Oh happiness…

From Wikipedia: Drawing of Vicki Baum by Emil Stumpp, 1930

“There are short cuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.” Vicki Baum

Hedwig (Vicki) Baum (Jan. 1888 – Aug. 1960) was an Austrian writer known for her 1929 novel the Grand Hotel. Born in Vienna into a Jewish family, her first career was as a musician playing the harp. She later became a journalist and a writer, emigrating to the United States in the 1930’s.

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On kindness…

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  Mark Twain.

Mark Twain (1867) Wikipedia photo

Mark Twain (1835-1910) born Samuel Langhorne Clemens was an American writer and humorist raised in Missouri. Among his works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Prince and The Pauper.

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150 years ago in Winnipeg

Life in Kildonan, 150 years ago

By: Cheryl Girard

Kildonan Presbyterian Church was built in 1852.
TIMES     Kildonan Presbyterian Church was built in 1852.

This year being Canada’s 150th birthday, it is the perfect time to reflect back and to wonder what life was like 150 years ago.

 Originally published April 21, 2017 in The Times/ Winnipeg Free Press.
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Street names – stories set in stone

 

By: Cheryl Girard

One of the things I love about Winnipeg is that many of its streets honour people and places from our city’s rich past.

Some are beautifully named for lakes, rivers or trees while others are a mystery. But those that pay homage to people from our past tell a kind of wonderful story of our city; a legacy, if you will, set in stone.

The communities of Riverbend and Rivergrove in Old Kildonan are fairly new although Old Kildonan itself is one of the oldest communities in Winnipeg, formed in 1812 with the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers.

Some streets here, thankfully, preserve some of the area’s history, some are named for more recent folk and some with names like Glencairn Road or Donan Street conjure images of Scotland, home to many of the original settlers.

John Black Avenue remembers the Scottish-born minister who came to Red River in 1851 and helped establish the landmark Kildonan Presbyterian Church.

McBeth Street is named for early Scottish settlers who farmed in the area. Their son, Robert Jr., built the McBeth House in 1913, which still stands today.

Main Street itself was once but a trail and not a surveyed street according to Mary Hislop who wrote The Streets of Winnipeg in 1912. Main was once called The Red River Trail and also the King’s Road.

According to the Manitoba Historical Society, Murray Avenue remembers Selkirk Settler Donald Murray. Murray hosted the first classes of Manitoba College in his home near where Kildonan Presbyterian Church stands today.

Frog Plain Way remembers the surrounding area of about 300 acres that once encompassed the original Red River Settlement. A tiny park here includes a monument to Frog Plain, with two plaques explaining how the unusual name came about.

Vince Leah Drive fittingly remembers the West Kildonan sportswriter and historian who wrote for the Winnipeg Tribune and later the Free Press. Many of his books and columns were devoted to the Kildonan area.

Saul Miller Drive is named for NDP MLA Saul Miller, who also was a former alderman and mayor of West Kildonan.

Ben Hewak Bay may be named for Benjamin Hewak, a former chief justice and former West Kildonan alderman. And William Whiteway Bay may be named for a William Murray Whiteway who was very active in the community of Old Kildonan. But I’m not sure about either of these last two streets.

If anyone can shed some light on either of those — or any other streets in the area — please email and let me know. I would love to learn more.

Published in The Times/ Winnipeg Free Press Feb. 27, 2017

 

 

 

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One hundred years ago and now…

christmas-boxing-day-kildonan-park-2015-022

Photo by Cheryl Girard

Be heard before it’s too late

By: Cheryl Girard Published Jan. 27/2017

“However sophisticated and technologically advanced we may be, we are biological creatures, utterly dependent on her (nature’s) beneficence for clean air, water and food,” wrote David Suzuki in Letters to My Grandchildren.

I often look back about a hundred years ago and write about what life may have been like back then. One thing always struck me. There seemed to be a lot less pollution then there is now. There were not many cars on the road then. Horses were still mainly used for transportation in this city, especially.

There were fewer chemicals too, less chemicals in our food, in our water, homes and cities and people seemed to spend more time outdoors, in nature, unplugged.

When I was growing up in a small town in the ’60s, I heard the story of a man who one day ended his life by sitting in his car and running it in an enclosed garage. It horrified and saddened me and haunts me to this day. It disturbs me for other reasons also. The thousands of cars that ply the roadways of our city put out those same toxic fumes into the air we breathe every day.

Millions of people around the world do this without ever thinking of the consequences.

Electric cars once ran on the streets of Winnipeg a century ago and would solve a lot of our pollution problems today. But making them available to the average consumer seems not to have been a priority.

A hundred years ago typhoid and other infectious diseases were major health threats in the North End of our city and elsewhere. Today, cancer is on the rise, along with other non communicable diseases.

According to the World Health Organization such diseases “were responsible for 68% of all deaths globally in 2012”. “The four main NCD’s are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.”

Today it is more common for young children to be diagnosed with cancer. There seem to be more rare autoimmune diseases and other diseases.

Is there a connection? Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, which is said to have launched the environmental movement, thought so.

She wrote, “The 20th century was to create countless new cancer-causing chemicals and to bring the general population into intimate contact with them.” Even unborn children.

Suzuki writes that today we are faced with climate change, toxic pollution, overpopulation, deforestation, ocean degradation and species extinction.

Yes, we need to make our voices heard and do what we can. For our children’s sake. Before it is too late.

Published in Winnipeg’s ‘The Times’ Jan. 27/2017

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What was Winnipeg like 100 years ago? – Winnipeg Free Press

My latest story for The Times….100 years ago in Winnipeg…..

 

Another new year has begun and once again it is the perfect time to start afresh and to try to better our lives. It is also the perfect time to reflect on the past to see how far we’ve come.

Source: What was Winnipeg like 100 years ago? – Winnipeg Free Press

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The Happiness Habit

A woman with full dark hair and wearing a long dark dress, her face in partial profile, sits in a simple wooden chair. A locket hangs from a slender chain around her neck; in her hands is a magnolia, its large white flower surrounded by dark leaves.

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” – Helen Keller

Helen Keller (1880 –1968) was an American author/lecturer. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her to communicate despite Keller being deaf/blind was made famous in the film ‘The Miracle Worker.’ She campaigned for women’s rights, labor rights and published 12  books. 

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