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Explore the most beautiful, most repulsive city in the world through the photography of Brian Scott.
September 12, 2009 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Winnipeg: Love and Hate

Marlborough and the Legislature are two particularly nice pictures.
Satellite Map mash-up (the artist).
posted by Orange Pamplemousse (48 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Overheard near Lake Winnipeg when I visited there recently:

"You know you're in Manitoba when you see a can of bug spray strapped to the back of a bicycle, eh?"
posted by swift at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2009


See also Winnipeg Is A Frozen Shithole.
posted by the dief at 3:34 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would not be complete without a link to the Weakerthans' song I Hate Winnipeg.
posted by barnacles at 3:35 PM on September 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


"You're not allowed to hate Winnipeg unless you're from Winnipeg." - Jason Neufeld
posted by Bobby Bittman at 3:40 PM on September 12, 2009


At least it´s not Toronto.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 3:41 PM on September 12, 2009


Gave us Guy Maddin, so thanks.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:44 PM on September 12, 2009


I grew up in Winterpeg have nothing but great memories playing hockey on the Seine river in the winter and going to the family cabin at lake of the woods in the summer
Its a great place to from :-)
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 3:49 PM on September 12, 2009


...and Guy Maddin gave us My Winnipeg - - a surprisingly universal film on such a specific geographic location...
posted by fairmettle at 3:49 PM on September 12, 2009


"You're not allowed to hate Guy Maddin unless you like being entertained by movies." - Bobby Bittman
posted by Bobby Bittman at 3:51 PM on September 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sign me up as a lover of Winnipeg. Woodhaven Community Club, 1973-1975, freezing my ass of as goalie on outdoor ice. That big dip riding your bike at City Park. Salisbury House. Silver Heights Collegiate. Folkarama. Irreplaceable memories.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:53 PM on September 12, 2009


Ha, I came in here to post a link to the Weakerthans' song.

Beautiful photos, particularly this one of the Legislative Building. I have never been to Winnipeg, but it has been on my list of cities to visit since reading Carol Shields' The Republic of Love.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:55 PM on September 12, 2009


Playing touch football on cool fall evenings with a group of kids, the girls reeking of Skinny Dip perfume. Going to the movies and sitting through three screenings of Phantom of the Paradise. Supertramp, Crime of the Century. Queen, You're my Best Friend. Hot summer afternoons. The small of grass on the wind. Awesome thunderstorms, sitting on the crappy cement front porch under the dark sky before the rain starts.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:01 PM on September 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


All the pictures from downtown and the exchange... this is where I live and work. The White Star Diner (my new favorite lunch spot, winnipeggers, you must go there) and the Mondragon are 5 minutes from my work and 15 minutes from my apartment by foot.

I can tell that some people think I'm nuts for living down here instead of in the suburbs or something, but I really love it.
posted by utsutsu at 4:07 PM on September 12, 2009


I moved away before I was a year old, so my memories are from stories and return visits. It's more of a mythical place to me; a place I never really got to know and haven't been back to as an adult, but a place for which I still enjoy the myth. Have been watching Less Than Kind, the CITY-TV series set in Winnipeg and having visions of what my life might've been if my family hadn't left :)
posted by stevil at 4:24 PM on September 12, 2009


"How do you feel about living in Winnipeg?"
posted by Bobby Bittman at 4:25 PM on September 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're gonna feel a whole lot worse about living in Winnipeg after tomorrow.
posted by evilcolonel at 4:30 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Thompson, 500 miles north of Winnipeg. For me, it was cultural, artistic, and commercial mecca; the very epitome of civilization.

Of course, compared to my hometown, it was.
posted by CaseyB at 4:45 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like downtown Winnipeg but its always seemed a little awkward city. Large enough to not really work well as a town but not large enough to really have the economies of scale and diversity of larger cities.
posted by colophon at 5:15 PM on September 12, 2009


Well hurdy gurdy girl, the Osbourne Canada Day Festival of the first few photos in this post is the place to be if you ever go to Winnipeg... that's the city condensed into three short days on three short city blocks. One can drink cheap ale at 11am with bikers at the Zoo's patio, eat bebimbap at a place more authentically and traditionally Korean than an Insadong tea house (Right There Korean Museum / Restaurant), gorge on triple patty Australian burgers with fried eggs, listen to some hipper than now band play, or buy some cream soda and cotton candy for your little ones after they get their faces painted like cats. It's Winnipeg. We've survived another winter, so stop the cars for a weekend, take over the street, and let's enjoy ourselves, whatever flag we may find ourselves under.

