows smashed and replaced with plexiglas. My post on the Criddle Vane homestead is here and you can watch my video tour of the house and surrounding area here.
You might also be interested in the research done by Westman Paranormal which has recorded some of the spirit events inside the Criddle Vane house.
In the cemetery of the church yard around St. Francois Xavier Roman Catholic Church in St. Francois Xavier, MB stands a huge tree, once magnificent in every season, now dead every day. On its naked branches, some entangled in the church steeple, European starlings gather to discuss important bird business. In the neighbourhood, Rover barks at imaginery foes, halftons roll past one by one and the dead are patient, as ever. Click the pic to watch my latest video, Tree Birds Dog Trucks Dead.
UPDATE: As of summer 2013, the tree has been cut down, just a low stump remains.
After an exhaustive, year-long dig working under harsh and inhospitable conditions, a crew of experienced archies has unearthed something rare. Resurrected and dusted for carbon dating, this video relic from the distant past resonates even today in our post-communicative world.
Decades ago, in the pre-digital Dark Age, Linda and I created a strange but topical promo video for a new fashion trend called Sordid Amok. With the help of several brave friends, we demonstrated the absolute relevance of Sordid Amok, which involves some skin, many forms of plastic, giant crocheted ice cream treats and plenty of office supplies.
As Linda tells you in the script, Sordid Amok shows you “new ways to create envy, infiltrate envy, thwart envy, develop rage, soothe rage” and just in time. Sordid Amok will help you get through life’s “wilderness of mirrors.”
Since there still are people walking around committing crimes of fashion with no dash in last year’s brown, Sordid Amok’s time has come. “I want a hat with cherries!” Click on any picture to play the short video.
For sheer cuteness and adorability it’s hard to find a rodent more fitting than the black-tailed prairie dog. Largely extirpated from most of their habitat which extends down into Texas, the prairie dogs in Canada are safely preserved in Grasslands National Park. Several easily accessible dogtowns dot the park and you won’t be disappointed with the shenanigans of these cute critters.
Prairie dogs are a keystone species, meaning they are often the main course for several other species in their habitat. In GNP prairie dogs are preyed upon by newly-reintroduced black-footed ferrets, prairie rattlesnakes, swift foxes, ferruginous hawks, golden eagles, badgers and coyotes. Burrowing owls nest in old prairie dog burrows. It’s a cozy relationship. Click the pic and spend two minutes in dogtown.
You can find more information on prairie dogs elsewhere on my blog like here and here
A delightful impossibility!
In 1870 the Dominion of Canada bought Rupert’s Land, which was pretty much all of western Canada, from the Hudson’s Bay Company. After passing the Dominion Lands Act in 1872, the government embarked on an advertising campaign to entice people from Europe, the United States and eastern Canada to come to western Canada and take advantage of the free land and unbound opportunity. This campaign went on well into the 20th century. I gathered together ten of the Dominion’s ads from the period, several of them covers for pamphlets about Canada that, more often than not, wildly exaggerated the potential of the prairies. Basically, they were propaganda. In that same tradition, I envisioned what the Dominion’s TV ad might have looked like in the 1870s. Click the poster to watch.
It was an unusually warm October afternoon when I captured this eastbound fast freight on CNR mainline just south of Headingley, MB. The crossing arm creates a new horizon across which the train flies. Great rhythms. Play it loud!
Although I live on an older residential street in Winnipeg, at the same time, I also live in a forest. Winnipeg’s urban forest consists of a wide variety of trees including elm, ash, maple, oak, poplar, basswood, willow, birch, spruce, pine, cedar, some fruit trees and shrubs. The number of trees in Winnipeg is estimated at 8 million, which includes about 160,000 elms.
Every year for the last 10 years, Winnipeg has lost 5,000 elm trees to Dutch elm disease. The City spends $3 million a year to control the disease with varying degrees of success. One method of limiting the spread of DED is removal of infected trees. This week, a City Forestry crew took down a sick tree on my block. The tree was at least 90 years old and one of the larger, better-trimmed trees. My time-lapse video condenses the two hours the crew took to cut down and dispose of the tree into two minutes. They first cut away the crown of the tree, then tied a rope to the bare trunk and pulled it over with a hough. Every year City Forestry plants between 700 and 2400 trees.