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The truth about Winterpeg: It's not Paris, no other city could be, but it is Winnipeg

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grumpy old man

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This is how I feel. An excellent article, and bang on IMO...
By: Philippe Erhard

My last trip to Paris was rather strange. At the airport, as I got into a taxi, the driver asked me where I was from.

"Canada," I said. I usually don't mention Winnipeg as I have learned that the French geography usually stops at the Quebec border.

"Ah, Canada, a beautiful county. I have a cousin who lives there. Let's see, I think it's in a place called Winterpeg or something like that," he said.

"Winnipeg," I corrected him. "That is where I come from."

"Yes, Winnipeg, I remember now. A beautiful place! I was there once and really enjoyed it. I remember the trees and the peace in the city. But what are you doing here? How can you leave such a peaceful and beautiful place and come to this. Look around! It's crazy here! It's so busy and crowded. Everybody is rushing, mad, running wild. There is no peace here.

"Being a taxi driver in Paris is bad for my health. And if I survive this, I will retire in Winnipeg. No more of this crazy life."

At the hotel, I was questioned like a criminal.

"Winnipeg? Why are you here? How can you leave Winnipeg and come here? Look around. Look at those old buildings. They are dirty, dark, musty, overflowing with rats. Smell the pollution.

"Listen. The noise never stops. Go back to Winnipeg!"

At the restaurant, people were surprised when they learned I was from Winnipeg.

"Why would you leave such a sunny place and come here? It's grey and raining here, all the time. And when it's not raining it is too hot and humid. We don't even have air conditioning. This place is not made for people.

"We are so sorry that the weather is bad. Please excuse us for this cloudy and rainy day."

What is going on? Has Paris changed so much? Is Winnipeg suddenly becoming a famous city?

Reality is not exactly like that.

If you go to Paris, people are proud of their city. They don't focus on the negatives. But imagine if the Parisians had a negative attitude toward their city. Do you think that Paris would be one of the most visited cities in the world? Do you think that Paris would have such a glorious history?

It is such a contrast to what we see in Winnipeg. What do you think happens when someone comes to visit Winnipeg for the first time?

People are proud to say that there is nothing to do in Winnipeg. People are eager to brag about Winnipeg's two seasons: the mosquito season and the season when it is -40, a season where you could die in less than a minute, depending on the windchill factor.

And if you move here from another country, you are looked at with suspicion: What kind of crime have you committed in your own country to come here?

It is very common to hear people apologizing for the weather or the mosquitoes as if they are the cause of it.

Any new idea for the city's development is met with criticism.

"It will never work here. It's too expensive. It's a stupid project. Who do those planners think they are? We're not in New York or Paris! I am sure the Eiffel Tower would have never been built in Winnipeg."

And when you hear all that you really wonder. "Why am I here? How stupid of me to come to a mosquito-infested place that is in the middle of nowhere." And when you think that way, you know you have been assimilated. You are a true Winnipegger!

But this is not reality either.

One multinational company, with jobs all over Canada, said getting people to transfer to Winnipeg was like pulling teeth. Nobody wanted to come. But once they moved to Winnipeg, nobody wanted to leave. In fact, Winnipeg was the only city in the country, for several years in a row, where people refused transfers.

You see people coming from all over the world and are very happy and satisfied to be in Winnipeg. If you talk to an ex-Winnipegger living somewhere else, most of them express the desire to return to Winnipeg and are nostalgic about prairie life.

What is going on then? Where is the truth?

The first truth is that there is no perfect place in the world. Every place has good and bad points. Whatever you focus on will amplify in your mind.

And that brings me to my second and most important truth. Happiness and life satisfaction are really a reflection of oneself. They are a reflection of how our mind functions, a reflection of who we are, a reflection of our own attitude in life and have nothing to do with where we live.

Another important truth is that Winnipeg and Manitoba are great places to live. Too often, we realize the treasures and beauty of a place when we move away.

And what do we have here?

Look around and see. I will not be able to mention it all, but this is what I love the most about Winnipeg and Manitoba: the peace of the city life, the endless sun in all seasons, the bright and infinite sky, the city trees. Winter.

Yes! One of the best seasons of the year. Go for a walk on a sunny, crisp winter day. Go cross- county skiing. Go skating on the longest rink in the world. Feel the heat of the sun on your face mixed with cold, fresh air. You will never forget this feeling.

And really, it is cold for just a few minutes. If you are well-dressed, if you move, you will realize that the cold is very pleasant and invigorating. Winters are luminous, night and day, under a background of dark-blue sky or sparkling stars. And for a few months, we have the chance to live in the Arctic

And then Winnipeg decides to have the life of the rich and famous and move to tropical country.

Ah, those long and lazy summer days. Those endless swims in lakes. Those canoe trips in the infinite wilderness. You may visit the Atlantic Coast in Grand Beach, Morocco in Spruce Wood Provincial Park, Iceland on Hecla Island.