There's other Winnipegs to be experienced, but if you're not going to spend the time to live there, this will have to do.
posted by sleslie at 5:33 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this link. I grew up in the Winnipeg suburbs, so for me these two images conjure up Winnipeg like nothing else.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:49 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs more hate.
posted by koeselitz at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2009


This would not be complete without a link to the Weakerthans' song I Hate Winnipeg.
posted by barnacles at 12:35 PM on September 12


The song is actually titled "One Great City!" It's from Reconstruction Site, one of my very favorite albums.

/indie rock pedantry
posted by kwaller at 6:13 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have fond memories of Winnipeg. Driving up from Grand Forks AFB on weekends (the drinking age in Manitoba is/was only 18 dontcha know), staying @ the Capri Motel on Pembina Hwy., exploring the local drinking establishments, meeting friendly Manitoba girls etc... One bit of culture shock was what my friends and I referred to as the "Eskimo Ghetto", I don't remember what part of town we were in but it looked like the sort of place you might refer to as the "Inner City" in the lower 48 only with Eskimos. I know, not Eskimo, First Nations. Or is it Inuit? Or Aboriginals? Help me out Canadians.
posted by MikeMc at 6:17 PM on September 12, 2009


Orange Pamplemousse: At least it´s not Toronto.

Indeed. I don't want to go to Toronto.
posted by koeselitz at 6:22 PM on September 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


I drove up to Winnipeg last summer for the first time to visit friends, via Minneapolis and Chicago. I was impressed with the well preserved downtown architecture - like a big city that still thinks it's a small town. But, flat, flat, flat. We came across the only hill in town by accident, hidden behind a huge strip mall along the train tracks. Riddled with prairie dog holes, it was clearly artificially built and functioned as a small city park and dog run. I imagined some railroad employee in the 1920s, driven mad by the lack of a 3rd dimension, hijacking the controls of a steamshovel and piling dirt in a frothy-mouthed cross-eyed panic.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:40 PM on September 12, 2009


My best friend was filming a TV series in Winnipeg a couple of years ago, and spent two summers there. I was treated to many anti-Winnipeg rants, and I think "One Great City!" became his new theme song. The anecdote that stuck with me was that not only did they have to pretend the lake was decidedly warmer than it was (ice cold, even in the summer) but that they had to digitally colour it blue, because it was in reality the saddest, most dismal brown.

PS Koselitz - I love me some Vestibules! (Though in fact, I do want to move back to Toronto.) But I don't want a tax on my wicker goods!
posted by ilana at 8:09 PM on September 12, 2009


There's a large but very loosely connected community of expatriate Winnipeggers in Vancouver; it seems to be _the_ place that many of us go when we can't take no more. I've lived both places and moved back here, to stay. All the charms of the best city in the world aren't enough to beat the beauty of friends and family. That's why many of us stay.

[Doffs his flameproof coat] If anyone knows Vancouver and wants to know what Winnipeg is like, consider Vancouver the anti-Winnipeg in many ways, for both good and ill:
 
    Winnipeg    <>   Vancouver
City with small town feel     Metropolis
Strong rural connections      Sprawl
Endless prairie sky           Endless mountain views
Inadequate bus system         Extensive transit system
Extremes of temperature       Few days are very cold or very hot
Friendly to newcomers         Indifferent to newcomers
Low cost of living            High cost of living
YMMV, natch. Don't be shy now.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


when i lived in minneapolis i worked in a bike shop. one day during winter a guy from winnipeg called to place an order. the upper midwest was in the middle of a brutal cold snap. i'm from the west coast and am admittedly kind of a pussy when it comes to weather extremes, but this was cold even for locals. the guy says "looks like you've been pretty cold down there" and it had been. i said "yeah, it was like 30 something below last night and it's like 15 below now". biking to work in that weather was awful. then he decides to one up me by telling me it was around 50 below in winnipeg last night. i don't know if he meant celsius or fahrenheit but i figured it didn't matter a whole lot. anything colder than what we were dealing with was total bullshit in my book. i figured winnipeg must be an absolutely miserable place to live.

i really like all these photos though.
posted by rainperimeter at 8:26 PM on September 12, 2009


Excellent -- some people I know are going to love this site.

*waves at Turtles* -- almost went to Silver Heights. Kinda regret not doing it. You do know that it's been combined with Sturgeon Creek, don't you? Tremendously weird.

