Today I’m going to announce the winner in my big My Winnipeg Contest, in which I, the personable and hard-working Page 2 columnist, asked you, the compassionate and kind-hearted newspaper readers, to share your innermost feelings about the city in which we all live together in harmony and bliss.
I got the brilliant idea for this contest last week when my colleague and good buddy Boris dragged me to the Winnipeg premiere of local filmmaker Guy Maddin’s new film My Winnipeg, during which some of us middle-aged audience members with weak bladders laughed so hard that, later in the evening, when we gave the film a standing ovation, we sincerely wished we had thought to bring along an extra pair of pants.
But the thrust of my gist is that My Winnipeg got me to thinking about “my Winnipeg,” as in what I, a person who grew up in Vancouver, truly feels about the city where I have now lived for the last 30 years or so.
And so I launched the My Winnipeg Contest because I knew, deep in my heart, that if I got enough entries I’d be able to slap them into a column and spend the rest of the long weekend in my backyard drinking beer.
And, boy, did you readers ever come through big time. I received dozens and dozens of entries, some from as far away as Cork County, Ire., and Stockton, Calif. As I write this, my desk is littered with printed copies of your e-mails, most of which are now coated with peanut butter because I’m also trying to eat my breakfast.
Anyway, all the entries were subjected to a rigorous two-part judging process, in which I first checked each one to see if it contained any money (they did not) and then read them to my buddy Boris in a professional radio-announcer voice and asked: “How about this one?” Or: “OK, what about that one?”
After perusing all the entries, I am delighted to report that you readers really love your city. Except, of course, for those of you who do not. I received several e-mails from readers who made the lighthearted points that (a) they hate Winnipeg; and (b) they hate me even more.
But most of the entries gave me a definite warm and fuzzy feeling, so here are a whole bunch of them, culminating with the GRAND PRIZE WINNER. Your Winnipeg is …
The model they (whoever they are) used when they (whoever they are) coined the phrase, “There’s no place like home!”
The way all of us come together whenever there is any kind of emergency or need to fundraise; our city is the most caring one in Canada, if not the world.
The way people from afar always order their favourite food “memories,” like Winnipeg rye bread, corn beef sandwiches, Jeanne’s cakes, Sals nips. But for the future, my Winnipeg will be the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
The many outdoor activities you can do year-round (Fringe Festival, Red River Ex, Folklorama, Festival du Voyageur).
BDI only if it’s mid-day or just as they’re closing — and I only live a few houses away.
A Timmies, not far from where you are ANYWHERE!
The Blue Bombers through thick and thin.
My Winnipeg is filled with columnists who get their readers to write their columns (OK, that one came from my boss).
Dodging the beer police at the local golf course because you want to drink your far superior contraband beer instead of the (bad word) they sell from the booze cart.
Portage and Main, the windiest corner in Canada.
Bitching about everything in Winnipeg but being the FIRST one to stand up and defend it when someone takes a shot. Gotta love it!
Everyone knowing each other, yet there are enough strangers to keep this place interesting.
My Winnipeg is that never leaves you even if you live it (Huh?).
Warm summer evenings; there are patio heaters around but they’re usually not necessary in the Peg.
The Fat Boy and Fries at George’s on St. Mary’s Road; I haven’t found a comparable burger in “Cowtown” yet! (from an ex-Winnipegger in Calgary).
Wide blue skies.
Just 45 minutes to a lake (and not just a puddle).
Tobogganing when it’s not minus 40.
Gelati and wandering the Corydon area.
Everything I need to have a wonderful life — my family and friends, reasonable housing, clean air, green space, four wonderful seasons, and best of all, great people!
A city of wondrous sights, gastronomical delights, warm fuzzy people and the holder of my heart though I’ve been gone for 50 years (from an ex-Winnipegger in California).
The climate of warm people.
Knowing I can get anywhere in the city in 30 minutes or less, and to waterfront paradise, in less time than an average Torontonian commute.
Which brings us at last to our winning entry, which was submitted by the very sweet and clever Kathy Labossiere:
“My Winnipeg is … being able to use your car’s heater and air conditioner on the SAME day!”
I hope you will be as deeply moved by Kathy’s entry as Boris and I were. And, just as soon as Kathy answers her phone, I will tell her that she has won a lovely $100 gift certificate for Giselle’s Professional Skin Care & Spas, as well as a copy our fabulous book, The Hermetic Code.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank all of you for taking the time to enter. I realize some of you would have picked a different winner, but in a great city like ours everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
And yours is wrong.
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