Beautiful days in Winnipeg

The weather and the city have been beautiful during the past couple of days here in Winnipeg. It is predicted that the "MOSQUITOS" are 3 to 5 days away...quite early they say, brought on by a wet winter and very warm spring weather. It would appear that Winnipeg MOSQUITOS really do deserve a whole set of capitals. I'm glad I missed them.

This scene made me feel right at home. It's a clematis in full bloom around a light standard. Winnipeg is built, as Kingston is, on a bed of limestone which accounts for our wonderful blooming clematis, but full bloom on the 20th of May is a little incredible.

I'm here in Winnipeg with my daughter, Catherine and her boyfriend. As he grew up in Winnipeg, we have a great guide. Yesterday we went to Assiniboine Park, home of one of the best zoos I've ever been to. This is a picture of Catherine who was thrilled to meet a new friend except that the turtle got one of her last clean shirts dirty, but he (the turtle) was very cute and posed well for the camera and so was forgiven. We know that it was he as the keeper explained how you can tell the difference between the boy and girl turtles: the boys have concave undershells, and the girls have flat shells.

Day 2 in Winnipeg had me meeting up with a friend from my teens whom I hadn't seen since 1976. How fun! We might look different but inside, we're all pretty much the same.

Then I got to do the yarn store tour. First to Ram Wools Yarn Co-op which has recently moved up Portage Ave from downtown. Many of you will remember Ram Wools and their gorgeous catalogues. For years, we at WOOL-TYME Kingston were the unwitting recipients of the excitement that always followed their mail out. I knew that they had stopped publishing the glossy catalogue a few years ago and had gone strictly to on-line marketing in addition to their storefront, but I was surprised and intrigued upon entering their store to see the addition of the "Co-op" in the name. I went on-line to discover that a worker owned cooperative has been established to keep growing this highly respected fixture on the North American yarn scene following the departure of Inge Gaspard, its founder and driving force.

On to WOLSELEY WARDROBE, a really fun store that has found a couple of great overlapping markets in the lovely Wolseley neighbourhood of Winnipeg. Check out the website and see how they delightfully blend a quality second hand clothes boutique with a lovely little yarn shop. Both the clothes on display and the selection of fine yarns show that quality and fashion are where this business has made it's commitment.

One of the great things that I've seen over and over in the past few weeks of meeting business people of all stripes, from my brothers' friends, Schnepps and Kathleen in Victoria who spend winters in Asia purchasing beautiful jewelry to bring back and sell at markets all over Victoria area, to the folks at Knotty By Nature in Victoria, is that it takes a LOT of resources to start up and continue a small business at the best of times. If you don't have a LOT of money at your disposal, then you have to rely on other resources: friends to scavange from, barrels of creativity and great ideas, and a certain chutzpah and commitment to keep you on track for as long as it takes. Book store/cafes, yarn store/picture framers in Sidney, farm/residential care centre/ general store owners in Glenora, and now Wolseley Wardrobe in Winnipeg...all of these people have found their multiple niche-S that have supported them and enriched their business lives.

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