And you go back to the city with its restaurants, its vibrant cultural life and multiple festivals: the Fringe Festival, the Jazz Festival, and the Folk Festival. You can travel all over the world, experience multiple cultures, by going to Folklorama. You can travel in time and experience French culture by going to the Festival du Voyageur.

And when you go back to the city, you even wonder if you are in a city -- it feels more like a forest. Winnipeg is like living in the country with all the advantages of a big city. It is easy to connect with people. People are friendly, open and easygoing. Life is still slower and more peaceful than in any other big city.

And Winnipeg quickly becomes more than just a place to be; it becomes home. Come to think of it, coming to Winnipeg was a great move.

Philippe Erhard is a sports medicine physician in Winnipeg, originally from France and author of the book Being: A Hiking Guide through Life.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 22, 2011 H11


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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

tick

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face a fact.
winnipeg aint fer weaklings.
cockrosches and bedbugs barely survive in poohtown.
mammals must be tough as nails to survive 3 cold days round here.
or communist.
cooperation lets we niggards survive.
all hail cheap natural gas.

Triniman

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What I like about Winnipeg is that it's not too big. It doesn't take long to get anywhere.

A friend from out of town commented on how we have plenty of tree-lined streets with residences. I just assumed that it was like that everywhere, but apparently not.


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“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through
our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that
democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'



― Isaac Asimov

greenTYPEWRITERS

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Triniman wrote:What I like about Winnipeg is that it's not too big. It doesn't take long to get anywhere.

A friend from out of town commented on how we have plenty of tree-lined streets with residences. I just assumed that it was like that everywhere, but apparently not.
Winnipeg has the largest urban elm forest in North America.

http://greenTYPEWRITERS.blogspot.com/

EdWin

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Good article. But it's bang on about how negative Winnipegger's can be about their city and developments that are proposed. What I would like to see is a shift in the attitude on how Winnipeggers view the city, starting with the younger generation. Once you get this going, you will see a world of difference. It's happened here in Edmonton. Edmonton used to be just as negative as Winnipeg. But over the last 10 years, people are now fiercly proud of their city. They don't dwell on the negatives, but focus on the positives and strive to be the best, most competitive city they can be. It's all about attitude. It can be done in Winnipeg too. There is a small change that I have seen, but a long way is still needed to go. It will happen.

It would also help if the city had competent civic and provincial leadership too Smile

Triniman

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Looks like somebody has a plan.

Tourism Winnipeg launches a new strategic master plan.

"Tourism Winnipeg is unveiling an ambitious and comprehensive five-year
Master Tourism Plan that will guide the city’s tourism development
efforts, create unprecedented synergies in establishing Winnipeg as a
desirable site for meetings and conventions and sports and special
events, as well as a destination for leisure travellers."

"According to the 2008 CITIES Profile for Winnipeg, the city’s tourism
industry generates more than 12,000 jobs and represents approximately
2.6 million visitors each year, bringing in more than $483 million in
direct annual expenditures.

Recognizing tourism as a proven economic driver for the city of
Winnipeg and province of Manitoba, the Master Tourism Plan identifies
the following priorities for moving forward:
-Establish strategic partnerships and collaboration in the areas of
marketing, investment, development, growth, advocacy and the management
of tourism.
-Drive long-term transformation through destination product development.
-Lead Winnipeg’s destination sales and marketing efforts with a focus
on business development that attracts leisure visitation, meetings and
conventions, sports and special events and travel trade.
-Expand leisure marketing efforts to focus on the creation of signature experiences and niche markets.
-Strengthen external positioning through digital marketing and social media.
-Build, engage and support a world-class tourism workforce.
-Gain sufficient funding in order to implement the Master Tourism Plan,
thus creating economic growth from tourism expenditures."


_________________
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through
our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that
democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'



― Isaac Asimov

Deank

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greenTYPEWRITERS wrote:
Triniman wrote:What I like about Winnipeg is that it's not too big. It doesn't take long to get anywhere.

A friend from out of town commented on how we have plenty of tree-lined streets with residences. I just assumed that it was like that everywhere, but apparently not.
Winnipeg has the largest urban elm forest in North America.

and its one of the first things alot of people notice Smile


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Why do we call them fingers if no one has ever seen them fing?

Guest

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Our urban elm forrest will soon be a thing of the past unfortunately.

We lose thousands of them each year through DED and I hear we're about 150 years behind in our pruning schedule.

To play 'catch-up' we band diseased trees it seems. lol

Sourpuss

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Things I like about Winnipeg:

- small city, all the amenities of a large one
- takes less time to commute
- affordability
- rich in culture

I've lived in Toronto and Vancouver. I find Winnipeg more culturally rich and love the size.

http://www.citizensourpuss.wordpress.com

grumpy old man

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It's funny eh Sourpuss that those that have never actually lived in cities that have real traffic (gridlock) issues (like Toronto and Vancouver) complain so about Winnipeg.

Perception is everything I guess. Winnipeg is, for the most part, easy to get around. Imagine how much better it would be with well planned streets (another thread...).