I also love Toronto. But yes, cigarette ads for faces!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:45 PM on September 12, 2009


HP, you can't go from the Peg to Van and not comment on mosquitos. I mean really. Warm, mountainous, oceanside, and no mosquitos? It's just not fair.

But I would change "indifferent to newcomers" to "downright unfriendly to anyone but people already friends". Vancouver is perhaps the least friendly city in Canada. Which makes it kind of ironic given their attitude toward Toronto and supposed Torontonians.

As for friendliness of Winnipeggers, last time I ambushed my parents (and therefore bused home from the airport) *3* separate strangers started conversations with me. Three. Independently. With no encouragement. Kind of unsettled me, actually. I was no longer used to that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:48 PM on September 12, 2009


Ixnay on the osquitomay, Durn B; we got enough image problems...
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:09 PM on September 12, 2009


Having spent my life in Southern California, Winnipeg looks so exotic. Great photos.
posted by Edward L at 9:23 PM on September 12, 2009


I've heard Seattle (my hometown) described, in a somewhat impolitic fashion, as having "a mild case of municipal autism," and Vancouver B.C. kinda-sorta has that going on, too. We're nice over here, really. It's just, we're bad at talking... and noticing... and, really, all the real skills that go into being friendly, but we mean well! I swear!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:26 PM on September 12, 2009


Needs more hate.

It smells like a Porta-Potty, and drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all seem to exhibit equally high rates of brainlessness.

what my friends and I referred to as the "Eskimo Ghetto", I don't remember what part of town we were in but it looked like the sort of place you might refer to as the "Inner City" in the lower 48 only with Eskimos. I know, not Eskimo, First Nations. Or is it Inuit? Or Aboriginals? Help me out Canadians.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." -Nick Hill
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:59 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like Winnipeg.

After driving down from Alaska in 1996 and going through what seemed like five solid days of corn fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Winnipeg was an oasis of civilized splendor.
posted by Brosef K at 10:00 PM on September 12, 2009


Having spent my life in Southern California, Winnipeg looks so exotic.

I just spent three hours drinking beer, playing trivial pursuit, and laughing endlessly with a group of friends; yet this, this, is the funniest thing I've heard all day. Thank you.
posted by mannequito at 10:23 PM on September 12, 2009


The most poignant song I know about a city is not, in fact, One Great City, but instead Left and Leaving, by the same band, the Weakerthans. I think we can presume it's about Winnipeg, too.

The city's still breathing, but barely it's true
Through buildings gone missing like teeth...
posted by bicyclefish at 11:49 PM on September 12, 2009


Bryan Scott's flickr account. I think he's photographed nearly every building of interest in Winnipeg.

I imagined some railroad employee in the 1920s, driven mad by the lack of a 3rd dimension, hijacking the controls of a steamshovel and piling dirt in a frothy-mouthed cross-eyed panic.

CynicalKnight, that was Garbage Hill. All of our hills here are former garbage dumps (or flood dikes). Yet another reason we are One Great City.
posted by teg at 12:00 AM on September 13, 2009


You do know that it's been combined with Sturgeon Creek, don't you? Tremendously weird.

I lived in Winnipeg for 8 years, and I never figured out the high school code words. You see, I wasn't born there, and didn't go to a high school there. The high school question is the first thing asked of new acquaintances between Winnipegers, but my answer of "a small town 3 hours out of here" was the same as saying "Xi'an Western District Middle School for PRC family members." As in it stopped that train of thought and made the rest of the conversation awkward.

So I implore the Winnipegers here to assign me a high school so I can fake it and finally reach that 3rd level of Winnipegness that I lack. I liked movies with subtitles, was lower middle class, I programmed C64's in my basement for fun, I liked the Manson and the Nine Inch Nails and the Aphex Twin and the Public Enemy and Arrested Development when I was a young 'un, made claymation vids with a VHS camcorder, worked in the family business as soon as I was 14 and I hated sports unless it was pick up basketball. Social life was when I could get it, because of the family business thing, but degenerated into a lot fun the first two years of University. I also got A's. What school is that, Winnipegers?
posted by sleslie at 1:22 AM on September 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You do know that it's been combined with Sturgeon Creek, don't you? Tremendously weird.

When I was in Grade 9 (Bruce Junior High), Sturgeon Creek had been open for only a few years. The Big Decision as to whether we'd go there or Silver Heights was left to us. We toured both schools. Sturgeon Creek was amazing, facilities and equipment galore--I still remember this industrial press with a laser that would indicate where its heavy blade would cut a whole stack of paper. Silver Heights was much older and on a much smaller scale, which just felt right to me at the time.

Moving to Vancouver a year and a half later was an eye-opening and miserable experience. It was the worst stage of young life at which to be moving anyway, and the sudden change between friendly Manitobans and, let's say, less friendly Vancouver kids was a shock. I've lived in Vancouver, more or less, since that point. When I hear people talk about how unfriendly Vancouver is, I suppress my natural inclination to disagree--it doesn't seem unfriendly at all to me now--and remember how cold and unfriendly it felt at fifteen.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:31 AM on September 13, 2009


You know you're from Winnipeg when...

(with a few personal favourites listed below:)

- You call jelly filled donuts Jambusters. (It was a revelation to me that everybody didn't call them jambusters)

- You know what a social is.

- You're proud to be Slurpee Capital of Canada.

- You can argue the merits of boiled vs. fried perogies.

- There are always 4 empty cars running in the parking lot of a beer store at any given time.

- If you have ever handled a sandbag.

- You've used your ice scraper on the INSIDE of your car window.

- The zipper pull on your parka is a tiny thermometer with a wind-chill chart on the back.

- When you know the address of Kern Hill Furniture Co-Op! "C'mon DOOOOOWN....." (may Nick Hill rest in peace).
posted by Quiplash at 7:32 AM on September 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


A great book (rather, a great piece of literature) about Winnipeg.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:40 AM on September 13, 2009


What school is that, Winnipegers?

Sound like you'd have fit in with us somewhere in the south end. Bruns, or Glenlawn maybe. Or WPC.


Eskimo Ghetto

While there are likely some Eskimo / Inuit people here, most of these folks are simply Native north americans, Manitoba specifically has a lot of Cree and Ojibway, as well as Metis populations. Winnipeg has the largest Native population in Canada both in absolute population and % of total population. Funny though, the largest minority here is actually Philipino.


Garbage Hill

Ahh yes, the winter pilgrimage to Garbage Hill, aka the only damn place to go tobogganing that isn't a ditch, was always a good time with guaranteed severe frost bite.


dismal brown

Winnipeg means "muddy waters". Also, our aging sewers are constantly springing leaks into the rivers, which feed the lakes. So yeah, your friend spent his time enjoying the ice cold poop water :)
posted by utsutsu at 3:36 PM on September 13, 2009


You're gonna feel a whole lot worse about living in Winnipeg after tomorrow.

Oh my shit, people were leaving the stadium before the third quarter was even over, this is a bloodbath.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:47 PM on September 13, 2009


Thanks for this. I'm more love than hate these days but maybe that's because I'm thousands of miles away. The pictures flooded my mind with memories. I loved growing up in Winnipeg and was shocked when I moved to the U.S. how generic and bland the cities were. Why would you want a city of freeways? One of my favorite things about Winnipeg is that it continues to be a really big small town. And, I guess, like any small town there are people dying to escape but I believe that for every one of them, there are at least two people living somewhere else, wishing things were a little more like Winnipeg.
posted by wallaby at 4:53 PM on September 13, 2009


The most poignant song I know about a city is not, in fact, One Great City, but instead Left and Leaving, by the same band, the Weakerthans. I think we can presume it's about Winnipeg, too.

Oh hells yes. It's obvious to anyone who listens to it that "One Great City!" is about Winnipeg, but the whole Weakerthans oeuvre is steeped in Winnipeg imagery that's instantly recognizable to anyone who lived there: I'm more love than hate these days but maybe that's because I'm thousands of miles away. The pictures flooded my mind with memories.

Hear, hear. I know that it's unlikely that my chosen career path will ever take me back to Winnipeg permanently, but damn do I miss it sometimes.

Driving up from Grand Forks AFB on weekends (the drinking age in Manitoba is/was only 18 dontcha know), staying @ the Capri Motel on Pembina Hwy., exploring the local drinking establishments, meeting friendly Manitoba girls etc...

The drinking age is still 18, and (perhaps surprisingly) the Capri is still in operation, 1960's-vintage sign and all.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:32 AM on September 14, 2009


I discovered yesterday that there can be football that is so bad that there exists in the universe an insufficient supply of beer to make it watchable. Even the diehards who routinely jingle their keys at the early deserters were quiet. Booing didn't seem appropriate after a time, so we just sat there in grim silence.

Also, Silver Heights class of '94!
posted by joelhunt at 8:30 AM on September 14, 2009


And once again I bemoan the loss of Unicity Fashion Square (aka "the Mall") before there was an internet to preserve its memory.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:19 PM on September 15, 2009


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