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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

Bartron

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This summer I went to a family reunion that was here in the city. I had to drive through downtown at rush hour to get there and I was 20 minutes late. I said "sorry I'm late traffic was bad". My relatives from Toronto laughed at me and told me all about Toronto traffic. I no longer complain about traffic!

Sourpuss

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grumpy old man wrote:It's funny eh Sourpuss that those that have never actually lived in cities that have real traffic (gridlock) issues (like Toronto and Vancouver) complain so about Winnipeg.

Perception is everything I guess. Winnipeg is, for the most part, easy to get around. Imagine how much better it would be with well planned streets (another thread...).

I have complaints about the way people in Winnipeg drive, but not about the traffic itself. I have yet to see really, really horrible traffic issues here. I did get trapped in bumper to bumper traffic a couple of Fridays ago when I was trying to get to the Convention Centre for a trade show that I was working, and got trapped on Broadway between Maryland and York for about 35 minutes. It sucked, but it was ONLY 35 minutes. In other cities, that could be hours. You're right: if you don't know what real gridlock is, your perception will be different.

I also agree with the street planning issues. There are some true abominations unto city planning, but that's typical of most cities.

Winnipeg's reputation is a lot worse than it's true condition.

http://www.citizensourpuss.wordpress.com

greenTYPEWRITERS

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Sourpuss wrote:
grumpy old man wrote:It's funny eh Sourpuss that those that have never actually lived in cities that have real traffic (gridlock) issues (like Toronto and Vancouver) complain so about Winnipeg.

Perception is everything I guess. Winnipeg is, for the most part, easy to get around. Imagine how much better it would be with well planned streets (another thread...).

I have complaints about the way people in Winnipeg drive, but not about the traffic itself. I have yet to see really, really horrible traffic issues here. I did get trapped in bumper to bumper traffic a couple of Fridays ago when I was trying to get to the Convention Centre for a trade show that I was working, and got trapped on Broadway between Maryland and York for about 35 minutes. It sucked, but it was ONLY 35 minutes. In other cities, that could be hours. You're right: if you don't know what real gridlock is, your perception will be different.

I also agree with the street planning issues. There are some true abominations unto city planning, but that's typical of most cities.

Winnipeg's reputation is a lot worse than it's true condition.
I am willing to bet any sum of money that the majority of people in any city think that their city has worse drivers than others. It's not a Winnipeg mentality.. it is the mentality of everyone I hear talking about other drivers.

Anyway back to Winnipeg's positives as one of the cultural hubs in Canada:
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is the oldest ballet company in Canada and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.

http://greenTYPEWRITERS.blogspot.com/

Deank

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"I am willing to bet any sum of money that the majority of people in any
city think that their city has worse drivers than others. It's not a
Winnipeg mentality.. it is the mentality of everyone I hear talking
about other drivers."

Its really dependent on whom you are asking.

If you are asking someone on vacation (how most of us experience other cities) they will invariably say.. driving at home is worse... because they are in a super good mood and are more willing to accept they personally are the problem since they dont know their way around. However if on Business or living there, your stress level is higher and your opinion of others is different.


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eViL tRoLl

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This is a stupid comparison. Paris has been favourable for humans and was setlled in 4200BC and was ranked among the three most influential cities in the world in 2009 and 2010. Winnipeg is a dump built on shite and has been settled since 1812AD, so peggers are entitled to be miserable and whining. Maybe give the city another 6000 years to become inhabitable and then do the comparison.

grumpy old man

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How pleasant evil troll. The comparison has never been about Winnipeg versus Paris. That's the whole point of the thread. But thanks for playing along and contributing in such a meaningful way.


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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

Deank

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eViL tRoLl wrote:This is a stupid comparison. Paris has been favourable for humans and was setlled in 4200BC and was ranked among the three most influential cities in the world in 2009 and 2010. Winnipeg is a dump built on shite and has been settled since 1812AD, so peggers are entitled to be miserable and whining. Maybe give the city another 6000 years to become inhabitable and then do the comparison.

Actually Paris was an absolute sh1t hole for its first 100 years or more. It was part of paris's shitholiness that helped to develop many of the sewer and garbage services that we have today.


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Paris is still a sh1t hole....except in the spring for a few weeks.

grumpy old man

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I spent a week in Paris once about ten years ago. I stuck to the touristy places and it was quite beautiful. But I won't go back.

They speak FRENCH there!


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It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

Deank

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a week?

most guys dont last more then 5 minutes in there from what I heard

Spoiler:





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Sourpuss

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JTF wrote:Paris is still a sh1t hole....except in the spring for a few weeks.

When I was there in the spring, I spent the entire time dodging piles of dog sh1t, everywhere. I thought it was a total sh1t hole.

http://www.citizensourpuss.wordpress.com

Guest

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Heh...I wasn't making up stories...it is a shithole eh.

Plus...those french people have a different word for everything!

Freeman

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trou de merde

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